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A parlay bet – known as an accumulator in the UK – is a multiple bet in which single bets are combined into one bet. There must be at least two different events wagered on – and all the legs of the bet must win for the parlay to pay out.
Parlay bets can be made up of bets on different sports or events.
A parlay must have two or more different bets – so it follows that the potential pay out on this type of wager is greater due to the higher risk involved. The more bets that are included in a parlay, the bigger the potential winnings.
Parlay bets are particularly popular with sports events as bettors like to group teams together in multiple bets and predict a group of results in an attempt to win big. Bettors are attracted by the possibility of a big win from a relatively low stake, but with more eventualities there is much more chance of losing.
There is also a bet called a progressive parlay in which some of the individual bets can lose but the bettor still wins. The pay out would be much lower than a regular parlay however.
There have been many cases of large pay outs on parlay bets but one of the biggest for a very small amount happened in August 2000 when one lucky bettor staked just 30p on the winner of the Champions League, the top five English leagues, three divisions in Scotland, the English rugby union champions, and the county cricket winners. At odds of 1,666,666/1 the winnings totalled £500,000.