We're all so sure that there's no such thing as a free lunch, that the offer of anything for free has us looking for the catch. So, depending on your attitude to gambling, the offer of a free bet from a bookmaker might have you looking for the devil himself angling for your soul. money for nothing cartoon But bookmakers do …
Great way to make free money!
But can't help think about the IT angle ;)
Re: Great way to make free money!
Everyone point and go "booooooo".
Re Great way to make free money!
Re: Great way to make free money!
Was that meant to make sense?
Yeah, people have been doing this for some years now... I made about £1000 on this at Uni and another £1500 or so on bonus bagging through casinos... obviously bonus bagging is more statistical rather than guaranteed win.
Does the contributing writer's anonymity extend to the artist of that particularly fine illustration?
This free money is a sure thing if I use your system, right? You can't lose! And like the single example you can point to I could make thousands of pounds! Sounds a lot like an awful lot of stuff I've heard since I had to explain to a taxi driver that, no, black does *NOT* have to come up after a run of reds and such things are *not* a good betting tactic.
So you have to find a betting event where there are only X possible outcomes. (Let's ignore the fact that in almost all sports the outcomes aren't that simple - e.g. draws in football). For each of those outcomes you need to sign up to a betting account and (probably) make a hefty deposit, as well as read every inch of small print. You then have to find the odds for that outcome from all those betting accounts and pick a combination that will give a return. This combinations are constantly changing, no doubt the betting companies are watching the same sites as you are, and are planned so that *YOU*, on average, lose. Thus any margin is likely to be tiny and short-lived and you have to be watching like an eagle to actually get the combination right.
But you *will* win. Of course, you just bet on every possible outcome. And you will win peanuts unless you do this hundreds of times a day. That return is then paid into your account for one of the outcomes and not the others. Chances are there are minimum terms for the number of bets before you can withdraw and/or limits to how you can withdraw that "free" money and credit card fees and banking fees and withdrawal fees etc. You'd probably find, actually, that the money you spent would be better off in a bank and / or your hours of diligently number-watching, EULA-reading and betting would have been better off on eBay selling off some crap for the old granny down the road.
This *isn't* free or easy. Consider: You find a product that a company wants to buy for X pounds. You find a supplier that will supply it for less. You sign contracts with both, buy the product and give it to the buyer for more money than you paid - FREE MONEY! It's the same thing, just with a slight automation and a hell of a lot more paperwork and effort.
You can even "bet" like this on stock markets, and have been able to for years, if you have the slightest knowledge of what you're doing. The problem is that the knowledge is specialist and thus the potential market is extremely small and you'll get a LOT of people who get into it thinking it's "free money" only to find they're working 8 hours a day in order to get their £25 sign-up bonus for "nothing", or worse making a tiny, critical error and end up costing themselves an awful lot of money.
I'm glad you have found a way to make money for yourself, and that you obviously enjoy doing it. I find it hilarious that you don't give your name - the bookmakers know *exactly* who's doing this - guess what, it's the guy who's had an account with us for ages but only ever qualified for the free bonus, has a referrer header from those sites you mentioned, is active on their forums, and only bets on the things where he can profit from a difference in odds between bookmakers. It was cancelled out by all those other guys who signed up with us to do the same thing but happened to lose on their account here instead of elsewhere.
It's not magic. It's not new. It's *not* easy. And it's *not* a reliable income. For a start, it's only a matter of time before such "free bet" offers start to disappear for exactly this reason (and the other you mentioned - that times are hard).
Good luck to you - go make your money for all that effort. To me, even reading through a single EULA for a bookmaker's withdrawal conditions is something that I expect to be paid a damn sight more than their £25 free bet for, but hey, I just work for a living.
"So you have to find a betting event where there are only X possible outcomes. (Let's ignore the fact that in almost all sports the outcomes aren't that simple - e.g. draws in football)."
You really haven't understood the article. Re-read it again. You bet on a win in football, then cover the bet at a site that lets you bet AGAINST the same team winning. So a draw is a result on the covering site. So is a lose. There genuinely are two possible outcomes, in betting terms.
If you're going to criticise something, at least understand what you're criticising.
