It’s undoubtedly one of the best ways to make good money online if you live in the UK or Ireland.
Because I’ve literally made £10,000s since I started back in 2012.
However, matched betting is not without its dangers.
Below, I’ve listed 15 of the top matched betting risks and potential mistakes that I’ve come across over the years.
I’ve also provided you with some potential solutions.
Feel free to add your own in the comments section at the end of the post to help others.
15 Matched Betting Risks and Potential Mistakes
Some of these issues could cause you to lose money.
Whilst others may simply be an inconvenience.
But either way.
Nearly all of them can be avoided or resolved.
1: Unmatched Lay Bets
This is probably the number one worry for novice matched bettors.
An ‘unmatched’ or ‘partially matched’ lay bet means that there wasn’t enough liquidity in the lay market to fulfil your lay bet request at the odds you specified.
For example, I’ve placed a £20 back bet on the horse named ‘Alligator’ with William Hill:
With the intention of collecting a free bet if my selection finishes 2nd or 3rd to the SP favourite.
To make this bet ‘risk-free’, I’ve submitted a £19.44 lay bet on the same horse on the Betfair Exchange:
However, only £12.07 has been accepted.
The remaining £7.37 has not yet been matched because there isn’t enough liquidity in the market at lay odds of 7.2.
This means that I’ll end up out of pocket if I leave things as they are and my horse doesn’t win.
Prevention is the best initial strategy.
Try to ensure that the market liquidity exceeds your lay stake.
If, however, you do end up with an unmatched or partially matched lay bet.
This can be fixed quite easily.
By following the instructions in my Guide to Fixing Unmatched Lay Bets.
2: Not Confirming Bets Properly
This is an easy mistake to make.
Many of the bookmakers only require one click to have your bet correctly submitted.
However, other sites require a second click to confirm your bet.
Double-check that your bets have been submitted correctly.
I’ll often subsequently navigate to ‘open bets’ just to make sure everything is in order.
3: Placing the Wrong Lay Bet
In my early matched betting days, I’d sometimes end up laying the wrong selection.
For example, backing ‘BTTS – Yes’ and then laying ‘BTTS – No’.
This could result in a catastrophic ‘double loss’ of both your back bet and your lay liability on the exchange if the outcome doesn’t go your way.
Misplaced lay bets can easily be fixed.
If you have NO other bets in the same market, you can cancel your lay bet with the ‘cash out’ button on some markets.
If you DO have other lay bets that you need to keep, or if there’s no cash out button.
You can back the same selection on the exchange to cancel the lay bet.
4: Using PayPal
This can catch out even the most experienced matched bettors.
For some reason, PayPal doesn’t like it when you use their services to deposit and withdraw with gambling sites.
And whilst some folks never experience any issues.
Others have reported that PayPal
I’ve been using Skrill for years to move my money around quickly between accounts without any issues.
The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t end up voiding the free bet by depositing using an eWallet.
5: Getting Hacked
Hackers often target betting exchange accounts because they know people tend to leave money in there.
And it’s more common than you might think.
I often see posts across multiple forums from people that have lost £1,000s to ‘Betfair hackers’:
However, your bookmaker accounts could be at risk too.
Enable 2-Factor Authentication on your Betfair account.
This will stop people from being able to access your account without your associated device.
Do this NOW.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Also, avoid keeping large sums of money in your betting accounts.
6: Trying to Lose into Betfair
This is a common fallacy.
Many folks think that they can easily get around the rollover requirements for a free bet by backing and laying at high odds.
And whilst this may work a lot of the time.
When your high-odds selection wins.
You could end up with a huge amount of ring-fenced funds in your bookmaker account.
Meaning that you won’t be able to withdraw that money until you’ve completed the associated wagering requirements.
Thus wasting a lot of your time.
Stick to ‘odds on’ (<2.0) selections for completing the rollover.
This will keep your liabilities down and likely minimise your qualifying losses too.
Plus, if the selection does lose.
Then a large chunk of your bookmaker funds will go into your exchange account.
Whereas a ‘win’ will only see a relatively small amount of your exchange funds moved into your bookmaker account.
7: Not Getting the Free Bet
This can happen due to many reasons.
- Your qualifying bet was at the wrong odds;
- Your qualifying bet was on the wrong market;
- You’ve been gubbed.
Use a matched betting platform like OddsMonkey.
They provide all of the instructions and key qualifying criteria for each offer for you.
Which means that you’re less likely to overlook a critical qualifying condition that results in you not getting the free bet.
