What is Matched Betting?

Profit no matter the outcome of your bets

In a nutshell

Matched betting is the process of covering all outcomes of an event in order to qualify for free bets and bonuses for next to nothing. You can then use the same process to turn those free bets and bonuses into cash.

Matched betting isn’t about insider sports knowledge or taking risks. You use simple maths that’s easy to learn and make a predictable profit from every offer you claim.

This page will give you a comprehensive overview of what matched betting is and how it works and answer the most common questions. At the end, you should have a good understanding of the overall concept and be ready for the more detailed step-by-step walkthrough of claiming your first offer in my free matched betting academy.


Part 1

How it works

Bookmakers always try to attract new customers with free bets and bonuses. Usually, it’s something like bet £10, get a £10 free bet. As with many marketing campaigns, the bookmaker takes a short-term hit to get people in the door. They aim to get people hooked and make a profit in the long term.

Matched betting is a simple technique that takes advantage of this. By covering all outcomes of an event, you can meet the requirements needed to claim the free bet or bonus without risking large sums of money. It’s not about taking risks or punts, nor do you need to know anything about the event you’re betting on.

A simple example

Let’s consider that a bookmaker is running a promotion where you get a free £20 bet if you place a bet of £10 on any event.

For simplicity, the event I’ll use in this example is a coin toss. There are two possible outcomes, heads or tails, with an equal chance of each happening. If you stake £10 on the correct outcome, you’ll get your £10 back, plus an extra £10 – so you’ll be £10 in profit.

If you place a £10 bet on heads and a £10 bet on tails, you’ll lose £10 on one outcome but gain £10 on the other. The two bets will cancel each other out. You will, however, have met the requirements to claim your £20 free bet, which was just that you needed to place a £10 bet. So you’ll get your free bet without having taken any risks. You can see this illustrated in the table below.

£10 on
£10 on
If Heads
+ £10– £10£0 profit + Qualified for £20 free bet
If Tails
– £10+ £10£0 profit + Qualified for £20 free bet

And that’s it! No sports knowledge is required!

Using your free bet

You could place your free bet on something and hope it wins. But, by repeating the process of covering all outcomes again, you can be sure to make a profit no matter the outcome.

I go into much more detail in my full matched betting guide, the first step in my free Matched Betting Academy. I will also walk you through your first real-world offer step by step, from which you will make around £15.

The Academy contains every bookmaker’s welcome offer – over 40, with a total profit exceeding £600. Each has a step-by-step guide so you always know what to do. Beyond that, it teaches you how to take advantage of existing customer offers so you can continue making profits far into the future.

The Matched Betting Academy

Every welcome offer
(That’s £1,400+ of free bets!)

100% Free. No subscriptions. No trials.

Part 2

Building up profit

Once you’ve completed your first offer, it’s a case of banking your profit and repeating the process with another one. There’s no skill; stick to the process and repeat. Some offers vary slightly in their qualifying requirements, but the fundamentals remain the same. Once you’re comfortable with the standard ‘Bet X, Get Y’ offer, you’ll have no problems picking up the variations.

Finding offers to take advantage of can be very time-consuming if you were to do it yourself. Luckily, that’s where I step in. My Matched Betting Academy lists every new customer offer from UK bookmakers, complete with step-by-step instructions. Any variations in technique are clearly shown and explained. It even teaches you how to profit from existing customer offers to set you up for long-term profits. Existing customer offers, or ‘reload offers’ as they’re commonly known, are also something I compile and update as offers become available. That means all you need to focus on is banking profits.

I give all of this away for free. When I discovered matched betting in 2014, I wanted to share it and started a small blog with some of the latest offers. Since then, it’s become the number one free site for matched bettors, teaching thousands of people who have made an enormous collective profit. People have used their profits for holidays, travel, mortgage deposits, new cars, and just about anything else you can think of. It’s the reason I give everything away for free. I want people to benefit from matched betting the same way I have.

Claim an offer, bank the profits, repeat and enjoy the rewards!

Part 3

Frequently asked 

Is matched betting legal?

Yes, matched betting is 100% legal. All matched betting does is use the betting system to your advantage.

Bookmakers don’t like it, but matched betting is an unavoidable consequence of offering free bets. It’s a hit bookmakers take in their efforts to bring in new customers and keep them engaged.

See my ‘Is Matched Betting Legal?‘ article for more in-depth information.

How much can I make?

