This is a complicated question. The answer is both yes and no.
In order to fully comprehend the answer, you must first understand what Matched Betting actually involves. Matched Betting is the process of using free bet offers offered by bookmaker businesses and keeping the money.
For example, there are a variety of gambling websites that offer “free money” to new members. The rules are simple: you enroll an account on their website and they will automatically deposit a specified amount of money into your account to place your initial bets with. Once you’ve placed those bets you get to keep it.
If you want to learn more about it, check out our detailed guide to matched betting for beginners.
While the process of matched betting has been wildly popular in the United Kingdom for many years, it has begun to catch on in other countries around the world, including the United States. Let’s say you have recently enrolled on a gambling website where you were given $100 just for signing up. That money is earmarked on the site as promotional dollars. This means you cannot just withdraw your funds right away. You have to use that money to place a bet, then- if you win- you can withdraw your winnings.
Matched betting comes into play when you go to a different gambling website that is offering a similar promotional offer. You enroll and you get your $100 promotional dollars from that site, too. Now, you go on both websites and find a game or even where the odds of winning or losing are 50%. Then you place your bets on each website against the other. For example, there is a boxing match. You bet $100 that Opponent A will win from the first website and $100 that Opponent B will win from the second. Obviously, one of your bets will win.
The next day, you log onto your sites and find out that Opponent A won. After paying bookie fees, your total winnings are $175. You can now cash out that $175. You’ve made that money without risking any of your own and in only a matter of however many minutes it took to create the accounts and place the bets.
So, yes. There is gambling involved in matched betting.
Thankfully, though, the money used does not come from your hard earned bank account. The money, instead, comes “free” from the websites you have joined. And you are guaranteed to win on at least one of your bets. It’s risk-free gambling.
There is a precaution, however, that matched betting is not a good practice to get into if you have struggled with gambling addiction in the past or are prone to develop an addiction to the thrill of gambling. In placing bets, individuals who have struggled with gambling addictions may find that they are more apt to stray from the risk-free process of placing guaranteed bets into the process of taking on higher risks.
They may also feel tempted to gamble with some of their own “real” money to reap higher rewards. These, of course, are risky behaviours that should be avoided for the purpose of keeping matched betting a risk-free venture.