Last updated in June 2020
Matched betting and gambling are two sides of the same coin. Matched betting is not gambling but the latter can be a consequence of the former. Bookmakers try all the time to entice matched bettors to give in to gambling.
If you find yourself chasing losses, it is important to stay calm. At some point, most matched bettors make this mistake and this is okay, as long as it happens only once. But if you find yourself constantly struggling, you may wish to reconsider whether matched betting is for you.
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Matched betting and gambling
First of all, matched betting is not gambling. It is a tax-free way to make money from home in your own time. If done correctly, matched betting is very low risk and you will make money. So far, I have made over £12,000 from matched betting.
The reason that matched betting is not addictive like gambling is because you will not feel a thrill. You know how much you are making from each bet before the match has even started. Therefore, it is as boring as studying maths (but far less complicated).
Many people make money with matched betting without ever gambling, myself included. However, sometimes things can go wrong.
It can be a gateway
What defines a gambler
While matched betting itself is not gambling, it can lead to gambling. Many matched bettors find themselves chasing losses at some point. Gambling can occur for a number of reasons:
- Not laying a bet because you are convinced the bet will win
- Playing slots even after an offer is finished because you like the slot
- Continuing to play a slot to make up for previous losses (chasing losses)
- Accidental gambling because you do not fully understand an offer
If you do one of the above more than once, you can consider yourself a gambler not a matched bettor.
A particular problem for gamblers is admitting their gambling rather than hiding behind lies. It is important to be honest with yourself and identify risky behaviours before they become a problem.
Bookmakers want you to gamble
Giving in to the temptation does not mean you are weak or a loser. Bookmakers and online casinos know that matched bettors exist and they will lose money to them unless they do something against it. This is why people become restricted.
However, that is not the only method bookmakers and online casinos use. Additionally, they also try to get matched bettors to cross the line and start gambling. They achieve this by purposely designing promotions so that you are encouraged to continue betting with them even after the offer is finished.
Furthermore, many people turn to matched betting because they need money. This is what leaves them vulnerable to gambling as bookmakers take no break at throwing big numbers at them, for example in the form of jackpots.
Some people are more vulnerable to gambling than others. Most people can brush off the bookmakers’ attempts without batting an eye. Others will find themselves in a constant struggle. This does not mean you are a failure, it only means you have other strengths.
Not everyone can be a matched bettor, similar to how not everyone can be a rock star or a genius inventor. We have to accept that we all have different talents.
What to do if you find yourself gambling
If you do find yourself gambling, the first step you can take is to try to limit yourself to gambling when it is safe. Some offers carry no risk of losing money. Therefore, punting will not cost you. Examples of these are Ladbrokes’ free £1 bets that require no trigger bet, or free spins without having to wager anything first.
This is solution is probably not helpful for the majority of people but may be a useful approach for some.
Self-excluding and closing your accounts
Bookmakers have to offer responsible-gambling tools which make it easier for you to stay in control. Many of these are rather half-hearted attempts and not that useful. For example, deposit limits and reality checks can be easily changed in your settings. Thus, even if you set them up, you can easily back-stab yourself.
The best option for you to prevent further gambling is to temporarily suspend your account. You can easily do this from your settings or by contacting live chat. This will give you some time to think about matched betting and gambling.
The next step after a temporary suspension is self-excluding. A self-exclusion will block your account, in some cases for forever, in others for a set period of at least six months.
Many matched bettors who fell victim to gambling are hesitant to self-exclude as it means they cannot make up for their losses through matched betting. However, this is a flawed viewpoint. Rather than looking at forgone profits, you should look at the money you are saving by not gambling again.
There is nothing wrong with seeking support when you need it. In fact, admitting you need help is a brave decision and the first step to recovery. You can contact GamCare in several ways:
- Telephone support
- Live chat
- Group chat
What you can do instead of matched betting
Self-excluding or suspending your accounts my help you with preventing gambling. However, you probably still need to make money. Matched betting is a profitable way to make a tax-free income, but is not the only way to earn a little bit on the side.
If you only just stopped matched betting, a good way to get some money on the table is 20Cogs. You can make £100-£200 by taking out free trials. Please note that 20Cogs will also show you gambling sites but you do not have to sign-up to them.
As for a long-term income, a sustainable alternative to matched betting is blogging. In fact, I chose to focus on blogging over matched betting as it is much more fulfiling.
Matched betting and gambling summary
Matched betting is not gambling as long as it is done correctly. However, matched bettors may become tempted by bookmakers or online casinos and fall into the gambling trap. If this starts to happen more often than once, it may be time to put steps into place to prevent further gambling.
Bookmakers and online casinos are required to have responsible-gambling tools. You can also get help from outside sources, such as GamCare. If you have to stop matched betting due to gambling risk, there are alternative ways to make money, such as blogging.
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