That doesn't invalidate anything I said. I just said that there will be X outcomes, all of which have to be covered. I was using a simplified example (e.g. not just win / lose but draw) because there are undoubtedly people who read that article and would only bet on "win" or "lose" and not think about the other possibilities. At no point does my assumption of covering X outcomes counteract the arguments within my post, or does the post assume that things like draws aren't covered in either bet (or a specific, extra bet).
Also the possible outcomes are greatly affected by the exact details of the bet, which means more small-print reading. What if the match is abandoned? What if a goal is later disallowed? What if the entire game goes to arbitration because it presents a problem never seen before in the sport? What if a rule-change at the wrong time meant that, during the course of the game, a goal SHOULD have been disallowed because of the rule-change, i.e. the outcome was "win" but that the FA are trying to get it change to a draw? Yes, all this stuff is probably catered for if you read the small print but that small print may well differ between the several dozen bookmakers that the article is inferring you would have to use in order to make a big enough return, and thus you have to take account of those too. They've got a million-to-one chance of affecting your "betting system" but if you don't take them into account, you *will* lose (i.e. does an invalid result return your money or do you just lose it because it's only the free-startup money? I know *I'd* have a clause that the "free" credit was unrefundable in the case of something going wrong, unlike real cash - you already can't withdraw it unless it generates real returns, so you're already distinguishing between free and real cash in the accounting systems).
If you intend to play these sites off against another as a living, you need to know and check every detail. And we've simplified it to football but there are also a million and one other things you could bet on, all of which are capable of providing unexpected but rare results (and thus my "X" results and not just "2". The exact same principle applies to betting on, say, each individual team winning the World Cup. If you get the odds right, and check the small print, it's exactly the same thing because *ONE* of them has to win (assuming you've catered for any possible rare circumstance into your odds calculations). Simple bets may cover it in your head but in the small print, it might say otherwise - especially if you are playing off one betting contract against another betting contract from another company. Not everything is as clear-cut as it made out here.
Does the EULA for any of those websites prohibit such covered betting? Maybe they say you can only use them if you don't bet on that same event elsewhere? You don't know until you've read them ALL. That's the problem, not the betting system (which OBVIOUSLY gives you returns so long as it's as simple as stated. The other problem is that it's not as simple as stated and can lead to more work than just... well... working for your money.
How is this hard to understand
Site A gives you a "free" £50 bet, but you have to bet it. You bet on Man U winning their next game. Assume for sake of argument that it's 50:50 and that Site A will give you £25 + original bet (£75) if you win, £0 if you lose.
You then take £50 of your own money and take it to Site B. Bet on Man U *not* winning their next game. Again, assume it's similar odds (it's not likely, but they will add up to rougly P=1), say 50:50. Winning the bet will gain you £75.
Option 1) Man U win. You take £75 from Site A.
Option 2) Man U don't win (lose or draw). You take £75 from Site B.
Either option, you've spent £50 and gained £75. Net profit of £25. Granted the odds won't be stacked so obviously, but with opposing bets and half of it being "free", you're always going to gain a return that is greater than your own stake, but lower than your combined stake.
As for EULAs, I've never seen one that stops you from betting elsewhere on the same event. It's pretty much a defacto for spread betting anyway.
Good luck with the job
Sorry Lee - but you're clueless - this isn't about "betting on every possible outcome".
I made £2500 in 4 months doing this, and anyone who does this knows exactly why the author didn't leave his name - the bookies hate it and do anything to catch people and lock them down.
The author states quite clearly that once you've exhausted the free offers you have to move on.
For someone who wouldn't waste all that time to win back such a measly amount, you sure seem to have spent a lot of time bashing out 2 TL;DR posts for nothing.
One important point
Use a debit card, not a credit card to load any money into a gambling account. Virtually all credit card companies treat gambling transactions as cash advances and charge accordingly.
... it *is* a cash advance :-) But good point.
Done this since 2005 although mainly casinos. Profit to date about 80k
I automated the arbitrage via some python scripts to scrape the sites and a EJBs to run the logic years ago (I have degrees in Mathematics, Computational Statistics and Artificial Intelligence). And yes, I said "EJB"s. Site changes can futz me up for a while, but I get it back pretty quickly. I have to be careful to not bet too fast 'n hard, only placing a few a day otherwise I'll appear like a bot (it's still me doing it, the engine just takes the donkey work out; it lists possible bet combinations and I can still dig in if I want with the engine yanking back any hedging bets from the recent scrapes).
