Many of us like to have a flutter on the latest sporting fixtures from time to time, but most of us also understand that betting is gambling and that it isn't a sustainable way to make money - indeed, it's much more likely that you will lose a lot of cash over time.
There is, however, an exception to this rule - matched betting.
You may have heard or read about matched betting before, perhaps in one of the various articles on the subject in the mainstream media, such as this article in The Guardian, "Free bets mean you can clean up as bookies meet their match".
The general impression that you may have gained from such articles is of a form of betting that is risk-free and capable of generating a lot of money with relatively little effort on your part - but what exactly is matched betting, and how could it truly benefit you?
A brief explanation of the matched betting process
Matched betting can be difficult to explain to those who don't normally gamble, but in a nutshell, this form of betting - also sometimes referred to as 'double betting' or 'lay bet matching' - involves using the free bet offers that are widely advertised by online bookmakers to bet both for and against a particular event.
Betting against an event is known as 'laying', and can be done at an online betting exchange like Betfair.com. The idea is that with the two opposing bets basically cancelling each other out - allowing for slight variations in odds and commissions - you can effectively eliminate the risk of losing any money.
Such an exercise by itself may seem pointless, but the profitable stage of the matched betting process involves 'matching' a bet once again, but on this occasion, using the free bet instead of your own money. This enables you to 'win' cash irrespective of the outcome.
This process is completely legal, with William Hill having previously suggested that it does not have a problem with this use of its free bet offers. Furthermore, when matched betting is used across a wide range of bookmakers offering free bets, you can generate an impressive amount of money quite quickly - between £1,000 and £2,000 a month is by no means unheard-of.
So, is there no risk at all?
In theory, matched betting is risk-free due to the process being based on a mathematical calculation rather than pure chance. However, you may still end up losing money if you rush into trying matched betting without a proper understanding of how it works.
Of course, most of us don't have the time to absorb the many more intricate guides to the process, such as this insightful introduction to matched betting at The Advantage Gambler, but that doesn't mean that you can't take advantage of its potential as a layperson.
One such site that has made matched betting so much easier to get into for the average person is Profit Accumulator, which is a great proponent of matched betting as a way to make money from home. The site is quick to sign up to on a free trial basis, offers various good-value monthly plans and has an easy to use interface, while also providing a high level of support. I would therefore recommend it as a first port of call if you wish to learn more about the full potential of matched bets for making you richer.
Have you tired matched betting?
* This is a guest post