Once you’ve learned the process, you can comfortably make around £300 a month by putting in 30 minutes daily. That works out at roughly £20 per hour.

The upper limit depends on how much time you’re willing to put in. The more effort you put in, the more you’ll make. Some people can make thousands of pounds per month.

The only limit is the number of offers available, but that will be fine. Over 40 bookmakers operate in the UK, each with welcome and recurring reload offers. My Matched Betting Academy shows you how to profit from every welcome offer with step-by-step instructions. Do all of those, and you’ll make over £600 before you’ve scratched the surface of reload offers.

My ‘How Much Can You Make from Matched Betting?‘ article has more in-depth information.

Do I pay tax on matched betting profits?

No. Money gained from betting, casinos, and other forms of gambling are not counted as ‘earnings’ and are therefore not taxed in the UK. That means you get to keep every pound you earn from matched betting.

How long does it take?

Once familiar with the process, placing your bets takes a few minutes. How many of those you do each day is up to you, but if you put in about 30 minutes per day over a month you’ll make around £500. That’s about £30 per hour.

The beauty of matched betting is that it fits around you. Have you only got 15 minutes? No problem, do a few of the best offers available that day. Have you got a few hours? Great, there are plenty of offers to keep you going!

Generally speaking, the more time you put in, the more offers you can do and the more you’ll make.

Is matched betting risk-free?

Legally, I’m not allowed to say it’s risk-free, as there’s a small chance of human error, which could either work in your favour or against you.

However, mathematically speaking, you’ll make a profit whatever the outcome of your bets.

Is matched betting gambling?

You’re engaging with the gambling industry to place your bets, so legally, I’m not allowed to say no. However, matched betting is a system that removes the uncertainty from the process. You’ll know exactly how much you’re making for every possible outcome. Factor in free bets, and you’ll make an overall profit no matter the outcome of the event you are betting on.

Follow the system, and the only real risks are from human error. In such cases, these can either go against you or in your favour, just like regular betting.

I will say, though, if you have a history of problem gambling, matched betting is not for you. If that’s you, betting sites are far too tempting places to be and best avoided altogether.

Do I need to know about sports or betting?

Not at all. Anyone can use matched betting as it relies 100% on simple maths. The event you’re betting on is irrelevant, as the process remains the same.

Having no betting experience can be beneficial as you won’t have any existing bookmaker accounts. You’ll be able to take advantage of more sign-up offers, which means more money in your pocket.

What if I already have bookmaker accounts?

Not a problem. While you won’t be able to take advantage of those bookmakers’ sign-up offers, they’ll still offer regular reload offers to existing customers.

There are over 40 bookmakers in the UK, so even if you have accounts with a few of them, there’s still much more to take advantage of.

More FAQs

Is matched betting free?

My site is completely free to use. I recommend a starting bankroll of around £100 to place your first bets and make your first profit. Because we’re matched betting, you’ll get that £100 back, plus your profit. You can then use it again on your next offer, and so on.

Starting with £100 doesn’t limit how much you can make; it only determines how quickly you can progress. With a £100 bankroll, you’ll need to wait for your bets to settle before using your winnings on another offer. If you can start with more than £100, you can profit from multiple offers alongside each other.

Many people start small and work up. There are plenty of smaller offers to do while you build up your bankroll and confidence.

Do I need to be good at maths?

No. My calculators do all the hard work for you, so you don’t need to work anything out manually. Enter details about the offer you’re claiming and the event you’re betting on, and the calculator will do the rest.

Can I earn a living from matched betting?

Over the last few years, I’ve spoken to plenty of people who have given up their day jobs to do matched betting full-time. It involves learning the more advanced methods and taking your matched betting to a high level. Still, it’s certainly possible for those with the determination and commitment required.

When starting out, it’s best to view matched betting as a way to earn some extra money on the side and take it from there.

Is matched betting safe and risk-free?

When done correctly, matched betting is risk-free in a mathematical sense. By claiming your free bet and covering all outcomes of an event, you will make a profit no matter the outcome.

It’s important to take care when placing bets, though. Otherwise, mistakes can happen. Sometimes, they will work in your favour; other times, they won’t. You should also always bet responsibly.

How much money do I need to start matched betting?

I recommend a starting bankroll of around £100 for your first offer. Once you’ve profited from that, you can use the same money to fund your next offer. If you can put in more than that, you can have multiple offers running alongside one another – no need to wait for the previous one to settle. Having a smaller starting bankroll does not affect how much you can make; it only affects how quickly you can complete all the offers.