EULAs/Contracts? Most are just permutations on a theme, so it's pretty easy to have sets of "rules" that get loaded on a per-site/account basis and factored in (all done engine).
Been running this since mid-2008. Won about £315k less costs (kit, connection, tax) so that's about £200k. Not bad for 2 and a bit years. And I still have the day job. I could reduce the tax liability, but I really can't be bothered. This is (almost) free money to me anyway.
I run a "fantasy bet" system letting it select the top 5 on a daily basis to see how it would run fully-automated. It's pretty good, but the heuristics are not yet up to matching a skilled human. When it is, I plan to run it for a few years, make enough to retire (I won't need much) and then open source everything. It's all built on F/OSS and this is my way of giving back.
There's only one problem with the system I'm using....I'm a dirty great liar too!
That was obvious...
...as soon as you mentioned EJBs.
Small thing left unexplained...
Allow me to simplify things with an example.
Step 1: Bet 1: you bet for event 1 to happen
Step 2: Bet 2: you bet for event 1 not to happen
Step 3: event 1 happens or does not. If happens, you pocket Bet 1 and lose Bet 2. If it does not happen, you pocket Bet 2 and lose Bet 1. You've won, or lost, the difference between Bet 1 or Bet 2. Which is a smaller gain -or loss- than placing only one of the bets.
So instead of winning or losing a big amount of money in one go, I made that amount smaller. Oh, and in the process I signed up in a few sites.
Sounds to me that if I'm doing the right bet, I'll end up winning money, only at a slower rate, hence I can skip the whole scheme and just put the money on the right bet and that's all. On the contrary, if I'm doing the wrong bet, I'm going to lose money, slowly but surely. The net effect is that I'm risking less in each turn, but my potential profit or loss is accordingly smaller.
Where's the "guaranteed" win? Is this just hidden advertising or is there something missing here?
As far as i understood it, you're missing something.
The first time round, you do these 3 steps with your own money, losing (next to) nothing, winning (next to) nothing.
The second time round, you're doing these steps with the bookies money (he was offering you in form of a free bet, but only after you've gambled some of your own money).
The key is the matching of bets
What you've missed is that you're supposed to choose bets whereby there is NO difference between Bet 1 and Bet 2.
So normally you'd make a profit/loss of £0, but you benefit because you're using the free money deal.
Read the article
If you read the article, you'd see that this technique exploits free bets, used by the betting companies to entice punters. In short the process is as follows:
1) Sign up for account with Company A (offering £50 free bet after you've already bet £50) and Company B
2) Place £50 bet on X with Company A, and £50* bet on NOT X with Company B.
3) Win or lose some small amount of money.
4) Place free £50 bet on Y with with Company A an, and £50* bet on NOT Y with Company B.
5) Win or lose some small amount of money.
6) Remember that you didn't have to pay any money to Company A for the second £50 bet, and hence realise that you've made approx £50.
* The above bets assume 50% probability for X and Y. For differing odds, the bets placed with Company B need to be adjusted.
The profit is made by the fact that, for example, one of the bookies might refund you if your bet loses with them. In other words, Bet 1 loses £25 however due to promotion gets refunded £25. Bet 2 wins £25. Net profit £25.
@Small thing now explained...
Allow me to explain things with an example.
Step 1: You bet your own £50 for event 1 to happen, with the potential to be given £55 back (i.e. £5 plus your stake) if that event does happen.
Step 2: You bet the FREE £50 that Mr. Kind Bookmaker has given you for event 1 not to happen, with the potential to be given £52 back if that event does not happen.
Step 3: You're currently £50 out of pocket having laid £100 worth of bets. Now event 1 either happens - and you'll make a profit of £5, or event 1 doesn't happen and you make a profit of £2.
Either way, you've now got more money that you started with.
Half the money you bet is free
The point is that the sites you give you sign up bonuses. You can't just sign up and take the cash, but if you can find a way of betting it however many times they require without losing then you are quids in.
Your starting stake would £50 of your own cash, and £50 of free cash, so as long as you don't wittle away half the money you should be up.
I think it works like this...
