You may be wondering what Spread Betting is doing in this 10-part series on How NOT to earn money online…

I do not consider myself to be a gambler, and the only reason I got into Spread Betting was through a colleague of mine, who had just discovered it and recommended it.  Spread Betting is a form of sports betting, where you bet on a particular game or match, and place bets on both outcomes.  Of course, some sports have more than just two outcomes, and it can then get much more complicated or just more risky.

However, the premise is quite simple.  Since sports betting has become quite popular online, with some large companies even getting recognition from The Queen, (I am in the UK), the notion of a betting exchange has grown.  Unlike with a traditional ‘bookie’, the exchange offers odds not just on a winning outcome, but also on a losing outcome.  For example, in horse racing, you can not only bet on a particular horse to win the race, you can also bet on that horse to Not win the race.  Sounds like a perfect scenario for this blog about How Not to earn money online, right?

There are now numerous sites that also analyse the odds on these online betting exchanges, as well as all the regular ‘bookies’ and the multitude of other betting websites, and compares them.  This then enables you to place a ‘win’ bet on one site, with a corresponding ‘lose’ bet on another site, and in either outcome (with the odds matched by the algorithm), you will either make a decent profit, or a very small profit, but not a loss.  If you are thinking this sounds a lot like Hedge Trading in the Stock Market, it is similar.  You have a position on both sides of the situation.

For some people, this may sound too good to be true, but it is actually real.  I was successfully doing it for about 6 months, more than doubled my money, and it worked like a dream.  However, things then started going downhill.  Unfortunately, the ‘bookies’, betting sites and exchanges all hate Spread Betting.  They seem to take offence at other people profiting from gambling, even though they are not losing money from people who do Spread Betting.  All gambling sites will have a clause which enables them to ban (permanently) anyone they wish, and of course, after a while they all noticed that the odds I was purchasing were very good and they suspected that I was indeed Spread Betting.  My accounts were all denied, and so ends my brief foray into the betting industry.

What a shame!  I can’t even play Slots, Blackjack or Roulette – not unless I open a new account with a company that does not offer sports betting.  Fortunately, I have never seen the allure of gambling, especially online gambling (which is rigged even more in-favour of The House than usual), so I feel no loss.  Some companies, such as Netflix, adapt to new technology (unlike their rival Blockbuster, which went bust).  Other companies, like the vast majority of the Music Industry and Hollywood, are doing quite badly.  I would put the sports betting industry in the latter camp – they seem to be clinging on to the old system and not taking advantage of the possibilities and opportunities that real-time data analysis can offer.  Instead, it is like an old boys club, where outsiders are not welcome and new ideas are certainly not well received.

I would certainly not recommend Sports Betting to anyone who already gambles – you may develop a very unhealthy (and expensive) habit.  However, if you do not have a ‘gambling’ oriented personality, and just follow the rules, it does work, until the companies catch on to what you are doing.  And then, suddenly, it stops working altogether!

If you have any thoughts or experiences regarding Spread Betting, gambling sites, or the meaning of life, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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