Each week I talk to new traders that either want to become professional traders, doing sports trading as a full-time activity or complete beginners that just want to get started.
The most common question I get asked, is how much is enough to get started? Of course the answer to this question is slightly subjective and depends on a lot of factors, but the answer I give out most of the times is £200.I believe that this is a sum that most people can invest for sports trading.It’s not a large sum of money that will put a dent on anyones budget, yet it’s not too small of a sum to not allow any experimenting on the markets and discovering what type of trader you are and what sports are you more inclined towards trading.
But soon after starting out, most of the times I get told that although they see the opportunity of trading the sports markets, the sum of money invested needs to be larger in order to make a significant amount of money to justify the time invested. Although I don’t totally agree with committing a large sum than £200, especially for absolute beginners, since I believe that even with a few hundred pounds, a beginner can learn the basics, and build his bank up to a larger amount in a relatively short time span. But I do understand how some new traders will see a larger bankroll as a way to get them were they want to go, only a lot faster.According to some of the responses I get, a bankroll for trading between £1k and £2k is something new-to-intermediate traders are looking for, but due several reasons, they are either unwilling or unable to commit such a sum for sports trading (or what some people perceive as a gambling activity).
It’s a this point that I suggest the option of matched betting and how it can help anyone create or grow a bankroll for their betting or sports trading purposes.
Without making things to complicated, I’m going try to explain the process of matched betting, and how it can help you take advantage and claim the free bets, bonuses and other continuous promotions that bookmakers have on offer, for new as well as existing customers.
Now, as you might or might not know, most bookmakers have all types of sign-up offers in the form of free bets or bonuses. But there is a catch.Most of these free bets and bonuses have terms and conditions attached to them, and most of the times, what these terms say is that the free bets and bonuses can not be withdrawn from your bookmaker account, or cannot be claimed, until a certain rollover requirement is met. What this means, is that the money you deposited, along with any free bets or bonuses you received when opening your account, need to be used for betting. During the period when online bookmakers were just starting to make their presence, these rollover requirements were more of a formality. But as online betting became mainstream and online bookmakers started showing up everywhere, bonuses became something punters took advantage of by opening an account, taking the free bets or bonuses and never playing at that bookmaker, ever again.
So what used to be an easy rollover requirement of two/three times the initial deposit plus the bonus amount, at any odds, became more strict requirements with a rollover requirement of anywhere between three to ten times the deposited sum with an extra requirement that only bets placed at odds of evens or greater would count towards fulfilling the rollover requirements. And this is where the betting exchanges came to the rescue and made “hunting” for bonuses and free bets a true possibility through the concept of matched betting.
Before I get into an example on how matched betting works, I want to explain a few more things about free bets and bonuses. It’s important to know that there are certain variations of the free bets and bonuses, depending on each bookmaker. Some free bets and bonuses are first bet free bets (which means that the free bet is usually a percentage of your first bet placed with the bookmaker), while others are deposit free bet and bonuses (which means that the free bet and bonuses are a percentage of your first deposit with the bookmaker). Also know that some free bets and bonuses can only be used one time, and you get to keep only the net winning without the stakes being returned, these are referred as stake not returned free bets.
On this page I will point out some trustworthy bookmakers that have free bets and bonuses, and I will also include a description on what the terms and conditions say for each bookmaker so you know what type of free bet or bonus it is, how you can claim it and what rollover requirements (if any) it has.
Now let’s look at a real example in which I’ll try to show and explain how matched betting works.
Let’s take the Bwin bonus as an example. Bwin has different sign-up bonuses and free bets depending on your location but we are going to use their international €30 deposit bonus, but the method described works just as well for bonuses dedicated to other regions and with other bookmakers.