(Fictional game, two participants, there must be a winner, "free" money matches stake)
Company X, Bet 1 - A beats B, £50
Company Y, Bet 2 - B beats A, £50
Cost so far - £100
Income - £0
Company X, Bet 3 - C beats D, £50 of "free"
Company Y, Bet 4 - D beats C, £50 of "free"
Cost so far - £100, plus £100 of "free" money.
Income - £0
Time passes, games played, winners announced. Let's say A and D.
Company X, Bet 1 - Won, get stake back plus winnings less taxes and charges (B1w)
Company Y, Bet 2 - Lost
Cost so far - £100, plus £100 of "free" money.
Income - £50 + B1w
Company X, Bet 3 - Lost
Company Y, Bet 4 - Won, maybe get stake back (B4s) plus winnings less taxes and charges (B4w)
Cost so far - £100, plus £100 of "free" money.
Income - £50 + B1w + B4s + B4w
Profit? Only if B1w + B4s + B4w > £50, and you are not guaranteed of getting B4s. But let's say you do. So your "profit" is B1w + B4w (taxes and charges already accounted for).
Now, how long did this take? Work out the hourly rate
What was the % return over the stake?
How often can you repeat it?
What will the effective APR be?
Unless you can do this and average over £16ph; then I put it to you than your energies would be better spent doing a second-job/paying hobby or furthering your primary career or simply stuffing money into an ISA. (Average wage in tech is around £16ph after tax, working from figures El Reg mentioned recently).
Oh yeah, and remember the above example is simplistic. It is very possible that all bets lose and there is no guarantee you can find reciprocal bets.
Nope - I don't get it either
"Now you get to bet with the free bookmaker money, and you find a new event to bet on both possible outcomes. This time, when the game, race or whatever, is over, you're left with a profit."
I don't understand how this gets you a proffit. You're just doing exactly what you did on the first round, except with someone else's money. The net result is still (almost) zero. No?
Here's what you're missing
Step 1: I bet for event 1 to happen
Step 2: I bet for event 1 not to happen.
Step 3: I lose a small amount of money either way.
Step 4: I bet for event 2 to happen, using my free bet
Step 5: I bet for event 2 not to happen
Step 6: I lost a small amount of money, except I used my free bet.
Let's look at a £25 free bet, with a 5% bookies margin (typical).
I bet £25 in all four steps. I therefore bet £100 and got back £95 in my two sets of winnings.
But my bets only cost me £75 in actual money, so I'm now £20 up.
Yes, something's missing
If you did it the way you mentioned you'd spend an awful long time to either lose or win not very much money. Doesn't exactly sound like what that author intended, does it?
You missed what I guess would be step 2.5. While the 2 bets placed with your cash more or less cancel each other out, you have ALSO taken the betting shop's freebie cash and used it to bet on another event. Anything you win on that minus the potentially quite small loss through the hedge you placed is your profit!
Missing the point
The point is that if you place 2 bets of £50 your intitial outlay is only £50, not £100.
Imagine you find somewhere willing to take a bet on a coin being flipped, they offer odds of 2/5 (so stacking it in their favour regardless, so if you were to simply place matching bets as you suggest you would always be down £10 per £50 bet) but they also offer a £50 deposit bonus. Now you find another site that does the same. You deposit £50 in each and bet heads on one site and tails on the other. So far you've spent £100, after the first bet you get £90 back, so £10 down. After you repeat with the deposit bonus you get another £90 back, so in total £80 profit on 2 bets.
The mising point...
,,,that no one has mentioned is that the bookies give you credit to place a free bet. You can't take the cash. This is simply a way of converting that free bet into cash. You bet with the free credit in such a way that you can't lose. Now you've used you bet you have (almost) the same amount of credit as you started with - but now it can be withdrawn.
I did this for a while but it got harder and harder to find new offers.
The key point...
...that no one has mentioned is that the bookies give you credit to place a free bet. You can't take the cash. This is simply a way of converting that free bet into cash. You bet with the free credit in such a way that you can't lose. Now you've used you bet you have (almost) the same amount of credit as you started with - but now it can be withdrawn.
I did this for a while but it got harder and harder to find new offers.
