Frequently Asked Questions
Sports Arbitrage is a trading strategy whereby a trader places a bet on all possible outcomes of a sporting event and a profit is made whatever the result.
Arbitrage opportunities are a natural side effect of all markets (including the Financial Markets) in which many agents quote competing prices (or in the case of sports betting ‘odds’).
Our short video will help explain this in more detail
Yes, sports arbitrage is legal in any country in which online betting is legal.
We absolutely do trade on our own information in addition to selling it!
Bear in mind that returns from sports arbitrage trading cannot be compounded and scaled in the same way as in the financial markets.
However significant returns can be made for a minimal investment in capital and time effort, making sports arbitrage a very attractive prospect.
You will need the following:
- Access to a desktop or laptop running Windows or Mac OSX
The rational.bet software locates the arbitrage opportunities and performs the calculations but you will need to place the bets on the bookmaker’s or exchange’s website yourself. We recommend that you do this with a device with a reasonable screen size such as a desktop or laptop. You should also ensure that you have a good stable internet connection.
- Online bookmaker accounts
You will need to sign up to several different bookmakers and exchanges online. Note that some bookmakers don’t allow users from specific countries due to local licensing laws.
- Which bookmakers does rational bet support?
By default, the rational.bet software tries to show you only the bookmakers available in your country of residence. However, the bookmaker filter can be configured by the user. Clearly there is no point in displaying arbitrages that you can’t access. We have a page listing a full list of bookmakers across all countries supported by the rational.bet software.
- Payment Mechanisms
You will need a means of placing funds into your bookmakers accounts to bet, and obviously to withdraw your winnings against. Most bookmakers support one or more of the following payment mechanisms:
- Debit Cards
- Credit Cards
- Working Capital (Bankroll)
You need to spread some working capital across your bookmaker accounts. We highly recommend you start out with very small amounts while you are learning and gradually build from there. Remember, many bookmakers have sign-on deals giving you free money to bet with. It makes sense to use this initial capital to practice with at no cost to yourself.
Your profits and stakes across multiple bookmakers will need to be managed carefully. The ‘Trading’ section of the user guide can give you many hints on how to do this successfully.
- Sports arbitrage software
Last, but not least, once you have registered, you can download the rational.bet software. We describe the software in detail in the ‘Trading’ section of the user guide.
This depends on:
- The size of your notional
- The profit return on the arbitrage
- The frequency of your trading
Consider a very conservative example of placing only 3 trades per week on the same notional of £1000 with an average profit return of 1.5%:
|Total Profit Per Year||= (3 trades per week) * (52 weeks per year) * (£1000 notional) * (1.5% average return)|
That's more than a 200% return on investment for a very small investment in time and effort (perhaps 30 minutes per week).
It is even possible to earn a living from trading sports arbitrage but bear in mind that the amount of effort required does not scale linearly from the example above.
At rational.bet we firmly believe this is a combination of:
- People simply don’t know about it.
- People are generally cynical about bookmakers and the gambling industry.
- A lack of affordable quality software that facilitates sports arbitrage trading.
Our background experience is in building Financial Trading Software for major Financial Institutions. At rational.bet, we are leveraging this expertise to bring a high quality affordable arbitrage trading tool to the retail trader.
An Arbitrage is by definition a risk free profit trade. However this assumes that each leg of the trade was 'executed' successfully.Execution Risk
There are three main forms of 'execution risk' that need to be managed:
- Human error when inputting numbers into the bookmaker trading page.1
- The odds may change on one of the legs before you have finished executing all trade legs.2
- The maximum allowed stake on one of the legs is smaller than what you need to bet in order to satisfy the arbitrage conditions (sometimes you cannot learn the maximum stake allowed until the time of execution)2
This is easily managed away with sensible due diligence.
Risk is managed very effectively using functionality provided by the rational.bet trading tool (see details in the Trading section of the user guide).
This is by far the most important risk to manage.
Most bookmakers are not friendly to arbitrageurs (or to ‘anyone who wins too often’ for that matter, whether using arbitrage or not). In response, bookmakers can limit your allowed future stake sizes to levels which effectively make your winnings too small to be worth your time and effort. However, being ‘limited’ by a bookmaker does NOT mean that they close your account or take your money.
Therefore, careful account management is a very important aspect of sports arbitrage trading. Being ‘limited’ by some bookmakers is difficult to completely avoid, but this risk can be mitigated by carefully managing your wins across many reputable bookmakers.
A good article with many tips for account management can be found in this online article.
At rational.bet we only display arbitrage opportunities from reputable bookmakers.
But not all bookmakers are created equal. We strongly recommend that every user creates an account with Pinnacle Sports. Pinnacle Sports are not only one of the world leading bookmakers, they are also ‘arbitrage friendly’.
Signing up with Pinnacle Sports means you’ll never get limited. We are an affiliate partner of Pinnacle Sports and we can offer each rational.bet user a discount (subject to terms). This offer is only valid if you sign up to Pinnacle Sports through the link on our rational.bet website home page and you have subscribed to the rational.bet monthly plan.
A Betting Exchange is a peer-to-peer (P2P) betting system. You are not betting against the exchange, you are betting against another user of the exchange. The exchange doesn’t care if you win or lose because it makes money purely by charging a small percentage commission. This means that there is no incentive for the exchange to limit any user and so exchanges tend to be ‘arbitrage friendly’.
The following Betting exchanges are supported by rational.bet:
A good introduction to betting exchanges is described in this
rational.bet significantly reduces the time and effort necessary to place an arbitrage trade.
You should expect to spend around 2-3 days learning to use the software, reading the manual and opening accounts with several bookmakers.
After this short learning curve, it should not take longer than 5-10 minutes to select, review and execute each trade.
We recommend that you only trade in the currency of your country of residence. This should also be the same single currency used in your bookmaker accounts. The idea behind sports arbitrage trading is to make ‘guaranteed locked in profits’, but you will not have this guarantee if your trades are exposed to fluctuating foreign exchange rates.
You will only be able to register with bookmakers that accept users from your country of residence. The rational.bet software will attempt to automatically show arbitrage opportunities for the bookmakers that are available in your country of residence. However, you can override your selection of bookmakers at any time in our trading tool.
rational.bet provides arbitrage information for:
Other sports in the pipeline:
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
- American Football
No, the screen resolution is a bit small on phones and tablets with the current design. We will review this as a future offering if there is sufficient demand.
rational.bet software is optimised for desktop and laptop computers since you really need significant screen real estate to execute trades across multiple bookmakers simultaneously.
- Sports traders
- Financial day traders looking to take advantage of the sports asset class
- Students looking for an extra income
- Anyone with a trading mind set looking to make some extra income
If you have selected a recurring subscription, you can cancel the recurring transaction up to 7 days before the end of the subscription.
Simply log into your account online and click on the cancellation link.
If you are not on a recurring subscription or have cancelled, you will still be able to use the client software till the end of the current subscription period.
At rational.bet we have tested the client on the following systems:
- Windows 10
- Windows 8
- Windows 7
- Mac OS X:
- OS X 10.13 - High Sierra
- OS X 10.12 - Sierra
- OS X 10.11 - El Capitan
- OS X 10.10 - Yosemite