How To Make Money From Gambling, What is Really Possible?
There are so many ways of making money online that it is very difficult to really know where to start. In the case of this particular article, I intend to look at gambling as a whole. This is a rather intensive topic to tackle if I’m honest. There are so many variations of betting and gambling that it is difficult to know where to start.
Given that gambling is often mentioned as a numbers game, perhaps the best place to start is with the numbers. It is estimated that by 2018 the online gambling market will be worth over $56 billion dollars. An increase of almost 25% on the current figures of $45 billion. No matter who you are, that is a very large pie and there is plenty to go around. This is something that internet marketers have picked up on and a search for even something like Tipster will generate over 10,000,000 results.
All of this is interesting as it shows just how much gambling has changed since those early days of legalisation of bookmakers in the UK or even earlier, the development of Las Vegas in the US. Gambling is something that is at your fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week and there is an increasing number of “professional gamblers” here in the UK (in part down to the abolition of gambling tax in 2001). Furthermore, gambling is much less stigmatised than it once was with more than half of Britons spending £50 per month on gambling.
Obviously gambling is just that and there are as many people will lose as win.
- 1 What types of gambling are there?
- 2 Sportsbook Betting
- 3 Make Money From Casinos
- 4 Make Money From Poker
- 5 Lotteries
- 6 Scratch Cards
- 7 Make Money From Binary Options
- 8 Racing Tipsters
- 9 Betting Systems
- 10 Betfair Trading
- 11 Matched Betting
- 12 Arbitrage Betting
- 13 What Should I do to Make Money Through Gambling?
- 14 What is Value?
- 15 Conclusion on Making Money From Gambling
What types of gambling are there?
Gambling itself is a hugely broad term. The Oxford English Dictionary describes gambling as “The action, practice, or pastime of playing games for stakes, as cards, dice, etc., or betting money on the outcome of particular events”, however it also goes on to define gambling as being “more generally: the taking of risks in the hope of gaining some advantage, benefit, or success”.
This really opens up the doors in terms of what constitutes gambling and how you can make money on it, but in the main, there are a few key disciplines that I will look at below. These include things like sports betting, online casinos and even some more obscure methods of betting. For the purposes of this article I will mostly be looking at online gambling as well as making money online is what interests me (also, I find most bookmakers depressing places that seem to bring out the desperation in people).
Here in Britain, “sportsbook” betting is the daddy of all gambling. This all harks back to the days when horse racing was really the Sport of Kings, and more specifically, the rise of the horse racing track. Here bookmakers started to ply their trade and ultimately became what we Brits associated with gambling. Nowadays, you can bet on so much more than horse racing and a quick look at one of the larger online casinos shows 44 different sports that you can bet on. These range from handball and Gaelic Sports to horse racing and football.
Betting is often preferred as a method of making money online as you are essentially competing against a person when you place a bet with a bookmaker. Somewhere, there is an odds compiler who has decided what the outcome of a game is likely to be and the odds that are offered reflect this. For example, at the time of writing this, Manchester City are 1/14 to qualify for the Champions League ahead of Steaua Bucharest (a frankly very safe bet).
There are some people whoever who know a sport well enough to bet against the grain (it is very unlikely that this would be a good example of that though). A reasonable example of this might be where a horse has consistently placed but never won, and in a particular race there is a horse that has won every race that year. But let’s say for example, that the placed horse has been dropping half a second each race whilst the favourite has been gaining half a second and their times are now similar. Odds compilers may miss this whilst a professional bettor looks out for exactly this kind of opportunity.
The obvious place for betting is of course with bookmakers, of which there are many online. These range from high street names to specialist online bookies. As well as this, there is also the option to utilise increasingly popular betting exchanges. These allow punters to bet against other bettors as well as “lay” bets which allows you to bet against outcomes (I have written extensively about this subject before now).
When you are betting, the key to making it profitable is to know your sport. The more you know about a sport, the higher your chances of betting successfully. The more you know the easier it is to spot when an odds compiler has possibly made a mistake. This is something that plays nearly into one of the most important aspects of making money through betting, value. Value is where an outcome has been overlooked and is priced better than you think it should be.
