Is Matched Betting Legal or illegal in India?

Many people wonder if matched betting is legal or not. It’s no mystery that betting is risky. Many punters can lose their money fast if they don’t strategize properly or manage their money well. Among the many strategies in betting, matched betting strategy has become one of the most popular ones. No-risk matched betting helps the bettor to win money without losing anything or risking anything.

In matched betting, you have to make use of a betting exchange. On the one hand, you use the free bets received from an operator and back a selection to win. So, you can place your free bet on your chosen selection. Laying a bet means placing a bet on a selection to not win. Thus, you win your bet either way, since you have made two opposing bets. However, the real question is – Is matched betting legal, Will online cricket betting ever be legal, or is it just a scam?

Matched betting does sound to be too good to be true. Well, matched betting is completely legal. If we talk about matched betting in the Indian context, then we would end up in a grey area. Gambling laws in India prevent gambling dens from operating if they are present in India. However, the gambling laws of India are old and do not account for online gambling. Due to this reason, online gambling in India slips through the legal loopholes. So, matched betting from a legal point of view is also legal.

When it comes to matched betting, you are not cheating either the bookie or the betting exchange. Bookmakers generally lure new customers to their website and services by offering them free bets. So, from the bookmaker’s side, you are allowed to place your free bets on your chosen selection. Similarly, when you are joining a betting exchange, you can also lay the same bet. This is because a betting exchange is separate from the bookmaker.

Betting exchanges, unlike traditional bookmakers, allow laying of bets. As a punter, you can also join a betting exchange. Hence, there is no legal problem if you choose to lay a bet, countering the same bet that you backed. In the betting market, many bookmakers are aware that matched betting takes place. However, they do not change their welcome offers of free bets. This further shows that online match betting is not illegal. 

Is Matched Betting A Scam?

If done correctly, matched betting does not come with any risks. You get to win on a selected bet one way or the other. Due to the risk-free nature of online matched betting, many new punters think that matched betting might be a scam. But this is not true at all. Matched betting is legit and can be put in use by any punter. The risk-free nature of matched betting comes because of the way the strategy is set up. When you use the free bets of a bookmaker to back a selection, you do not have to put any money at stake. So, if you win the bet, you get to win the money without any cost of your own. Even if you did not match your bet and win the free bet, you would win the money anyway since the terms of a free bet dictates that. 

On the other hand, by laying your bet, you are ensuring that if the bookmaker bet loses, you still win against the bet. When you go to the betting exchange, you place your stake in the lay bet. Lay bets mean that even if the match is tied, you get to win. Since all the bases are covered, if you win the lay bet, you make a profit and get your stake back (minus the betting exchange commission charged on the winning). If you lose your lay bet, then you lose your stake in the betting exchange but win more than that against the free bet that you placed in the bookmaker. Thus, in this way, mathematically and strategically, you can counter your own back bet and win money.    

Do bookies like matched betting?

It is clear that matched betting is quite attractive among many punters. However, if you think about it, matched betting seems to be a loss for bookmakers. After all, punters use free bets for matched betting. Free bets do not bring any profit to the bookmaker. Hence, it is quite likely that bookmakers do not like matched betting. However, the answer is not as simple. Bookmakers offer free bets as a way to lure customers. There are many operators in the market, and most operators offer similar odds. How can one operator attract a new customer? This is done through the different bonus offers that every bookmaker gives. Plus, bookmakers know about matched betting, and they do not forbid it. 

However, what the bookies do not like are the bonus abusers. These are people who just use promotions to get more profit. They do not play during normal periods but only play when the bookmaker offers free bets. Thus, the bookmaker does not make any profits out of such bettors. Hence, for bonus abusers, betting operators do not wish to give ample promotions. Plus, they always keep an eye on the punters who are abusing promotions. You should experiment with other strategies like arbitrage strategy too to prevent detection.

Can the bookies identify matched bettors?

Bookies do not like bonus abusers. Hence, they are always on the lookout for people who abuse promotions. If they identify such punters, they can limit their account and even deactivate the account. There are a few ways using which a bookmaker can identify a matched bettor.

These are the ways in which bookies notice matched betting:

1. Betting when free bets are available: One of the best ways to identify bonus abusers is that they only avail to free bets. Many bookmakers offer free bets, not only as welcome bonuses, but also as special promotions. When bookies find out that a punter only becomes active when a free promotion is on and gets free bets, they become suspicious of that person’s motives. You can prevent detection by placing mug bets. Mug bets are bets placed when there are no promotions. You can always lay these bets to minimize losses.

2. Depositing little: A seasoned bettor is quite active in the betting market and hence, would have a lot of deposits in their accounts. These bettors would be quite frequent in depositing more and more money in their accounts as well. However, a person engaged in matched betting generally has a minimal amount of money invested in their betting account.

3. Withdrawing money instantly: If you only get active when a promotion is on, win a bet and withdraw the amount won immediately, then it shows the bookmaker that you are just playing for the bonus. If you withdraw most of your money from the account, then your account can be deactivated. Rather, you should keep a sizable amount in the deposit so that no suspicion falls on you.

4. Bets on niche games: Matched bettors generally go for high odds and hence, target niche games. Bookmakers can spot this peculiarity and flag a bettor’s account. You can prevent this by not going for high odd games all the time.


Matched betting is a great way to earn profits without putting anything at stake. However, you have to be careful when you place such bets. You should double-check the betting strategy so that there are no mistakes. In addition, you can get flagged by the bookmaker if you are constantly engaged in matched betting. However, using matched betting strategically can give you a lot of profits in the long-run.