How Arbitrage Betting Works and Is It Illegal?

how arbitrage betting works

Considered to be among the most controversial topics in the sports betting world, “Arbitrage Betting” is a strategy that involves placing a wager on the same market, offered by different bookies. Due to the fact that sportsbook creates their own odds, it isn’t uncommon to see a small difference between them – which is where “arbing” comes in place. Here, we will explain how it works, what bookies think about it, and are you allowed to use it at all.

The Process – How to Place the Bets

For example, let’s say that “bookie A” offers a market that has odds 1.30 “to win”, and 3.93 “to lose”. “Bookie B” on the other hand offers the same market with odds 1.42 and 2.90. The key factor is to take the best odds from both markets and calculate what kind of profit they would bring, depending on the bet amount. In this case, the ideal odds for Arbitrage betting would be 1.42 and 3.93. You should be careful how you are betting because you could have problems...

To calculate if there is a chance for arbing, the highest odds are processed through a simple formula: (1/1.42 + 1/3.93) x 100%. By dividing the odd numbers by one, punters would end up with values of approximately 0.70 and 0.25 – combine them, and you will get 0.95, which multiplied by 100%, will become 95%. If a punter gets a value beneath 100%, the difference in the value is what their expected profit would net, which in this case is 5%.

How would you distribute a $10 betting budget among the two bets in order to get that 5% profit? Naturally, the easiest way is to input your values in an arbitrage calculator, which will show you how to spread your money among the odds. Most arbing calculators automatically implement the formula listed above, so punters don’t waste their time with manual calculation.

Is Arbitrage Betting Illegal?

Arbing is merely the act of weighing your opportunities, and see what would be the best course of action for you – it involves no fraudulent activity, and sportsbooks that deny arbing within their terms and conditions, are solidifying their reputation as being “unreliable”. It is an all-known fact that sports betting companies have little patience for punters who not only do arb betting but also have accounts in other sportsbooks. There is no way for a bookie to prove that a customer is arbing, as it is a “strategy of choice”.

arbitrage betting

Arbing Opportunities Are Well Hidden

Just because you’ve noticed an odds difference in the same market offered by two unrelated bookies, doesn’t mean that there is an opportunity for arbitrage betting. In fact, it should be said that the difference between specific odds must be quite significant if a punter is to expect any chance of arbing. This is why the use of arb calculators is highly recommended when it comes to evaluating your chances for potential profit.

Know the Costs Before Trying Arbitrage Betting

If you’ve heard or seen terms such as “miracle bets” or “sure bets”, those were referring to arbing opportunities. No matter where you look at it from, arbing seems to be the perfect way to make “easy money”; however, if there weren’t more to it, then everybody would be doing it. The first and foremost factor in arbing is that punters will need to sift through hundreds of different markets and sports in order to find the opportunities that allow arbing.

Getting lost in all of the numbers is just one of the pitfalls of this betting strategy. Every online sportsbook out there reserves their right to change or completely remove any market at their own discretion, so if you’ve already made your arb bet and one of the bookies decides that they won’t see much profit from it, they can remove it – which will put the bettor at a loss. Arbing is hardly done “for fun”, meaning that people who get into it are looking to make a hard profit. This means investing a solid base capital, that will net better gains from the arb percentage. If you’re looking forward to doing arbing, it can take as long as a full-time job – so make sure to prepare accordingly!