There are very strong pros and cons to betting as a form of income. If you know what you are looking for, it is definitely possible to gain something of an edge. Unfortunately, when it comes to betting you are also leaving a large degree of your income in the hands of others. This aspect of luck is something that realistically applies to all betting however it is arguably more obvious with some examples than others.
Make Money From Casinos
Online casinos are a relatively modern phenomenon here in the UK and it is important to understand their popularity and how they fit in with profitable gambling. There are 3 main ways of betting in an online casino and these will be forced upon you at every turn. Casinos are unabashedly aggressive in how they promote their games and this is mostly down to the fact that online casinos have fixed odds.
The first are slot machines. There isn’t a lot to know about slot machines. You can’t influence results and there is a set payout probability (usually between 70% and 80%). Slot machines are entirely fixed in terms of outcomes and this makes them a very bad option for anybody who is looking to bet professionally.
The next option is blackjack. Blackjack is perhaps erroneously often thought of as a casino game in which you can gain an edge. This is down to the notion of counting cards, something which is possible when playing with a real deck. In an online casino however, you are back to fixed odds which mean that the deck is never “loaded” as each draw is entirely random.
Finally, you have roulette. Roulette is perhaps most well known through fixed odd betting machines in bookmakers (a massively controversial and ongoing topic) however the software that they use is remarkably similar to playing roulette in an online casino. Roulette is another casino game like Blackjack that people perhaps feel they can gain an edge on. This is down to things like wheel bias and spreading your chips, however the fact remains that the house always has an edge.
Gambling through casinos is fun. It is a quick and easy fix and I can think of no other form of gambling (with the exception of lotteries) that offer so much potential in terms of how much you can win from such small bets. That having been said, there are some online casinos that are better than others. They offer better pay out rates with some of them going as high as 98%. It is because of this that it is always worth looking around if you are going to engage in casino based betting. This does mean though, that no matter what the pay out percentage is, you are still hypothetically giving away £2 in £100.
If you do want to make casino betting profitable then you have to follow two of the oldest rules in betting. The first is that you should be prepared to lose. The second is that you should quit whilst you’re ahead. Betting for long enough through an online casino will eventually eat your bank balance and unlike betting, there is nothing that you can do to influence the numbers.
Make Money From Poker
Poker is one of the few methods of gambling that is almost entirely mathematically sound. This is because there isn’t really a house “edge” as such. This means that when you play, you are literally only playing against your opponents and a skilled player can very quickly work out their games. The reason that this is able to happen is because a lot of online poker companies make money by taking a cut of the pot rather than charging users directly. This is often just a few dollars at a time which means that most users don’t miss it. They may also look to charge for tournaments where there is an overall prize as well.
The fact that people can make a lot of money through poker is easy to see. A simple look at the top earning poker players shows that some have made tens of millions of dollars as a prize for just a single competition. These aren’t the only people making money from poker however. There has been a strong interest in this method since online poker launched which is down to the fact that you may not become an overnight millionaire, but there is still a fair amount to be taken away from the game.
There are a number of different strategies for playing poker and it is one of the only methods of making money online where I would avoid paying for anything. This is because there are literally hundreds of thousands of free guides online. The thing about poker however is once you have learned to calculate your odds, that is the majority of the work done. How long this takes will ultimately depend on things like your aptitude for numbers, however I believe that online poker is one of the few methods of making money through gambling that can be seen as a life skill.
Lotteries are arguably the most socially accepted method of betting in the UK. Unfortunately, they are also the least likely to come in. Lotteries are able to entice people in with the knowledge that if you win, you win very big. The problem is that the odds definitely reflect this. At the time of writing the odds of winning the lotto in the UK are around 14,000,000/1.
There are plenty of people who will tell you that there is a way to improve these odds. These range from things like identifying “patterns” such as the fact that there has never been a sequential win on the lottery, or that certain balls are more likely to be drawn as they have been drawn before now. The fact is that lotteries are created to be as random as possible and this only highlights how strong the gamblers fallacy can be.
