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Is matched betting legal or illegal? The truth revealed

Is matched betting legal is one of the most common questions we get asked.

It usually goes something like this… People hear about how profitable matched betting can be, take a closer look at the process and start wondering whether it’s legal or not.

That’s why I wrote this article. To reveal the truth about matched betting and the legality of the process. We also look at other common legality questions regarding gnoming and multi accounting.

Let’s dive in.

Is matched betting legal?

Since you’re here I take it you already know a little bit about matched betting, but for those of you who are new to the strategy, welcome!

Matched betting is one of the most popular and profitable ways to make extra cash online. This betting strategy is risk and tax free and matched bettors are able to make up to £1000 every month.

Is matched betting legal?

But, is matched betting legal?

We’re always told that when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s even more the case when you’re talking about making money online – there’s so much BS out there.

You may have come across the so called ‘gurus’ claiming they can make you a millionaire overnight when in reality it’s all complete rubbish.

Just to clear things up, matched betting is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ and you’re NOT going to get rich using this technique. However, if you’re interested in making up to £1000 per month, read on…

A number of years ago I was looking for ways to make money online but I didn’t want to get into something that was illegal and end up in jail…

I came across matched betting and it all looked very promising. But after looking into the process in more detail I wasn’t sure if matched betting was a legitimate way to make money. It all seemed too good to be true.

This is probably the same feeling you currently have. But by the end of the article I hope to have cleared things up in your mind.

To find out whether matched betting is legal we’ll look at the overall process and how it works.

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is a risk-free betting strategy that takes advantage of the massive range of bookmakers free bets and promotions.

Ray Winstone bet365

You’ve probably seen Ray Winstone from Bet365 or Chris Kamara from Ladbrokes adverts on the TV shoving their latest odds and promotions down your throat…

Well, it’s these promotions and offers that matched bettors take advantage of on a regular basis.

The competitive betting industry

The betting industry is one of the most competitive markets out there. Period.

This is beneficial for us matched bettors. More competition means more free bets and promotions we can take advantage of. Here’s a typical example from Coral:

Is matched betting legal with Coral

Coral offer new customers a £20 free bet if they sign up and stake £5.

Similar to the example above, most bookmakers promote a huge range of bonuses on a daily basis. If we multiply the number of offers by the number of bookies that exist online, there’s a huge number of promotions to make money from.

Matched bettors aim to extract roughly 80% of a free bet in cash, all of which is completely tax free.

Different types of matched betting offer

There are two types of offer that you can take advantage of using matched betting. These are sign up offers and reload offers.

Sign up offers are for new customers only and almost every online bookie runs one of these promotions to incentivise new customers.

Reload offers are the ongoing promotions the bookies offer to entice existing customers to keep betting. These offers are where the long term profit is made with matched betting.

Matched betting featured in

It’s not just us folk here at The Sure Bettor who are so keen on matched betting.

The method has been praised up and down the UK and has been featured in a number of different articles and media outlets. Below are just a few of the companies who love matched betting like we do:

Matched betting featured

How does matched betting work?

We won’t go into too much detail about how matched betting works, as we do this in other articles.

In basic terms, bettors use a concept called back and lay betting which removes any risk involved with normal betting.

Here’s an example to help explain.

Let’s say Bookmaker A are offering a £20 free bet if you sign up and bet £10.

So you’d follow the simple process below:

  1. Sign up and bet £10
  2. Receive your £20 free bet
  3. Make a guaranteed profit

It’s really that simple…

Well, there’s a bit more to it but you don’t need to get bogged down in the nitty gritty just yet. That’s where a site like OddsMonkey come in handy. They walk you through the entire process, from start to finish.

This all sounds great! But… Is matched betting actually legal?

Is matched betting legal?

Yes, matched betting is 100% legal.

Is matched betting legal?

We’re taking advantage of bookies free bets and promotions. There’s nothing illegal with what we’re doing.

If you were a normal gambler looking to maximise the profit from your betting you’d look for similar offers to the ones we take advantage of using matched betting.

That’s why the bookies promote them.

The only difference is that matched bettors use a method that guarantees a profit no matter what the outcome of the event.

We do this by placing two bets at different betting companies which is 100% legal.

Still not convinced that matched betting is legal? Here’s what Graham Sharpe from William Hill said about matched betting.

‘There’s no illegal element. It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.’

There you have it. One of the UK’s top betting companies confirming there’s nothing illegal with matched betting.

Is matched betting legal in the US? Since sports betting is now legal in America, many punters have been asking whether it’s legal to start match betting.

The answer to this is a resounding yes. If it’s legal in the UK, it’s legal in the US.

Is gnoming illegal?

So we know matched betting is legal, but what about gnoming?

We’re often asked about gnoming and specifically is gnoming illegal? To get straight to the point, yes, gnoming is definitely illegal.

There’s probably some of you reading this, wondering what on earth gnoming is.

So, who better to ask than the Urban Dictionary.

Is gnoming illegal?