This is a 100% deposit bonus up to €30 which means that when you deposit €30 you get another €30 as a bonus. This bonus from Bwin has a rollover requirement of one time for the deposited amount and 5 times the bonus amount, at odds of 1.7 or greater, before a withdrawal can be made. That means that if you went for the maximum bonus of €30 bonus and deposited €30, you had to have placed bets totaling €180 before you can request a withdrawal.
But by placing bets, you take the risk of losing your bonus as well as your deposit money, especially when some free bets and bonuses from bookmakers have a deadline for the rollover requirement. The Bwin deadline for the rollover requirement is two months after you have received your bonus.
So here is where the betting exchanges come into place. Continuing with the Bwin bonus example, you now have €60 in your account (your initial deposit plus the bonus). Here is how matched betting works. Image there is a tennis match between Federer and Nadal with the odds being the following:
At Bwin: Federer vs Nadal 1.97 – 1.97
At Betfair (or another betting exchange): Federer v Nadal 1.99 – 2.00
You place a back bet at Bwin with the full amount of €60 on Federer at 1.97 and then you place a lay bet on the same outcome (Federer) at one of the exchanges at 1.99 . In case Federer wins, you have €118.2 in your Bwin account and lost €59.4 from your Betfair account, but the important thing is that you already made a rollover that counts towards meeting your rollover requirement. (four more times – 4*€30 or €120 staked and you can make a withdrawal). If Nadal would have won then you would have had €0 in your Bwin account and had €60 extra in your Betfair account; €60 extra, ready to use for trading.
Keep in mind that it’s hard to find matching odds for the bookmaker and the exchange, since the exchanges do tend to have larger odds, so you will lose a small percentage of your bonus, but since it’s free to start with, it should not matter that much.
One last tip regarding matched betting is that you can also back both events in a tennis match, and use two bookmakers for matched betting instead of a bookmaker and an exchange. You can accomplish this by backing one player at one bookmaker and the other player at another. But since the main idea is to create a bankroll for sports trading, using the exchanges is much easier and convenient method that can be used for any sporting event, given that is fullfils our matched betting requirements.
So the key to matched betting is to find a outcome of a sporting event that has similar odds at both the bookmaker and the exchange, and back that outcome at the bookmaker and lay that exact same outcome at the exchange.
Hopefully by now you’ll have understood the general idea and see how though matched betting, you could be claiming and adding up these bonuses and building a relatively sizable bankroll. Now, let’s take a look at the free bets and bonuses that are offered by bookmakers and exchanges.
The betting exchanges are one of the main reasons why matched betting has become a real options and why it has grown in popularity during the last few years. So the first free bets and bonuses to take advantage of, come right from the betting exchanges themselves.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Betfair is the leading betting exchange. In fact, it’s the reason this blog even exists, and why we are even covering the topic of sports trading. They have a £25 or €25 free bet for new customers. This free bet works in the following way: if your first matched bet on the exchange worth £/€ 25 or more is not a winner, Betfair will credit your account with £/€25. Basically it is a no-risk first matched bet on the exchange. Follow the link below and you will have the two options, one being the one offering up to £1,000 in cashback.
Click here to activate and claim your no-risk £/€25 free bet from Betfair
Betdaq has always been second in line as the go-to betting exchange, but during the past couple of years they have made considerable efforts to improve their services and are becoming a viable alternative for sports traders. They have a very attractive sign-up offer of £/€200, which every new sports trader should take advantage of. These free bets are actually the commission you generated. Your first bet or first deposit does not matter. Once you paid £/€ 25 in commissions, you will receive a £/€ 25 free bet and afterwards you will receive a £/€ 100 free bet for every £/€ 100 paid in commissions, until the full amount of £/€ 200 of free bets is transferred into your Betdaq account. Also keep in mind that the free bets cannot be withdraws until they have been bet with at least one time at odds of 1.5 (1/2) or higher. You also get a 3% commission rate. Overall, this is a very good offer.
Click here to claim £/€200 worth of free bets from Betdaq and activate your 3% commission
Free bets and bonuses from bookmakers
After claiming the first free bets from the betting exchanges it’s time to start claiming the free bets and bonuses that the online bookmakers offer.