You lost me at ISA
*No* savings plan, whatever they call it and however generous the terms may appear to be, is *ever* going to pay more interest to investors than borrowers pay to lenders. Otherwise, how do the banks make money? (Government billions notwithstanding.)
If you've got a mortgage, or other outstanding debts, you shouldn't be saving anything anywhere. Just use any spare money to make an overpayment on your mortgage. You will bring down the interest and be able to close it sooner. But when you are in a position to make that closing payment, leave just £1 outstanding for the whole of the rest of the term; that way, the bank will look after the deeds for you, and the interest on the £1 you still owe is much cheaper than a safe deposit box!
If you're afraid that the bailiffs might come knocking over a measly £1, simply keep that much cash in your house at all times.
During the financial meltdown I was paying 2.75% on my mortgage while pulling in 5.75% from a deposit account - with the same bank.
There was 200k+ in there (was buying a house) so I got a call from their high-value team asking me if I'd considered investing. I pointed out the interest rate, he stammered a bit and told me to leave it there...
So that's why the banks needed billions of pounds of our money, then .....
Depending upon how your bank considers additional payments.... in my case they made them future payments which went into a separate 'account' rabbit hole and reduced the principal sum by absolutely nothing.
Out come (if left unchecked) would have been paying off the mortgage early (when the amount of additional payments equalled the amount of payments agreed to mortgage term) but not reducing interest payments at all...
Solved this by taking a payment holiday until the future payments 'account' reduced to nil. That money was NOT accruing interest for me, nor reducing interest on the principal of the loan.
Contact bank and find out HOW to pay part of the principal sum, if what you want is to reduce a mortgage . It is not often achieved by simple overpayment...
The bit you're missing
You're not staking your own money, or you are, but a portion of it is the 200 quid the betting site 'gives' you. That way if your max possible losses are 60 quid (difference between winning one and losing the counter bet), you'll still make 140 quid when you withdraw your money.
Do this with bank accounts
Please enlighten how this is different? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm posing a genuine question. Is it the scale and/or false name thing?
Anyway, doesn't pass my "does it sound too good" test.
This is very different
If you read what the guy did in the "brokerage_scam_sentencing" article he used false identities to create lots of accounts in order to skim out a tiny profit from each. What is very illegal here is the false identity part.
In this system, you set up a single account using your main identity (hence why the article author kept his name secret). You hedge the transaction on one site with a transaction on another site. It is basic arbitrage which is very legal. What makes it highly profitable is that the "free cash" gives you a 50% discount on trades on one site - hence why the arbitrage is so profitable. Normal arbitrage on gambling sites is actually very difficult because the transaction costs are very high and this means that the spreads are effectively too wide. Arbitrage would only be possible in a very few cases where there was wildly inaccurate pricing. But the free cash gives you huge opportunities. So even 30-40% transaction costs (which is what you are seeing) means you walk away with good profit.
Where it would become very illegal is if you used false identities to take the free cash from one site multiple times.
Thanks but no thanks
Aside from the trifling little matter of actually predicting a winner (which most people fail to do and therefore reap in huge bundles of cash for Ladbrokes et al), I'll stick to making my money by arranging money transfers with relatives of Nigerian prime ministers and kings.
I read this and thought hmmm... And then I got to the bit about DongleMouse. First the original version I saw: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jun/05/free-world-cup-bets-bookmakers And now DongleMouse's comment: http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/5830766
"i should also add any comments at the bottom of the guardian article apparently made by "donglemouse" - are not me ";
The guaranteed win is in the fact that once you've bet and won or lost, the bonus £25 or whatever it was is now yours, assuming that the EULA lets you withdraw it after just one flutter. Even if your odds aren't perfect, you still get to walk away with £20 (or some fraction of the original offer).
The downside is...
if the bookie you win from isn't there when you come to collect your winnings.
Not sure I'd be recommending that people deposit their hard-earned with Betdaq. Even if I wasn't sending money to Ireland I'd think twice before depositing with a company which hasn't filed annual accounts with the CRO in Dublin in the last twelve months (a legal requirement in Ireland). The last ones it filed show it was losing money even when Lehman Brothers was profitable!
Thanks but no thanks.
Bookies are good at gambling.......
Poker punters aren't. Play against the professionals if you want. Me I prefer the easier option......