Wait… That’s not the meaning we’re after… 🙂

Gnoming in betting is when a punter opens multiple accounts with one bookmaker. It’s also known as multi-accounting and it’s a strategy I don’t recommend you use.

Bettors use this method to maximise their income from a single bookmaker. They sign up to a bookie using a family member or friends name in order to access the free bet or bonus multiple times.

On the face of it, this looks like a great method to maximise your earnings. However, I strongly encourage you not to use this technique as it is 100% illegal. Claiming to be someone you’re not is fraud.

There are matched bettors that use this method to great effect. However, do so at your own risk.

If the bookies catch you, you’ll be in hot water and any winnings you have may be taken away. Along with closing your account, the bookie may even file a lawsuit against you.

So, is matched betting legal if you use multi-accounting? Definitely not.

Do bookies like matched betting?

So, now that we’ve worked out the answer to is matched betting legal and we know that gnoming is 100% illegal, let’s find out what the bookies think about matched betting.

After reading that William Hill statement above, you’d think the betting industry doesn’t have a problem with matched betting or arbing.

However, that’s not 100% accurate for reasons we’ll look at below.

Most betting companies aren’t huge fans of matched betting but they’re also not outraged at it, if that makes any sense. They’re sitting somewhere on the fence.

Don’t take too much value

Over time, the bookies may become frustrated with punters who are abusing their bonuses and taking too much value.

This frustration is not specifically aimed at matched bettors but rather the whole betting community.

Think of it from the bookies point of view. They’re offering free money which people are taking advantage of. If a new customer signs up using these promotions, the company is happy. Their marketing team have done a good job.

However, as time goes on and a punter/matched bettor starts abusing the promotions (takes advantage of every single offer without placing any ‘normal’ bets), the bookie will become annoyed.

Football betting

Unfortunately, too many matched bettors only place bets when there is a bonus or promotion available. This is a strategy that will lead to account restrictions or bans in the future.

On the flip side, one of the big arguments for matched betting is that we bring new customers to the betting company in the first place.

Matched betting is not gambling so we’re introducing customers who wouldn’t necessarily sign up to a betting company. However, the bookies may argue that they don’t want customers who aren’t real punters.

Overall, the main theme is that the bookies don’t want customers continually taking advantage of their promotions.

In fact they will restrict or gub accounts that they perceive are not playing fairly.

What is gubbing?

Not another stupid word you’re probably thinking…

Gubbing is an industry term to describe the process of a bookie restricting or closing your account. To maximise your profit with matched betting, you need as many bookmaker accounts open as possible.

Any restricted accounts or worse are usually rendered useless in terms of matched betting. Unfortunately, it’s a common theme in betting and by extension matched betting to see accounts being closed.

It seems the bookies are taking ever quicker decisions to close down accounts that are taking too much value.

More experienced matched bettors will know too well the dreaded email you receive when the account admin team have made their final decision.

It will probably look something like this:

Gubbed Bet365 account

Can the bookies identify matched bettors?

In the short term it’s tricky to differentiate between normal gamblers and matched bettors. However, over a longer period of time the bookies work out who the matched bettors are!

Many bookies, especially the larger firms like Ladbrokes and Coral, have very sophisticated technology that paints a clear picture of account activity.

It’s believed the bookies use the same technology to profile accounts as they do to catch fraudsters.

It’s also thought that there are a number of ex matched bettors who have turned rogue!

What can you do?

Matched betting is a very profitable technique and it’s still well worth doing. So how can you stop the bookies from noticing?

The main aim is to make yourself look like a normal gambler. I recommend you don’t continually take advantage of free bets without giving some value back to the bookie.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Place mug bets on a regular basis
  • Place bets on your favourite team (normal gamblers usually stick to a favoured team)
  • Keep funds in your betting account whenever possible
  • Place bets as close to kick off as possible
  • Stake more than the minimum to qualify for a free bet

Read our in depth article about ways of staying under the bookies’ radar here.

Frequently asked legality questions

Right, now it’s time for some frequently asked matched betting legality questions.

I’m 17, is matched betting legal for me?
No, you have to be at least 18 years old for matched betting to be legal – just like you do with any betting in the UK.

I live outside the UK, is it still legal for me to open accounts with English bookmakers?
If you have a registered address in the UK (with proof of ownership) it’s still legal for you to open an account with UK bookmakers. For more information visit our matched betting abroad article.

Is matched betting legal if I use a VPN?
Many matched bettors get away with using a VPN, however, it can be risky business and the bookies are certainly within their own rights to close down your account if they find out.

Is matched betting a get-rich-quick scheme?
No, matched betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Is matched betting legal and should you get started?

So, overall is matched betting legal?

You bet… matched betting is 100% legal.

The bookies aren’t so keen on those who continually take advantage of their free bets but by using methods to blend in with the crowd and hide your matched bets you shouldn’t have any problems.

Now is a great time to get started with matched betting. There are plenty of offers available and OddsMonkey provides all the help you could wish for.

Happy matched betting 🙂