Personally, I see lotteries as being something that you have to be “in it to win it”. Entry is a few quid a week and the prizes are potentially genuinely life changing. That having been said, it is something that should be approached as a “what if I win” rather than a “when I win”.
At first I wasn’t going to write about scratch cards. They’re something that somebody might buy to round up their shopping to an even number or on an impulse if feeling lucky. Scratch cards certainly aren’t something that would likely appeal to any form of “serious” bettor. I have however unfortunately seen an increasing number of scams online that involve scratch cards and so I think that it is important to address this issue.
In and of itself, a scratch card isn’t a bad gamble as such. They have fixed odds usually ranging from a one in four to a one in three chance of winning. The big prizes are life changing and there is a reasonable scope for winning a bit of beer money.
The problems with scratch cards come from the various “business” opportunities that can arise.
Many of you reading this will be familiar with a pyramid scheme. This is where people at the bottom of the pyramid are encouraged to sign other people up for a service, whilst those above take a little bit of money from each layer below. This is an environment that is rife for exploitation. When applied to scratch cards, a person has to buy a certain number (usually 5 or 10) which are then distributed up the pyramid, as are any winnings.
An easy demonstration of this could work thusly. You are told you must buy 10 scratch cards a month in order to join a “syndicate”. You use 4 for yourself and then send the others up the pipeline with 3 going to the person above you, 2 to the person above them and finally 1 goes to the person above them.
This is sold as you only needing to recruit 3 people in order to be getting free scratch cards and free chances of winning. Not every scratch card service will ask you to share your winnings however many do and when this does happen, it will be in a similar fashion to what I have described above.
Make Money From Binary Options
Binary options are something that I have looked at before in great detail and to call them a mixed bag is a huge understatement. If you want to read more extensively on this subject, you can see my article on binary options here however I will also summarise this for you.
When you talk about binary options, it is almost impossible to not talk about binary brokers. These are the various companies that allow you to trade binary options through their proprietary platforms. Consider them as the bookmakers of the binary options world and you aren’t a million miles off.
Treat Binary options with care, as there are many Binary trading scams out there, as I discuss on another review.
Binary options are often sold to users as a form of trading rather than as gambling however this isn’t true at all. For example, binary options brokers aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority who cover anybody offering a financial service. Instead, they are covered by the Gambling Commission.
As a concept, binary options are not in and of themselves problematic. In fact, the best way to sum up binary options is that you are betting on whether the value of stock or commoddities will rise or fall over a very short space of time. It is something of a crap shoot however and the time scales that are involved remove any ability to make an informed bet, however they are (at least in theory) fair.
Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that binary brokers manipulate the numbers if they stand to lose a lot of money.
In looking at tipsters we really star to get our teeth into the meat of making money through gambling. There are literally tens of thousands of tipster services currently operating online (a Google Search for the term reveals 10,500,000 results). These vary in so many ways that it is rather difficult to compare and contrast from one to another. Instead, I will look at the concept of tipsters as a whole and what you should and shouldn’t look out for.
For those who don’t know a tipster is somebody who provides you with betting advice, usually in the form of a specific outcome, for example a horse to win a race or a team to win a football game. The quantity and quality of selections varies hugely from one service to the next which can make knowing where to start looking a difficult thing to do.
Now, what you have to look out for is tipsters manipulating their results.
When considering a tipster, there are a few things that I feel it is necessary to really consider. The first is the cost. To start you should work out how much you can afford to bet per point (how much you can stake per bet) and see how many points of profit you need to cover your subscription cost. It isn’t worth paying £50 for a service that will net you 10 points of profit at £5 per point. Once you have established this, it is important to look at the ROI or the return on interest. This tells you how profitable a service will be compared to your investment.
Moving away from the financial side of things a little, there are two other things that I consider to be important when looking at a tipster service which are the strike rate and the consistency. It is important to highlight that there are some similarities between these two things however a high strike rate doesn’t represent good consistency and vice versa. A high strike rate is generally a good thing however you have look to see how often a service loses as well. What kind of losing streaks will there be? This is important as your betting bank will have to be able to absorb these losses when you aren’t winning.