I just counted 30 possible free bet bookies from freebets.co.uk with various offers from 5 to 100 quid.
I assume that you only get this offer once and therefore to be continuously successful requires multiple user id's and multiple debit cards unless you are playing with the profits on subsequent bets.
If the average freebie is 50 quid and the average bet is even money then the most that can be made is 1500 (gross) using the free money. Assuming that they are indeed even money bets.
have i missed something?
Don't knock it.
Read this article and the subsequent comments with interest. I understand where the author is coming from, he's made his easy grand from mb'ing , he cant believe how easy it is and he wants to tell all and sundry about his new toy. I've been there, many of us have. Critically I don't think the article was particularly clear about the mechanics of matched betting, but that probably wasn't its aim. Matched betting is a perfectly legitimate financial process, 'bending' the rules in the same way as stoozing credit cards.
I was particularly interested in the negativity of some of the comments left above.
Think about it this way , how many 'normal' people will walk into pcworld in the run up to xmas and buy a PC or MAC when their needs might be adequately met by a Linux machine. How many of them would actually believe you if you stopped them in the queue at the till and told them they were throwing £150 down the drain... that there is a free piece of software which runs as well as OSX/WIN7, which would give them access to free software, will run on the hardware they are buying and which will probably run better and make their life easier! Some would listen, some wouldn't. Some would simply not believe that an operating system could be 'free'.
Now - You and I both know Linux isn't a 'scam'. In the same way the author and I both know matched betting isn't a scam. Were trying to do you a favour, please try and at least listen.
I've been matched betting for around 6 months and have turned over around £1500 in cash.
Those who are interested would do well to consult the GIOL (Gambling Introductory Offers and Loopholes) Board on Moneysaving expert. The board has been running for more than 5 years and currently holds around 18000 threads. There is a helpful community around MB'ing who will answer questions and help newbies through what can be a quite complicated process. Start with the thread called 'READ HERE - Introductory Guide and FAQ - START HERE', read it fully at least three times before moving onto one of the many 'best bookies for newbies' threads. If you don't get it, or don't agree with it then walk away from it, but don't knock it til you have tried to understand it.
There are a few comments above along the lines of 'there only seems to be £1000 out there to get, is it worth the hassle'?. There is an easy £1500-£2000 to be made from simple offers from reputable UK bookies. Then the offers do get more complicated. You would be advised to start here before moving onto Australian Bookies (with their strict money laundering legislation) and the US Bookies (There are technically no US bookies but there are many 'US facing sports books'). There are easily 200+ bookies out there on the interwebs. And while you work through the new offers, older bookies will send you other substantial offers to win back your custom. There are other skills to learn to allow you to extract money via arbitrage. Eventually things can plateau, and you can drop to making a few quid here and there, but is that really a good enough reason not to start??. Incidentally winnings from gambling are tax free, though they may affect you position with benefits.
They say you can start MBing with £150. Put that in the bank and you would make a fiver in a year if you are lucky. Why not give MBing a go, you can easily make 4 or 5 times that out of your £150 in just a couple of hours while learning a new skill and meeting new friends ; )
A/C because my username on El Reg is the same as TGT and GIOL
Free bets are not extremely profitable by themselves
Free bets are not extremely profitable by themselves. However, I make around £8-900 every month on sports arbitrages, and use as many free bets as possible. I put in perhaps 4-5 hours per week. Read the Rebelbetting e-book! It's sure as hell not "free money", but it really works.
Dongle the legend
There was this guy posted on moneysavingexpert up until about a month ago but was basically hounded off it, he used the id artof or something like that. Go to his new blog and there is stuff there that you wont find anywhere, i dare anyone not to make 3 or 4k in a few weeks he has information on bookies with bonuses that i have never even seen anywhere else. The bookies are catching on to ap and mb i think it will be dead within 2 years so jump in now. I myself have been mbing for 3 years and have made over £9000 but read the guides then read them again
Sorry, how does this compare to a job at McDonald's?
In terms of how much time you spend, checking the fine print, placing opposing bets, just to earn 50 quids? (minus what you lose placing opposing bets, of course)
Not for me, thanks. But if you have the free time, go ahead...
LOL @ all the posters who just don't get it or assume there's a catch :)
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