Can I use multiple accounts at the same bookmaker?

Multi-accounting, or gnoming as it’s often referred to in matched betting circles, is a no-go. Bookmakers use systems to flag up users who are running multiple accounts. It goes beyond simple things like names, postal addresses and IP addresses. If a bookmaker finds you multi-accounting, your accounts will be closed, and you may lose any funds you have in them.

Is multi-accounting illegal? There’s no definitive answer to this. The worst the bookmakers will do is close your accounts. Still, setting up multiple accounts with fake credentials is essentially committing fraud. While tempting and easy to do, it’s best left alone.

Can I use a VPN while matched betting?

Many people use a VPN to give themselves an extra layer of security online. However, for matched betting, it’s best to avoid it.

Using one is often against a bookmaker’s terms and conditions. It may result in your accounts being closed and any winnings withheld.

Look at my ‘Matched Betting and VPNs‘ article for more in-depth information.

Does matched betting affect my credit rating or mortgage approval?

Bookmakers can verify your identity as part of their anti-money laundering checks. These checks won’t affect your credit score in any way.

Regarding mortgages, your application will be unaffected as long as you’re prepared. Keep your matched betting activity separate from your main bank account, as mortgage providers won’t differentiate matched bettors from those with gambling problems.

My ‘Matched Betting and Mortgages‘ article has more in-depth information.

Does matched betting still work in 2024?

Absolutely. While bookmakers are more streetwise to matched bettors and generally offer lower free bet amounts than they used to, you can still make plenty of profit. In my Matched Betting Academy, you’ll see over £600 to be made from welcome offers alone, with another £500 or more every month in reload offers depending on how much time you’re willing to put in.

How easy is matched betting?

Once you’ve grasped the initial concept, you’ll be completing offers without too much thought. For each type of offer, the process remains the same. My calculators ensure all you need to do is input the details of your selected offer, and it tells you what you need to stake and where.

Take your time when following along with your first offer, and don’t be put off if it’s not immediately clear. After placing your first set of bets, things often become clearer and, with repetition, quickly become second nature.

Can I do matched betting outside the UK?

While my site focuses mainly on the UK, the principles of matched betting can be applied to an offer in any country where betting is legal. The details in my Academy still apply, but instead of following the offer detailed in my examples, you can use them for a similar offer in your own country.

If you’re in one country and want to place bets in a different country, it can cause problems. Often, you’ll need a VPN to access the bookmaker’s site, which can be against their terms and conditions, and you take the risk of a bookmaker withholding any winnings.

Do existing users still get matched betting offers?

Absolutely. Existing customer offers (or ‘reload’ offers as they’re better known) are one of the cornerstones of matched betting once you’ve completed all the new customer offers. It means new offers constantly appear, and you’re unlikely ever to get close to running out. Plenty of offers like price boosts or 2UPs are open to all customers, both new and existing.

Part 4

Back & lay bets

What are back and lay bets?

In my earlier example, I used a coin toss to demonstrate the basic principle of matched betting. That makes it simple, as there are only two possible outcomes.

In the real world, only a few sports have two outcomes. You’ll need to place bets on things like football matches with three outcomes because the two teams could draw. However, you can still cover all outcomes using only two bets.

You’ll use something called a ‘betting exchange’. Betting exchanges differ from regular bookmakers in that as well as being able to place bets that something will happen, they also allow you to bet that something won’t happen. That is ideal for matched betting. 

To cover all outcomes in a football match, you can bet that the home team will win at a regular bookmaker and won’t win at the betting exchange (this covers both the draw and away win outcomes). You can cover nearly any set of outcomes in this way, which keeps matched betting simple.

For ease, we call our regular bet that something will happen a ‘back’ bet. Our bet at the exchange that something won’t happen is called a ‘lay’ bet.

The table below summarises the key differences between the two.

Back bets

  • A bet placed at a bookmaker, such as bet365, Ladbrokes or William Hill.
  • It is a bet that something will happen – e.g. ‘Man City to win’.

Lay bets

  • A lay bet is placed at a betting exchange, such as Smarkets or Betfair.
  • It’s a bet that something won’t happen – e.g. ‘Man City not to win’. That covers both a draw and Man City to lose.
  • If your lay bet wins, the betting exchange may take a small commission – usually around 2% – a small price for the added speed and simplicity it adds to matched betting.

