Hi, my name’s David.
I’ve been matched betting since 2013. In that time I have easily placed over $1 million in bets, spent thousands of hours staring at betting markets, made plenty of costly mistakes, learnt hundreds of matched betting tactics and travelled the world on matched betting income.
This is my story.
This story has some parts where I talk about some of the ugly realities of matched betting. My intention is not to scare or discourage you from starting matched betting. Quite the opposite. Please let this story inspire and encourage you. Learn from my mistakes and use them to find your own path.
Discovering matched betting
My journey started at the youthful age of just 20. I was in my second year of University, living in the heady cocktail of having no money, lots of free time and drinking a lot. I grew up and lived in the UK at this time.
Many of my friends had taken up part-time retail or bar jobs to fund their university lifestyles. Having worked in retail for years as a teenager, I hated it. The lack of flexibility, the pains of “the customer is always right” and the low wages all combined for me to need a better way of making money.
Like many others before me, I tried various schemes including online surveys, transcription services, textbook arbitrage and stock trading. These were resoundingly unsuccessful for various reasons, with each of them being notoriously difficult to make good money from. In the case of stock trading, it’s also very risky!
That’s when I stumbled across a small sub-forum on a popular money saving site in the UK (MoneySavingExpert). This group was talking about gambling arbitrage and how to guarantee profit from bookmaker offers. I was, to be frank, highly sceptical.
Not only was I sceptical about this concept of ‘free money’ but I’d also never placed a bet in my life before. To cap it off, I thought gambling was stupid because the house (bookie / casino) always wins. Oh, how wrong I turned out to be.
Making my first $4,000
Matched betting originally piqued my interest because it’s grounded in mathematical concepts, so I was able to plan/test different scenarios. With few resources available online, I created different calculators and formulas just to see what the possible outcomes could be. Ultimately, I needed to be comfortable with the concepts before investing my own cash.
Realising that there really was an opportunity in bookmaker offers, I started a new bank account and deposited £1,000. That’s a lot of money for a student but I was filled with youthful confidence. I created an account with Betfair and learnt how to use the exchange.
Over the course of 2-3 months, I opened accounts with 20 different bookmakers and took advantage of all their sign-up offers. From this alone, I profited over £2,000 (equivalent to ~ AUD $4,000).
I kept all the profit within my betting accounts, often having a balance of £2,000+ in Betfair. This helped maintain liquidity for the increasing amount of bets I was placing. I became comfortable with backing/laying a Horse at odds of 15 for £50. That’s a liability of £700 ($1,400) on just one single bet.
In Australia, there are no ‘sign-up offers’ due to legal restrictions on advertising gambling. However, many bookies still offer bonuses to new accounts.
I was learning quickly and only spending 4-5 hours on matched betting a week at this point. I had proved the concept. This was giving me huge confidence to keep finding ways to leverage bookmaker offers on an ongoing basis. Perhaps too much confidence…
Matched betting is mathematically totally risk free. Unfortunately, it’s controlled by some brain cells behind a computer screen (me!). Those brain cells face two enemies that must be battled when matched betting: Complacency and Risk Taking.
High on confidence, I was placing more and more bets each week. Stretching myself too thin, the mistakes started creeping in.
I remember seeing a great Lay price on a horse at odds of 9 (8/1). I quickly placed my bet and navigated across to one of my bookie accounts. Too late. The price had already contracted so I would have lost money on the bet.
The correct action here is to take the bet anyway and move on to the next opportunity.
Instead, I waited for the price to drift out. I waited until the race was about to start and the price was still terrible. Ah well, I thought, it’s unlikely to win (risk taking). I’ll just let it ride. That was a £400 ($800) mistake. Unsurprisingly, I never made that error again.
Another time, I was busy placing bets across 5 different bookies trying to trigger a free bet bonus. Having to move quickly in the short time before a race, I placed all my bets and laid them off at Betfair. Happy days. I watched as one of my horses bolted up, winning by a mile.
I navigated back to the bookie to check my winnings were correct and refreshed the page. I refreshed the page about 10 times before I realised that I’d never confirmed my bet (complacency). My liability at Betfair had already paid out. That was a £300 ($600) mistake.
Fortunately, I was easily making enough profit to cover these avoidable losses. I also become significantly more careful as a result of these expensive lessons. I haven’t made a significant mistake in 5 years, so it is definitely possible.
30 hours a week
If something is earning you money, why not just do more of it?
Over a year into my matched betting journey, I was obsessed with finding new/alternative ways to take advantage of bookie offers. With a lot of sport happening and having plenty of ‘free’ time, I was diving deep into the matched betting world.
Some weeks I was doing 2-3 hours every weekday evening, followed by a 10 hour day on Saturday plus an extra 4-5 hours on Sunday. I was taking advantage of every offer I could find and constantly trying different techniques (some more successful than others).
I can safely say that this wasn’t my finest hour. My social life was suffering and I was discovering the law of diminishing returns.
Where I could easily make £150 in just 3-4 hours on a normal Saturday, I was instead spending 30 hours to make £250 a week. I’ll save you the maths, that’s an equivalent wage of £8.30 an hour. Not terrible, but pretty awful compared to the £50/hour it could have been.
I came to understand the value of my own time, significantly reducing my own time investment from 2015 onwards. Did that stop me reaching the £10,000 profit mark in just 2 years? Absolutely not! However, I did hit a wall eventually.
Facing bookie restrictions
Restriction, or ‘gubbing’ as it’s known in matched betting circles, is an inevitable fact of matched betting. Once a bookmaker identifies you as someone who is taking value bets and focusing on their promotions, your account is at risk. Suddenly, you find yourself with no promotions and limited to placing bets of $0.10 on the Melbourne Cup.
Most accounts lasted me 3-4 years in the UK. Side Note: I haven’t yet been limited by any bookie in Australia. It’s bound to happen at some point.
Eventually, the whole money making scheme ground to a halt when I was restricted at my last few bookies in 2017. There just weren’t enough promotions I was eligible for to make matched betting worthwhile.
In total, I had made £15,000 ($30,000) profit.
Using this money, I paid for my entire University social life plus two incredible ‘trips of a lifetime’. I travelled America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand without once having to worry about how I was funding the trip. A luxury few people can ever afford.
This is the freedom that matched betting can create.
Matched betting in Australia
This all leads us to the day that I’m typing this story in 2020, one of the strangest years on record. I moved from London to Sydney in 2019 and it’s since opened up a new world of matched betting opportunity.
Having burnt through most of my savings on travel and experiences (with absolutely no regrets), matched betting is once again proving the financial freedom to pursue my passions. I’ve also discovered that the skills and techniques are 100% transferable between the two countries.
My first step was to join the bonusbank community (you can read my review) and sign up to all the bookmakers over the course of a few months. Now, I spend just 30 minutes on a Thursday & Friday, plus 3-4 hours every Saturday placing bets. This is netting me, on average, over $300 a week.
You can do this as well.
It takes just 3 simple steps, with one of them being optional:
- Read my 3-Part Matched Betting Guide. No seriously, it might change your life!
- Sign up to bonusbank. This will supercharge your earnings, though it is OPTIONAL.
- Spend 4-5 hours per week placing matched bets.
That’s creating yourself a secondary source of income with guaranteed profit.