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Matched Betting - Is it Worth It?

It’s Summer 2022, Boris Johnson has just handed in his resignation, the pavements are catching fire, a carton of butter is worth more than most cryptocurrencies, and everyone has just started coughing and looking at each other suspiciously again. Like the rest of the world, my home country, the UK, is in a little bit of a pickle at the moment. People are struggling to live, and that means, money-saving and money-making experts have started to reappear. As a young (ish) man, I am often bombarded with adverts for get-rich-quick schemes, and one that is guaranteed to rear its head time and time again is matched betting. This is a trend that swept across the UK some time ago and has now started to reappear and enter discourse again. But, what exactly is it? And is it worth it?

What is Matched Betting?

My first encounter with matched betting came after I finished University. Poor and bouncing around from minimum wage job to minimum wage job, I was always looking for ways to make extra cash. A friend of mine first mentioned matched betting to me, insisting that it was a way to guarantee I would win money. 

The concept behind matched betting is simple enough. Players use a bookmaker's free bet to cover both possible outcomes of a sporting event alongside using a betting exchange service. Of course, this can only be done on certain events so that the returns are more than the free bet and the placed bet. When the result comes in, you will have won one of the two bets and will be a tiny bit in profit from the bookmaker's money. 

It sounds like a way to guarantee money, after all, what could go wrong? I spent some time learning all about it and was ready to go. Initially, I saw some small but fairly quick profits appearing. However, I also very quickly learned that there were a few issues that were likely to prevent me from making the mega money I had been promised. 

The Cons of Matched Betting

Ok, so let’s say you have bet on Manchester United to win at one bookmaker, and then on a betting exchange have bet on them not to win. You are guaranteed to be correct either way, there is no possible outcome that doesn’t win. Doing this with your own money would be a waste of time, but when there is a free bet involved, there is money to be made potentially. 

Matched Betting - Is it Worth It?

However, the biggest thing most people won’t tell you when you start matched betting is that you need a significant amount of capital in the first place. Due to qualifying bets and wagering requirements, players will often need to have big sums of money around. The returns from this are often not enough to justify the risk either. 

Some people will know be shaking their heads at the word risk, but it would be foolish to take such a stance. There is always a risk involved when gambling. One of the biggest factors that should be considered with matched betting is human error. In my brief period as a match-bettor, I found the entire process quite still stressful. I would constantly be checking to make sure I had bet on the right horse name or the right match on the right day. I had witnessed people make monumental mistakes when matched betting. You would often be required to place big bets and this could lead to massive losses. 

Finally, if you want to have a long and healthy relationship with bookmakers, then this is not the route to go down. While it is not illegal, a lot of bookmakers will frown upon it, and it won’t take long for your account to receive some sort of restriction or even an outright ban. 

Matched Betting - Is it Worth It?

Money to Be Made

While the above cons are all true, there is definitely money to be made from match betting if you are willing to overlook all of those things. However, players need a lot of time in order to make any money doing this, as the returns are often small. As mentioned above, when the potential cons are factored in, you need to ask whether or not it is worth it. 

There are subscription-based services that will be advertised that will do help you work out what to bet on and how much to bet. When I was searching for information to write this article, there was a ton of ads hitting me for these kinds of services. I can’t comment on these as I did not use them, but again, I would assume they will require you to have a big amount of cash in the first place.


Gambling culture in the UK is always a big topic of conversation and matched betting never fails to come up, especially in times of financial crisis. The reality of the situation is that you can make small amounts of money from matched betting and it can be a perfectly legitimate way of boosting a bank account. 

However, I would say that for serious bettors, it is not necessarily worth the time, rewards, or risk. A simple slip-up with matched betting will be costly, and in many cases, you will be wagering more money than you typically would, so losses can be damaging. The ethics of matched betting are something for another article entirely, but players should at least have some knowledge and awareness of the way it works before getting involved. 

This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.

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Liam Hoofe
Liam Hoofe
Last Update: 13 Mar 2023
Liam is a skilled writer and journalist, highly regarded for his perceptive examination of the gambling industry. He specializes in online casinos and sports betting, and his work has been published in top-tier publications. Here at GoodLuckMate, Liam covers the latest industry news and has also authored various gambling guides, offering both beginners and experienced players in-depth analyses of games and strategies.

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