The final (and arguably most important) thing that any reputable tipster will provide you with is proofing. This should be a list of all the bets that they have placed over a period of time and whilst dry, it is always worth pouring over. Proofing is important because it helps to gauge whether a service is genuine or not. What you want to be looking out for here is to check that winners are real (I usually randomly spot check 10 or so supposed winners). That there aren’t any obvious patterns that might stem from something called back testing (this is where you apply a system to historic results to see if it would have won).
A betting system is – by definition – just that. It is a system that is designed to identify bets that have an increased chance of winning. The types of systems out there are incredibly numerous and as such, it simply isn’t possible to examine them all here. A lot of bettors who want to develop a system will usually start by identifying a very specific niche. This may be a certain type of horse race, for example flat races under 1 mile or races with 8 horses under a certain weight.
The reason that bettors will set out to develop a system for such a small niche is that whilst it is almost impossible to garner a better understanding than the bookies across everything, it is possible to know more than them on one topic. It is simply a case of you spending an hour on something that a bookmaker may spend just 15 minutes on.
As well as betting systems that work based around understanding, there are some that are much more numbers based. Again, these are hugely varied but will typically rely on betting based around a statistical likelihood rather than examining particular variables. To pull an example out of thin air (and one I would add that is likely to fail so shouldn’t be used), one may decide to lay the horse with the highest odds in a race, so long as the odds are below 7.0 and where there are more than 6 horses running. Statistically, the odds of this horse coming in are very low percentage and so it could be viewed as a “safe bet”.
I did a detailed review on Horse Racing Systems, and the benefits here.
When it comes to betting systems, as well as working on your own and developing your understanding of betting, there are plenty of betting systems for sale online. These vary in terms of the sports and events that you will be betting on as well as the bets that you will need to place. In my experience, however, there are two main types of betting systems that are offered for sale.
The first is what I would consider to be a high volume system. These are based around backing at low odds and winning a lot of the bets that you place. This kind of system can be used to great effect however they can offer carry significant amounts of risk. For example, if you are only making 0.8 points of profit on a race, a string of losses can very quickly eat away at things. An example could be the one cited before when talking about the statistics of bets.
The other kind of betting system that you often see involves extracting the most possible value. This links in more with the type of betting system that I first mentioned. This kind of betting generally looks at finding an event whereby the bookies have given longer odds to an outcome than is actually realistic. Generally, you will find the best value to be had in horse racing where there are often anomalies that can be exploited.
With a purchased betting system I always recommend exercising caution and there is one very good reason for this. Betting systems can work very well when you understand them fully. Unfortunately, not all betting systems are easy to follow and there is often very little indicator that they will be complicated in the sales material. With this in mind, you should always be on the lookout for a money back guarantee, especially given the fact that some of these “proven” systems can run into the hundreds of pounds.
Trading is a method of betting that exclusively takes place on betting exchanges suchs as Betfair. When you are trading bets, you aren’t necessarily looking to profit from the end result, but instead to make money by cashing out before or during a race. Trading is interesting from a gambling perspective as much of it is entirely numbers based in its approach. This means that it is very easy to take out the “emotion” of gambling.
One of the biggest downsides of trading is that you do have to be say in front of your computer and there aren’t really any shortcuts available either. With a betting system, you can buy something and start tweaking the idea, a tipster takes that process out entirely. Trading however is a skill that you can only develop by continually trading. This means that when you are starting out, it can be expensive and you have to be prepared to supplement this for some time if you want to be able to make consistent money.
All of that having been said, I feel that trading is one of the few methods of betting that is a life long skill. Once you know how to successfully trade, it isn’t unreasonable to expect to pop online, have a look at the markets and start to make some money.
The very best Betfair trading product we have come across, and that I have traded myself is the Betfair Scalper Betfair Course.
Matched betting (sometimes known as bonus bagging) is a method of gambling that has only really made itself known in the last few years, but what an entrance it has made. Matched betting works by betting in such a way that you get bonuses from various bookmakers that allow you free bets. You then use these free bets in conjunction with lay betting in order to make a guaranteed profit. There have been reports of users making some very substantial profits through matched betting with the most recent email from a popular service claiming to have a user who made over £100,000 in 4 years.
