Arbitrage betting is an almost risk-free way of betting on sports. Arbitrage trading is likewise an almost risk-free way of trading any kind of financial instrument. Noticed the word “almost”? That is because you still stand to lose some money. And that is not the worst thing it can happen in arbitrage.

But let’s just start from the advantages of arbitrage betting.

  • People have made a lot of money in arbitrage. Some still make a lot of money. Thus, I think new arbitrageurs can be profitable even today.
  • By the time arbitrageurs have placed their bets, their profit is guaranteed. No need to wait for the final whistle.
  • There is zero chance that arbitrageurs will lose money from the particular game. That is because they have bet on every possible outcome of the game.
  • Given the infinite number of sports events around the globe, new opportunities for arbitrage betting will constantly arise, especially as more and more people are introduced to betting or gambling in general.

These advantages apply as well to arbitrage trading. Much like arbitrage bettors are looking at sports events, arbitrage traders do the same when trading stocks, forex, bonds, commodities, derivatives and other financial instruments, looking at the markets worldwide.

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Don’t dig into arbitrage betting before reading of the disadvantages

The reason I am talking today about arbitrage, is an email I received from a visitor of my gambling blog. They are considering a career in arbitrage trading in particular.

I myself haven’t spent more than a month taking advantage of fluctuating odds and prices when trying out arbitrage. That was almost 10 years ago! So, yes, I am far from the arbitrage expert you were expecting to be talking here. Yet, my little experience has taught be enough to recommend anyone against arbitrage betting or trading. Here is why:

  • You must be quick to find arbitrage bets.
  • You must be super quick to find arbitrage bets. Yes, so quick that I had to write it twice for emphasis!
  • While there are services, which let you know when there is an arbitrage opportunity, they come at a cost. And I have heard that by the time you get to hear of that, it’s already too late.
  • Many bookmakers do not welcome bettors, who follow an arbitrage betting pattern. As a result, they may limit the stakes they are accepting from you or even forbid you to continue betting with them. Worst case scenario? To confiscate your money. Yes, that’s happened before.
  • An arbitrageur has to open accounts with several betting or trading companies. These accounts also need sufficient funding. This funding will probably max out your credit card(s).
  • Constant money moving. You can’t expect the results to even out among the bookmakers. At one point, an account of yours will be full of money, while the rest will be depleted. Moving money around does not only mean extra commissions with banks, but may also arise suspicions.
  • And last but not least, you can still lose big chunks of money if you don’t pay close attention when placing your arbitrage bets.

Let me tell you my short story about when I finally decided to quit arbitrage betting.

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As I was getting really tired the past few weeks, surfing around looking for sure bets as they are commonly known, I had found a really generous one at a golf event. That was my first (and last) bet on a golf game.

Two golfers were competing at a golf course, when I noticed the divergence of the betting odds between Betfair and another online bookmaker. Usually the ROI of a sure bet is about 1 to 2%, although you may stand lucky occasionally and find a 4 or 5% gold mine!

In my case the guaranteed profit was even better than that!

As quickly as possible, I had my Excel spreadsheet calculate the stakes and I submitted my bets concurrently at the two betting operators. What a relief! My bets were both accepted and I just had to wait for the game’s result before I got paid. Because I was going to get paid for sure, I had just bet on both golfers.

Oh, wait. What’s that at Betfair? A third possible outcome you say?

A DRAW?

And that is when the emotion of relief converts into panic in a matter of nanoseconds!

I spent the following 5 minutes deciding how to react. I could let the specific bets as is and make a profit, unless the games ends a draw. Because that is when I was going to lose a hefty amount of my total bankroll! As I am not used to gamble with my money (I know, it sounds peculiar, but by the time gambling becomes an investing, you stop gambling with your money), I reluctantly gave away some of my future profits to cover the losses of a likely draw.

Of course, my bets now resulted to a loss, no matter the final outcome of the golf game. And no, the game did not end a draw but it still was a great lesson for me. A lesson that made me withdraw all of my funds from all the bookmakers, except Betfair. And two months later I began sports trading, leaving my arbitrage betting days behind.

People usually focus on the bright side of any investment, like in arbitrage betting or trading. Their sole worry is just how much money they can make but they neglect the fact that they can also lose money, even in this advertised as risk-free investment.

If you are going to give arbitrage a shot after all, be very careful and begin betting or trading small. Lessons can come cheap. Keep your capital safe for when you are more experienced.

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  • Great post on Arbitrage as I have been applying it to sports betting recently, and found some serious money in it while feeling like fun and games. Looking around there are some technical posts that explain this better for the experts, but I made my wife read this to get a better understanding as to what I have been blogging about too. Well done Jim.

    • Thank you for your comment Jared!

      I agree that there are far more technical and explanatory posts about arbitrage betting by more experienced bettors than me. I have found out though, that the simpler you try explaining things, the easier for the non-experienced reader to fully grasp the meaning of all these. Then of course it’s up to them to look for the experts and learn more. I just try keeping things simple.

      If my blog gets read by gamblers’… wives, so be it! At least, I would have saved their husbands’ time explaining them what they are up to!

  • Pingback: Do You Have What It Takes to Succeed at Arbitrage Betting on Sports? | My Next Buck()

  • Alex Barros

    Hi Jim

    I have created a website to introduce arbitrage for beginners: http://www.arb2win.com.

    Still need some improvements, but I think there is the basic there.

    Could you check it out?

    thanks

    • Hi Alex,

      Thank you for letting us know of your website. While the basic layout is a warm welcome for new visitors, consider using a responsive one, given the recent announcement by Google that mobile-friendly websites will rank better in search results.

      Other than that, that’s a nice looking website you got there, just go easy with the affiliate links and banners! Oh, and a blog will help its rankings, as long as you create useful content on a regular basis.

  • I’m far from an expert in arbitrage betting. I only dealt with it briefly at the start of my gambling “career”. I cannot really recommend any gambling site for that matter, given that iGaming companies do not welcome arbitrage bettors – except PinnacleSports according to them.

    I’m afraid you’ll also need a bigger bankroll. You are going to be moving large sums of money between accounts, so $200 divided among 5 sites will bring you very small profits. It will take you a very long time until you can make money similar to a part-time job’s salary. Not to mention that gambling companies will have spotted you by then.

    The RebelBetting program is totally unknown to me.

    Thank you for commenting, Chris.

    • dfdg

      just use bet365 and pinacle for the start. 200€ will be ok. YOu will make 50€ per mount

      • don rees

        by recommending the use of bet365 shows you surely know nothing about arbing, of all of the miserable UK & Euro books they would be the worst, they will ban you quicker than any of them and how can you possibly choose which which book to bet with , are you telling me you are manually searching for arbs? crazy , pay for a service if you want to give it a try .
        i am not plugging rebel at all , i have my own program and as i intend to market the service in the next couple of weeks , they will be a competitor , but they have a 7 day subscription , you can try it for 7 days.
        i have made 2704 arbs trades in the past , banned by 11 or 12 of them, all UK or Euro mickey mouse books , and good riddance to them .
        i also own the only genuine saverbets program on the net and i can assure you savers are heaps better than arbs , you make a bet and you make a saverbet , your first bet wins or you get your money back , and much much higher returns than arbs too ,so you can definetly ” round off ” your wagers to acceptable amounts , those similar to a straight out gambler so the bookie cannot ID you and so ban you.
        i will market it in the next couple of weeks also, don

  • Arberhunter

    Great post . There should be more arbitrage blogs

  • Great Post! Great Site!

    • Thanks for the support and for following me!