8: Selecting the Wrong Bet Type for Free Bets
This is super annoying.
You spent all that time trying to get your hands on the free bet.
But then you go and select ‘Qualifier’ on the matched betting calculator instead of ‘SNR Free Bet’!
This means that your lay liability will be too high and you won’t make a profit if the free bet wins.
Always double-check your work.
Make sure that you’ve selected the correct options on the calculator before placing any bets.
9: Relying On Matched Betting as a Source of Income
Have you cashed out all of the bookmakers’ initial offers?
Then you’ll probably be around £500 to £1,000 better off.
And maybe you’re even starting to make a few £100s (or more) each month from the bookmakers’ ongoing offers too.
At this point, many matched betting newbies
Well, it won’t.
Because after a few months, the bookmakers will get sick of giving you free bets and stop giving them to you.
There’s nothing you can do about getting gubbed.
So, you should NOT become reliant upon your matched betting earnings.
With that said however.
There are a number of ways to continue making money without relying on free bets.
Check out my Life After Matched Betting Guide to learn more.
10: Multi-Account Confiscations
It’s the ‘elephant in the room’ of the matched betting world.
Because whilst the matched betting companies are all too happy to say that you can make money ‘every month’.
What they neglect to tell you is that you can only do this indefinitely if you have access to an endless supply of ‘named accounts’.
Such accounts are where you ‘bet on the behalf’ of your friends or family using the details that they have provided.
Aside from being a ‘legal grey area’.
The bookmakers are known to close these ‘linked’ accounts if detected.
And keep all of the funds held in them:
Talk of multi-accounting is typically banned on the premium matched betting forums.
So, you’ll probably be on your own if you end up in hot water.
You can probably get away with exploiting the ‘partner friendly’ accounts in some cases.
11: Frozen Bank Accounts
This is typically a consequence of multi-accounting.
Because if you start logging into multiple bank accounts and moving money between them.
You may end up having these accounts frozen or even closed whilst they investigate you for ‘money laundering’.
However, you may also find that restrictions are placed on your accounts if they see a lot of ‘gambling’ transactions.
Set up a separate bank account for matched betting.
And don’t multi account.
Having one single bank account will make it a lot easier to manage your matched betting bankroll.
And you’ll not have your day-to-day spending interrupted if you do experience any restrictions.
12: Wasting Time Mug Betting
Mug betting is an outdated strategy that was once effective in delaying ‘gubbings’.
The idea was that by placing bets to hide your value extraction strategies.
You’d look more like a ‘normal’ punter and be able to get more free bets.
Mug betting stopped working a few years ago.
But some free (and even premium) matched betting sites still advocate it so they can profit from your losses via the affiliate deals they hold with the bookmakers.
Don’t waste your time with mug betting.
Whilst there may be some benefit to placing mug bets just after you’ve just opened a new account.
There’s pretty much nothing you can do to avoid getting gubbed if you’re regularly taking value.
Just focus on making money whilst you can.
This typically tends to happen with casino matched betting.
But sports-based matched betting is a pretty unexciting process.
So, some folks may start to gamble with their own funds to spice things up a bit.
And whilst you might win a few bets.
The bookmakers’ odds are stacked to ensure they’ll make a long-term profit from bets that are placed recreationally.
Don’t gamble outside of the matched betting offers.
If you find yourself being compelled to do so.
Then you might have a problem.
In which case, you should probably cease all forms of betting.
And check out BeGambleAware for some assistance.
14: Forgetting About Open Accumulators
Accumulator matched betting is somewhat of a dying art.
But if you’re still sequentially laying off your accumulators to exploit the bookmakers’ insurance offers.
You could lose a lot of money if you forget to lay off one of the legs.
I use the ‘Reminders’ tab that comes with
And I’ll set further alerts on my phone to remind me to check the reminders tab!
15: Not Using a Matched Betting Platform
When I first started matched betting.
I’d find a lot of the offers by myself and use clunky spreadsheets to handle the calculations.
This was mind numbingly tedious.
Which often led to me making some preventable mistakes.
There’s no real reason to be doing matched betting by yourself these days.
Because there are more matched betting platforms available than you can shake a stick at.
And many of the top names like OddsMonkey will let you join up for FREE.
Plus, their reasonably priced premium subscriptions will give you access to powerful
Which can help you make even more money with less effort.
Click the button below to read my full OddsMonkey review.
And see how they can help you accelerate your matched betting profits today.