Bet 365 is on the top of my list of recommended bookmakers, for more reasons than I can list here. They have one of the best, if not the best sign-up offer, along with periodical offers in the form of free bets and bonuses. Their live video is also very popular among sports bettors and traders, with fast live video stream for football, tennis, cricket, snooker and other sports. This bonus is a 100% deposit bonus, which means that if you deposit €/£ 100 you get another €/£100 as a bonus. The rollover requirement is three times the deposited amount plus the bonus amount, at odds of 1.5 (1/2) or higher. Until the rollover requirement is met, you cannot ask for a withdrawal, unless you want to forfeit your bonus.
Click here to claim a 100% bonus up to £/€100 from Bet 365
Bwin is one of the leading online bookmakers. A €30 bonus along with live video streams that complement those from Bet 365 and other bookmakers. Use the link below to activate your bonus and register your Bwin account. Once you have made your first deposit, Bwin will match that first deposit up to the sum of €30 with a bonus that will be credited to your account within 24 hours. Before you can make a withdrawal you need to rollover your deposit sum once, and rollover your bonus amount five times at odds of 1.7 or greater.
Click here to activate and claim the €30 deposit bonus from Bwin
A nice and easy to claim bonus from a great bookmaker. Gamebookers will match your first deposit up to the sum of €20. You have to rollover the bonus amount 6 times before asking for a withdrawal. Very easy and simple.
Click here to claim your €20 bonus from Gamebookers
Similar to Gamebookers, the Party Bets bonus is along the same lines. Both bookmakers are under the same parent company which makes them not only look-alike, but also have the same rules. Deposit €20, get another €20, rollover 6 times or simply place a €120 bet and you can withdraw the bonus.
Click here to claim your €20 bonus from Party Bets
Sportingbet probably has one of the most complicated and hard to claim free bet offers, but nonetheless I am including them in this list. Their £100 free bet is actually four distinct free bets. You place your first single bet and stake £10 and you get £10 as a free bet. Your second bet has to be a double and stake £30 and receive £30 as a free bet. Then your third and fourth bet have to be a treble and 4-fold, respectively, and stake £30 for each and you receive two further free bets worth £30 each. The single bet, has to have minimum odds of 1.5 (1/2) while the double, treble and 4-fold bets have to have minimum odds of 1.3. The qualifying bets that are placed in order to claim the free bets, can be placed in any order you like, and can be claimed and are treated independently, but they have to be claimed within 30 days of registration. Also know that these are stake not returned free bets, which means you can place bets with the free bets, but you only get to keep the net winnings; and customers depositing via Skrill or Neteller are not eligible for this promotion.
Click here to claim £100 worth of free bets from Sportingbet
Bet Victor (a.k.a. Victor Chandler or VC Bet)
Open an account with Bet Victor, place your first bet, and they will match it up to the sum of £25 with a promo cash free bet. Your first bet has to be placed within 30 days of opening your account, and the first bet has to be make at odds of evens (2.00) or higher. This free bet is a stake not returned free bet, you only get to keep the net winnings of the bets placed with the promo cash free bet. Also, a fair number of countries are excluded from this promotion, so be sure to check the terms and conditions of this offer before creating your account.
Click here to get the £25 free bet from Bet Victor
Unibet has been around to a long time, and is a well respected online bookmaker. A £20 sign-up offer along with access to Unibet TV, a fast and reliable live streaming service. They have a £20 no-risk first bet. You place your first bet, and if you lose that bet, Unibet will refund your stake up to the sum of £20. The refunded stake has a rollover requirement of 6 times at odds of 1.4 and over. This offer is only for UK citizens or people living in the UK.
Click here to claim a £20 bonus from Unibet
Open an account with Boylesports, place a bet, and they will match your first bet with a free bet up to the sum of £20.This is a stake not returned free bet, you only get to keep the winnings on the bets placed with the free bet.
