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Matched betting free bets and the future of bookies offers

The UK gambling industry is currently experiencing a major shift. Operators are coming under increased pressure to clean up their act, betting stores are taking a hit and the Government are finally taking small steps to eradicate problem gambling. All in all, a lot of change! Could we see a shift in the way matched betting free bets are offered?

Read on to find out…

UK gambling regulations

The Gambling Commission regulate the UK betting industry on behalf of the Government. However, the UK betting sector is still incredibly flexible and somewhat unregulated when compared to other parts of the world, specifically America.

Gambling in America

America take a far stricter approach to gambling in their country. Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana are the only four states where sports betting is legal. Nevada and Louisiana are the only two states where Casino gambling is legal. It’s fair to say these two states make up for it…

Gambling in America - The Sure Bettor

Free bets and bonuses

The betting industry has become incredibly competitive over the last few years, mainly thanks to the huge boom in the online sector. This has led to bookmakers finding it hard to gain, and more importantly keep customers. One of the most effective methods at doing this is to offer incentives to bettors. These come in the form of free bets and bonuses, which modern gambling has come to know all too well.

You’ve probably heard me saying this before, but it’s a brilliant way of demonstrating how hard the bookies have to work to gain new customers. Each bookie is willing to spend up to £300 per new account registration. Most of this money ends up in free bets and bonuses used to incentivise customers.

Unfair promotions

Obviously, the bookies don’t want to hand out free bets without getting anything in return. They’re a greedy lot at the end of the day! If you’ve ever used a free bet, you’ll know how lengthy the terms and conditions can be for each offer. In these T&Cs, some bookies are known to add loopholes and unrealistic wagering requirements to catch punters out.

It’s these promotions that have been under investigation by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in combination with the Gambling Commission. The CMA said ‘gambling firms must now stop unfair online promotions that trap players’ money’. They’re specifically talking about the wagering requirements that some bookies use to prevent players withdrawing their winnings.

Changing landscape of promotions

In the wake of the CMA examination, William Hill, Ladbrokes and PT Entertainment have all changed their online promotions. Betting firms have been told:

  • Punters are not required to play multiple times just to access their winnings. This will hopefully get rid of unrealistic wagering requirements that have caught many bettors out in the past.
  • Terms and conditions must be much clearer – any requirements or restrictions must be spelled out in easy to understand language rather than vague, jargon filled small print.

The Gambling Commission has said all betting operators must ‘promptly adopt similar changes.’ The CMA added ‘firms not doing so will face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission.’

I’m sure we’re going to see a flurry of activity in terms of changing promotions and terms and conditions in the near future as betting firms iron out any chance of getting caught and penalised by the Gambling Commission. We’re very much in a gambler orientated world these days with protection coming from all corners of the industry.

How matched betting is affected

We won’t go into the details of what matched betting is in this article. If you’re unsure you can check out our complete guide to matched betting.

In simple terms we use matched betting free bets and bonuses the bookies offer to make a guaranteed profit. So a change with regards to free bets is incredibly important for us.

One of the most annoying and time consuming parts of matched betting is reading through pages of terms and conditions in which the smaller print is usually more important. Our team are constantly scouring the internet for the latest offers, checking through the terms and conditions and then uploading the most important aspects to our site. Whilst our team do a brilliant job, we still advise members read through the terms and conditions themselves before placing any bets, just to be sure.

Thanks to the CMA and Gambling Commission investigation, I’m expecting this to change. The T&Cs will hopefully become clearer and won’t require an English degree to decipher…

No more wagering requirements

How awesome would this be for matched betting!

Wagering requirements have a large impact on matched betting. For certain offers, there is qualifying criteria stating we must complete a certain amount of bets (rollover) before we’re able to withdraw any funds. These are the loopholes that have caught many bettors out in the past.

Matched betting is a risk free method of making money online, so there is no chance of losing any bets when completing a rollover requirement. However, for each matched bet we place when completing wagering requirements, we lose a small percentage of our own money. We aim to keep this below 5% of the back stake, however, when we have to complete ten of these bets just to access our free bet winnings, the losses soon add up.

Overall this makes completing certain offers almost pointless. So with the new guidelines in place, we should see less wagering requirements and ultimately be able to complete more offers. This in turn allows us to make more money with matched betting.


It’s going to be interesting to see where the betting industry heads in the near future. One thing’s for sure, pressure from organisations and the Government isn’t going to ease any time soon. These groups will continue to push the bookies to ‘clean up their act’ and continue with social responsibilities.

Some of these future changes are likely to help matched betting and some may not. In any event, as long the bookies continue to offer free bets to incentivise customers, then matched betting will still be an incredibly profitable way to make money online.

Be sure to stay tuned in at The Sure Bettor for all the latest gambling and matched betting news.

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