Matched betting isn’t flawless however. Bookies have started to become much more aware of the process and I have seen numerous reports of people getting bookmakers accounts closed for doing this. This means that a once risk free method of betting does now come with a degree of risk. It is also worth considering the sustainability of matched betting as a method of making money online. Whilst there are a number of services available that will show you how to get around this, you have to keep the possibility in mind that the bonuses may dry up. If this happens, then so does your income.
The one matched betting service we do advise above all others is Mike Cruickshank’s Profit Maximiser Product.
Arbitrage betting is a bit of a side note in the big book of betting that involves betting in such a way that you are guaranteed to make a profit. Matched betting is to a degree a form of arbitrage betting, but where matched betting involves betting with the bookies money (therefore eliminating risk that way), traditional arbitrage betting involves identifying two sets of odds that allow you to guarantee a profit. There is also an extension of this known as dutching which involves placing multiple bets on a single event. By using the correct stakes, it is possible to guarantee a profit/minimise loss depending on your betting philosophy.
What Should I do to Make Money Through Gambling?
If you want to make money through gambling, there are a few core tenants that you really need to stick to. The first one is perhaps the most obvious and that is you must be prepared and willing to lose money. The thing with making money through gambling is that even the best system, the best services in the world will all have losses and you have to be able to absorb those losses in the long term.
I have looked at numerous services before now that have had month after month of profitable betting only to have several months of losing bets. If you had joined the services at this time, then you would find that even a decent betting bank of 100 points can be lost. Any successful bettor will tell you that you are better off starting out making and losing pennies and upping your stake when you can afford it rather than blowing it all pursuing a big win or chasing losses.
This brings me to the second rule of making money through gambling. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. This is applicable to various aspects of betting but in the main I see two things that most bettors who are starting out do wrong. The first is the concept of superstition or luck. Some for example won’t bet against their football team or will change a bet because the 33/1 outsider is named after their Aunt’s cat so it must be a sign. When you are taking the professional approach to betting, all that matters is your profit and loss sheet at the end of the year.
The second area where you categorically cannot let your emotions run away is when it comes to chasing losses. If you are only betting what you can afford to lose, a loss shouldn’t affect you and as such you shouldn’t be chasing it. Personally, I would avoid any system that talks about loss recovery as I have seen people lose their entire banks through these methods, sometimes in just a few bets.
The third rule of making money through gambling is don’t get your accounts closed. I have actually written extensively on this topic so I won’t go into it in detail here, but essentially you should be aiming to move your money and your bets around as much as possible. Bookies can close down your account for no reason and in some cases, they have seemingly done so. By keeping as many accounts open as possible you can get the best odds and the best offers. My full review on keeping bookie accounts open can be seen here.
If you are looking to use a system or a tipster, try to find something that will suit you. For example, if you work 9-5 and you’re looking to make a second income through betting, a trading based system isn’t going to work for you. Likewise, if you want betting to become a sustainable form of income for you, then you wouldn’t go to a tipster as they do all the work for you. When shopping around for systems, I would strongly recommend contacting the content creators to speak to them about what they offer as well,
Finally, I cannot stress enough that one of the best things that you can do if you want to start making money through gambling is to engage the community. There are literally thousands of forums online and there are much more experienced bettors who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. The fact is that one of the smartest things that you can do with betting is learn from other people’s mistakes.
What is Value?
At first, it wasn’t my intention to talk about value in too much detail as this is something that has been covered more times than I can shake a stick at, but I also think that it is important to dispel some myths about value betting. The core concept of value is being able to get better odds on an event than the likelihood of it occurring. This is something that is usually applicable in horse racing and occasionally football, particularly in the lower and more obscure leagues.
What you must keep in mind with value however is that there is still a low win rate with this approach. What most people won’t tell you about value is that you are backing an “8/1 horse” at 11/1. Whilst it is great to get those extra 3 points out of a win, it is hard to ignore that the odds are still against that horse. You certainly aren’t going to be getting race favourites at silly prices.
