Arbitrage betting, more commonly referred to simply as ‘arbing’, is something that bettors have taken from the world of retail and stock markets.
When it comes to the stock market, for example, arbing entails buying an asset from one market and then selling it simultaneously in another market for a higher price. People do this when there is a difference between the buying price and the selling price, ensuring that they are guaranteed to make a net positive return. In the world of betting, something similar, though not identical, is done.
In essence, when you get involved in arbing you cover all possible outcomes of an event in such a way that you’re able to guarantee yourself a positive return irrespective of the result. In other words, you bet on one outcome on one site whilst simultaneously betting against that result on a different site at prices that ensure that you’ll get more than you staked back whatever the outcome.
The problem is, bookmakers don’t want to have customers that are using this system as they ultimately lose out, so they look for things like the size of your bets, how often you withdraw money and the status of your account will all act as red flags to bookmakers.
What Is Arbing?
We will start by offering a quick explanation of what arbing is and why so many punters like to engage in it. This gambling strategy is a way of ensuring that you get a net positive return on something that you’re betting on, irrespective of the result.
As you can probably imagine, you’re not able to guarantee this in every single instance of things that you can bet on, simply because of the strength of certain teams, horses, players and so on. Instead, arbitrage bettors calculate the odds in order to ensure that they can find the right combination.
This is known as finding arbitrage opportunities, which occur when bookmakers calculate probabilities in an imprecise manner. This can involve bookies failing to react to what is happening in live events in real time, or setting the odds too high in the first place.
It might be that there is a sufficient difference in odds with the same bookmaker, or that one bookie and another have differences in opinions on the likely outcome of an event and the odds that they offer therefore work out perfectly for the arber, presenting you with the chance to lock in a return.
As you can imagine, some punters adore it when the chance to lock-in an arbitrage return presents itself. Bookmakers have everything set up in their own favour, ensuring that they have an Edge built in to all of the wagers that they offer.
On the rare occasions that the bettor is able to get themselves a chance to make a net return, they’re understandably going to take it. Making money isn’t easy through betting, with the vast majority of punters far more likely to lose money regularly. This is one small example of when that doesn’t happen.
How Bookies Spot Arbers
The reality is that bookmakers hate losing money. Though they accept that people will occasionally win the bets that they place, they are set up to ensure that they always make a profit regardless of the outcome of an event. Though they do this on a regular basis, they aren’t happy when punters find themselves in a position to turn the tables, so they do what they can to stop it from happening.
This means that they are constantly monitoring accounts and looking out for anomalies, knowing full well the sorts of things that those engaging with arbitrage methods will get up to.
One of the most common things that arbing involves is balancing your bets. This might mean that you bet £55.67 on one outcome and £33.42 on another. Most normal bettors wouldn’t bet such odd amounts, so this will immediately be flagged up to a bookie that you’re doing something strange with your bets.
Similarly, regularly betting ante-post is a common method of the arber, so it is something that bookmakers will make note of. Though this isn’t only done by those engaged in the world of arbing, it is something that such people do regularly.
Arbitrage bettors are there for the opportunity to make a net positive return, usually not caring all that much what it is that they’re betting on and instead simply following the money. As a result, betting accounts that have wagers placed on countless different odd sports will be something that a betting company will be wary of.
Though you’ll lose and win on an equal basis most of the time, they will still know that you’re taking money off them more often than not, especially if you’re arbing with the same bookmaker. Varying your bets isn’t always a good thing for that reason.
What They’ll Do If They Think You’re Arbing
If a bookmaker thinks that you’re engaging in arbitrage betting then there are certain things that they will look to do as a result.
The first move that they’ll make is that they will likely cancel the bet, but they will usually need to be pretty certain that a customer is up to no good in order to do that.
Instead, they’ll probably move to put limits on your account, stopping you from betting more than a certain amount of money higher than just a couple of quid. They will often do this as a first port of call because their terms and conditions allow them to.
Indeed, they are entitled to close down your account entirely if they want to, so that is also an option that they take in cases when they feel as though the bettor is arbing on a regular basis. Most bookmakers accept that customers will engage in arbing every now and then, but if it is all you seem to do and you are constantly taking money from them, bookies will move to shut down your account and worry no more about it.
The nature of arbing means that you can’t do a lot to dissuade them from the fact that you’re engaging in the practice, but losing occasionally is likely to help.