I cover betting exchanges and lay bets in more detail in my complete guide to matched betting, during which you’ll walk through a real offer and make £15 in the process.

The Matched Betting Academy

Every welcome offer
(That’s £1,400+ of free bets!)

100% Free. No subscriptions. No trials.

Part 5

What you need to get started

Starting bankroll

You’ll need a small amount of money to place your first bets and qualify for your first free bet – around £100. You’ll get this back, plus your first free bet. If you want to start with a larger amount, you can have multiple offers running alongside each other – so you don’t need the first one to settle before claiming the next.

Some spare time

You’ll need about 20 minutes to learn the initial process, after which you should have made about £15 profit. Once you’ve got the process down, you’ll be claiming offers in a matter of minutes. It’s not unreasonable to expect to make £300 per month by putting in just 30 minutes each day. That works out at roughly £20 per hour. The more time you put in, the more you can make.

With so many sporting events and offers, there’s always an opportunity whenever you make time for matched betting. That could be an evening, lunch break, or even while on the loo.

Clear guidance and a list of offers to tackle

I’ve got this one covered. My Matched Betting Academy guides you through your first offer, step by step while teaching you the matched betting process. Not only that, it’s got instructions for every UK bookmaker’s welcome offer (about £600+ profit). Constructed by experienced matched bettors, my Academy provides a logical order to tackle each offer. You’ll build up your confidence and bankroll so you can gradually tackle bigger and bigger offers.

Beyond that, I post reload offers for existing bookmaker customers as they appear, with step-by-step guidance for each one. So even after you’ve completed all the welcome offers, you can still make good daily profits.

Part 6

Learn Matched Betting

Choose the free, easy way.

Many sites charge a subscription for their courses and tools. I do things differently. Everyone should benefit from matched betting, like I have, without paying a monthly fee.

My Matched Betting Academy is 100% free to use from start to finish.

Developed and reviewed by matched betting experts, it includes step-by-step instructions for claiming over £1,400 of free bets and bonuses from welcome offers. It also teaches you everything you need to make upwards of £300 per month from ‘reload’ offers that bookmakers give to existing customers.

Key Features

  • 100% free to use.
  • Structured and reviewed by matched betting experts.
  • Tackle offers in the most logical order, learning new techniques as you go.
  • Every UK bookmaker welcome offer.
  • 0% commission at Smarkets for all users.

What others are saying about the academy

Rated excellent on Trustpilot, and 5 stars on Google Reviews

The best things in life are free, that phrase holds true to this blog. So far made around £1,500 in 2 months just doing the introductory offers and reload offers. Have found the site a great source of knowledge and guides.

Rob on Trustpilot

Easily the best matched betting platform out there. Highly recommended and will continue to use for years to come!

Harry on Trustpilot

Fantastically helpful with daily guides to maximise your profit. Matt’s blog is so helpful to a newbie as he explains everything in great detail (and pictures!)

Grace on Trustpilot

There are lots of Matched Betting sites out there, but I don’t think this can be beaten for the clarity of explanations and examples given. A brilliant mix of new account offers and up to date reloads make this a must view for new and old matched bettors.

Lee on Trustpilot

Best matched betting website for the UK. Completely free and offers everything you need to know about how to getting started.

Tanis on Trustpilot

Matched betting blog is a wonderful site, free to use unlike all the others and Matt is very quick in getting back to you if you have any questions. Top notch and it’s first thing I go into in the morning to see all the daily offers.

Graham on Trustpilot

Why choose the Matched Betting Academy?

A clear path at your pace

Tackle offers in the most logical order while building your knowledge and profits.

No maths required

With calculators and tools for every offer type, you’ll never have to determine what bets to place manually.

I’m here when you need me

I respond to all support requests, comments and social posts. You won’t be matched betting alone.

Follow along, step-by-step

Never be left guessing with guides that walk you through every step of every offer.

Know where you’re up to

Keeping on top of all your open offers can get tricky. Track the offers you’ve got in progress with a single click.

Better together

Find further support and a community of like-minded matched bettors. We’re all here to help and make profits!

Learn Matched Betting
the free, easy way

Make £600+ from welcome offers alone.

Got a question?
Leave me a comment below…

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Matt Kirman - Matched Betting Blogger

Matt KirmanMatched Betting Blogger

Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £85,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.