What is matched betting?
Matched betting is a way of profiting from the introductory offers laid on by online betting shops by means of extracting the stake of the 'free bets' they offer without risk. This is not achieved through gambling, but rather by betting both for and against an occurance happening at the same time, in order to guarentee the stake of a bet is won back.
As I have a sneaking suspicion anyone who clicks onto this article on a whim is going to be expecting a scam, I am going to start by explaining that mathed betting is legitimate enough to command its own wikipedia page. Also worth an initial mention is the fact that to my knowledge gambling laws in the USA are very different to gambling laws in the EU and UK. As a UK resident I can only explain how this technique can be used in the UK, but it's still definately worth reading if you are from the states because it is one of the only genuine ways to make a real term profit on the internet I have come across (don't get me started on the ridiculous hours I have wasted on 'online surveys' and 'adsense' for the sake of $10 per month)!
Ok, let's make this as jargon free as possible....
There are two types of places you can use to make bets online in the UK. Book makers (shortened to 'bookies') and betting exchanges. At the bookies, you can place bets on something to happen, lets say for a team to win a game of football. This is called 'backing'. At a betting exchange, you can do something called 'laying a bet'. When you 'lay' a bet, you are betting on any outcome but the one you have laid.
I back team a to win at the bookies. If team a win, I win. If anything else happens (loss or draw) I loose.
I lay team a to win at the betting exchange. If team a win, I loose. If anything else happens (loss or draw) I win.
MATCHED BETTING is a form of bet where you both back and lay the same team to win. This means that when the game is played, no matter what the outcome is, you will win one bet and loose one bet. Either you will win at the bookies and loose at the exchange, or you will loose at the bookies and win at the exchange.
In doing this, a player doesn't guarentee any profit. What they guarentee is that they win their stake back. So, if you bet $5, you will guarentee that you win the $5 back no matter what happens.
Making money from Matched Betting
Ok, as discussed matched betting with your own money is not a profitable exercise, just a risk free way of betting.
Where it becomes profitable is that online book makers have 'introductory free bets' to entice customers. Typically a company will say; "if you make a £25 bet with us, we will give you a free £25 bet".
So, use matched betting on your first £25, and win your money back. Used matched betting on the 'free bet', and you obtain the £25 stake, leaving you an easy profit of £25.
At the time of writing this, when totalling all the introductory offers available in online book makers there is an estimated £1000 on offer (around $1500).
To avoid loosing money in human error, you shouldn't go on to try matched betting until you have learnt the technique comprehensively. This article is a very brief introduction to it; and the expectation is that anyone who wants to now try it out will take sensible measures to further their knowledge beforehand!
Good luck with it if you decide to make some cash from it yourself, and I hope you found learning about the method interesting if you decide it's not something for you.