Sometimes, value in odds can also be a very small change. For example, you might get a team to win at 2/1 instead of 9/5. This seems like a miniscule difference and honestly, if you are betting £10 then it is. But if you are a professional bettor and are staking hundreds or even thousands of pounds (and people do bet these kinds of numbers every day) it makes a difference. For example, using the numbers above and a £100 bet, you would make £180 profit at 9/5. At 2/1 this would be £200 profit which represents a significant increase.
Value isn’t the be all and end all though. I have looked at value based services before that produce some massive winners and that can make hundreds of points of profit per month. They can also have long sustained losing streaks.
It is my hope that by highlighting the negatives of a value based approach, it encourages people to explore all options. The fact is that value is a term that is particularly well worn in the betting community and a big part of this is content creators. Value is painted as being a win win situation, and if you were looking to place a particular bet anyway, then value is something to look out for. It isn’t however a betting strategy in and of itself in my opinion.
Conclusion on Making Money From Gambling
So there you have it. I have tried to be both informative and opinionated on each of the methods of betting, something that can be quite difficult to do objectively. The fact of the matter is that there is money to be made online through gambling. To suggest otherwise would be folly and there are literally thousands of people who make money this way every day. What is less commonly explored is the risk that comes with gambling.
There is the obvious risk, which is placing a bet. Whether that be on black, a double down on 11 or the 2.45 at Cheltenham. Almost every bet has a chance to lose, and all you can do as a professional is aim to minimise that chance. There is also the risk of your discipline failing. I am a firm believer that you should only gamble with what you can afford to lose. It is hard to ignore the fact that some people are unable to do this and when you start chasing losses, you an lose a lot of money very quickly (if you feel that this does apply to you please visit http://www.gambleaware.co.uk).
The thing about gambling is there is also a lot of unwritten risk and this comes in the form of products that people are selling. I have looked at hundreds of betting related products in my time and there are very few that I would call a worthwhile investment. The old adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is still very much stands up. If you are considering a product, try and find reviews for it, contact the content creator. Do as much research as you possibly can on the service. If you are dealing with a reputable producer of content, there will be plenty of this information about.
When looking at gambling it is very easy to focus on the negatives. But this is a balanced review and whilst I would say that it is foolhardy to overlook them, there are a lot of positives too. Making money through gambling is easier than ever (some may call this a bad thing) and I genuinely believe that now, more than ever, Joe Average has more information available to him in relation to betting than ever before.
It can be difficult filtering through the crap but it is worth it for that rare gem. I have come back to tipster services and seen year on year growth in terms of their profit. I have watched people make some really decent money on the side that has helped them to achieve things that they wouldn’t have ever dreamed possible (all tax free of course).
As difficult a thing as it is to admit, betting can also be fun. No matter how many times you win, no matter how many bets per day you may be placing (either manually or through software), it is hard to ignore the exhilaration that can come with a big win. Sure, you might not make anything for a few days afterwards, but a few hundred in profit in your pocket feels very good.
The thing about gambling however is so long as you remain disciplined, it can be very easy money. It is far from perfect, and you really do have to be willing to commit to gambling as though it were a business if you want to be successful. There is often a disclaimer at the bottom of some of the more questionable products I look at (ironically enough) that says “Even though this industry is one of the few where one can write their own cheque in terms of earnings”, but this is a truth of sorts.
Truthfully, gambling isn’t for everybody. As I have alluded to several times throughout this article you have to be disciplined and you have to be sharp if you want to be able to make money, especially in the long term. If this isn’t you, I would advise looking elsewhere before you begin as betting based on emotion will only lead to ruin. If you do fit the bill however, it is worth starting as soon as you can.
The beauty of gambling, especially when it comes to identifying betting systems, is that you can bet on paper at absolutely no cost. When you have something that works, you can start to bet small and compound your stakes and winnings. This does provide a strong advantage over a lot of other methods of making money online, many of which require you to pay out somewhat substantially if you want to get started.
So is it possible to make money through gambling? Absolutely. Some people are happy to top up their income enough to go out on a weekend, some may want to quit their day job, others want to be multimillionaires. The fact is that with the correct approach, all of these are hypothetically possible, so long as you keep the right attitude and remain are of the risks that are involved.