Normally I would tell you to run fast away from anything that promised you easy, free and quick cash, but matched betting is a legitimate ‘side-hustle’ which is legal and can promise you profit of £1,000 in your first month.

Whilst it is a legit way of making extra money, I don’t actively promote it as such because I genuinely believe that it can lead to addiction and so I’m happy to tell you about it, but if you want to sign up or get stuck in, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

If it’s so amazing, why isn’t everyone doing it?

There are loads of reasons, but I think the most common is that not a lot of people know about it. I first heard about it from another money blogger, and now I’m in that personal finance blogging universe I hear about it more, but I don’t really hear about it outside of that.

Another reason is that people think it is gambling, and no matter what the name implies, it’s actually not. If you follow the instructions and don’t make mistakes, profit is guaranteed, but people don’t understand that and the name puts people off.

They don’t understand it! When I first tried to explain matched betting to someone, they looked at me totally blankly (and not just because they also thought it must be dodgy). The basic principle is that you use the free bets that bookmakers offer and then you are betting against yourself in an exchange to guarantee a win,  (there’s a lot more to it than that) and in the early days, it really can be a complicated thing to get your head around. This is definitely something that puts a lot of people off.

If it’s free money, what are the downsides?

If you follow the instructions and don’t make any silly mistakes, then yes, it really is risk free. In the early days, when people are learning the process and all the terminology, it is super easy to make these mistakes though, and that is when it is possible to lose money.

There is a nasty side of matched betting too though and that is why I don’t promote it any more. When you start with matched betting, you start with basic sports betting. You read the instructions, place the required bets for and against a particular outcome and walk away with the profit. Sports betting doesn’t interest me in the slightest, so I never had an issue. The problem began when I came across casino offers. Before I tried matched betting I had never tried a casino site before.

There are a few risk free slots offers around, where just opening an account on a site would earn you free spins or credit, but a lot of the offers that are promoted in the casino section of matched betting sites or referral links from other bloggers or players are not risk free. They involve you making a deposit to access free spins or free credit. There is usually a minimum amount of wagering before you can withdraw any winnings and this usually ties up your initial deposit too, and so you very rarely will make a profit on these, and are in fact far more likely to lose your initial deposit and end up making a loss. They might be advertised on matched betting sites, or be seen as low risk, but at the end of the day, they are still gambling.

I soon discovered how addictive they could be, and how tempting it is to chase losses. I never spent a lot of money on these sites, but I was spending more than I liked. I also think that it didn’t help seeing how many other people online were making large amounts of money this way. Some people even consider any big wins as part of their matched betting profits, even though they got them from gambling. You convince yourself that it’s just maths and it must be time for a payout, or if you just put a bit more money in then a big win is round the corner. It’s a slippery slope and I was ofrtunate enough to get off when I did.

At the end of the day, I did make over £1,000 in my first month matched betting, but after all the initial sign up offers have been done, it involves more time and effort to continue making profits of that level. I dipped into it for a couple more months, but I didn’t wany my money tied up in the exchanges and I didn’t have teh time to pursue it full time.

There are some great bloggers and writers out there who have had no such struggles and run very successful online groups and forums for it, and I wish them no ill will. In fact, to anyone who promotes it and does it I wish you all the best. If you feel it’s something you wish to investigate then they are great places to support you. I however can’t actively promote it or drop an affiliate link (because anyone who runs a community like that will be an affiliate for the matched betting service at the very least, and possibly for some of the bookmakers too) and making a commission through promoting it because I don’t want to expose anyone else to what I’ve been through!