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Matched betting is a form of online sports betting which takes advantage of the special deals which bookmakers offer to persuade people to open an account with them. Although no form of sports betting could ever be described as risk free, matched betting aims to minimize the risk of any loss by simultaneously backing and laying an outcome with two different bookmakers.
Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by matched betting requires setting up accounts with two different online bookmakers, at least one of which is offering some kind of signing on bonus. In many cases, this bonus will take the form of a free bet, allowing bettors to stake a set amount, such as £30, once they open their account. The bonus often comes with conditions, such as the number of bets which have to be made before any money can be withdrawn, or the timescale within which any bets have to be made. The term bonus hunter has been used to describe bettors who seek to take advantage of bonuses in a way which greatly increases the chance of making a profit, and matched betting offers something similar.
In most cases, the bettor will have to make an initial bet in order to activate the free bet. Matched betting involves backing a result, which means betting that something will happen, such as football team winning a match, and then laying the same result on a betting exchange, which means betting that it doesn’t happen. Once this bet has been made, the free bet will be offered, and the same process carried out, but this time backing a result using money provided by the bookmaker. By choosing the odds carefully, or laying on a betting exchange, a bettor can create a situation in which they make at least a small profit no matter what the result of the sporting event is.