Click here to claim a £20 free bet from Boylesports
There isn’t much to say or add about William Hill, a well know bookmaker worldwide. All new customers receive a £25 or €30 free bet. Place your first bet with William Hill at odds of 1.2 or greater, and William Hill will match the stake of that bet and award you a free bet up to £25/€30. This is stake not returned free bet, and the free bet can only be used as a whole, and not divided for smaller bets. It does make that much of a difference, but I thought I’d mention that as well. The awarded free bet must be used within seven days of being awarded.The terms and conditions of the free bet also state that the offer is only available for UK, Rep. of Ireland, India, Canada, Netherlands and Australia residents. After following the link below, you also need to enter the F25 promotional code during the sign up process in order to make sure you are awarded the free bet.
Click to receive the £25/€30 free bet from William Hill
A £10 absolutely free bet from SkyBet. Create an account and get the free bet.
Click here to claim your free bet from Sky Bet
A few years ago, Betfred was also know as “The Bonus King”. That is not the case anymore, but they do have a £50 free bet offer for new customers. After you place your first bet at Betfred at odds of 2.0 (evens) or greater, Betfred will credit your Free Bet balance with the stake of your first bet, up to the sum of £50. The free bet can be in £ or an equivalent currency. This is also a stake not returned free bet, so you get to keep only the net winnings of the best placed with the free bet cash. Skrill and Neteller depositors are excluded from this offer. The bonus requirements have to be met within 60 days.
I honestly can’t thing of another online bookmaker that has more money-back offers on a weekly basis, than Paddy Power. The Irish bookmaker has made a name for itself with all the money-back specials and offers they have for their existing customers.Similar to other bookmakers, you open an account with Paddy Power, place your first bet, and they will match it, up to the sum of £/€50 with a free bet. Your first bet, needs to have odds of 1.5 (1/2) or greater. Skrill and Neteller depositors are excluded from this promotion. If you are planning to use your Paddy Power account long terms, keep in mind that they are not very friendly towards “winners” and will most likely close or limit your account. Of course that is a case with most bookmakers, but it’s more obvious with Paddy Power, at least in my experience.
Click here to claim a new customer free bet worth £/€50 from Paddy Power
I tried to make the list above as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but keep in mind that bookmakers can change the value of the free bets and bonuses at any time and without any prior notice. But most of the bookmakers listed above have a good to very good reputation, and rarely chance their bonuses and free bets. All the bonuses above have a total value of ~£/€ 500. There are several other bookmakers that do offer free bets and bonuses that can compliment those on this page and raise the total value to over £/€ 1k, but the listed bookmakers are the ones I can recommend even to my closest friends or family because I know they respect their clients and there are rarely any issues with them. Over time, I might add more bookmakers, so my recommendation is to check back each week. When I do add a new bookmaker to the list, I will highlight for one full week, the fact that it is a new listing.
When you start claiming free bets and bonuses I suggest you make a list of all your accounts and claimed free bets, either in an Excel spreadsheet or in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Being organized is a must, not only for claiming these free bets and bonuses, but for sports trading as well.
Also, one more tip would be the use of online wallets like Skrill (better know as Moneybookers) or Neteller to move your money around. But I do have to give out a word of caution, in relation to these online wallets, and that is to never keep large sums of money for more than a couple of days, because a lot of people, myself included, have had their online wallets account closed with significant sums of money never being returned. Also, many bookmakers exclude you from their promotions if you use online wallets for your deposits. Neteller is especially useful since it can offer you a real as well as a virtual Mastercard, which is accepted at most online bookmakers. Moneybookers have this option as well, only is has much larger fees.
That’s about it. As far as I can tell, I covered about everything that needed to be covered in order to be able to build a bankroll for sports trading. If you have any questions or feedback you can either contact me, or preferably leave a comment below.