I got in contact with May from Spymare to do a podcast episode with me late last year but unfortunately we couldn’t find a good time to hook up and record a show.
Kindly, however, May agreed to do a written interview with us which takes a look at arbitrage betting – in the interview we cover everything from how it works, what the potential is, if you could do it as a full time job and how to stop your betting accounts getting closed if you start arbing.
1) Why don’t you kick things off by giving us a quick explanation of what arb betting is and how it works?
Well David there are lots of great guides on the net that would probably give a more accurate definition that what I am about to say, but for me its about getting better prices from the bookies that are available on the exchanges, and capitalising on the difference in between.
Essentially its about being able to bet on all outcomes of an event with the odds mathematically in your favour therefore ensuring you cant lose, no matter the outcome! Arbitrage is often referred to as sure betting.With Spymare the system is a back to lay system , meaning we are taking the back prices available from the bookies and laying the same horse on Betfair ( or any other exchange ) for a guaranteed win.
For me its the only mathematical certainty in betting!
2) How did you get into arbing in the first place and how long have you been doing it now?
I’ve been arbing for at least 8 years now, not sure exactly.
I always had an interest in horse racing and would do the traditional punting stuff, studying form, looking at trainers performances, stats etc. and realised quickly that it was a lot of effort to very variable rewards. Then I stumbled across sports arbitrage and it captured my imagination immediately.
A system of betting that ensures you cannot lose sounded almost too good to be true. I’ve been hooked ever since!
3) Somewhere along the lines then you must have set up the Spy Mare service – when was that and why did you decide to do it?
Spymare came about because I was looking for a specific horse racing solution that would help me find any available arbs quickly rather than the tedious, time consuming manual way of doing this. I was disappointed that I could not find a suitable solution on the market at that point, so decided to build one myself! All in all it took around 3 years to get Spymare where it is today, with lots of testing and trialling along the way.
4) How much profit is it possible to make with arbitrage betting and could you conceivably do it as a full time income?
That’s always a difficult one to answer because it depends on multiple factors, largely your starting bank you have available to bet with, your skill level and understanding of the concept, your experience and of course the time and effort you are willing to commit to this. In many ways it can be regarded as a true investment with far better returns than taking riskier conventional investments in our uncertain economic climate.
Most arbs found by the service are around 1-2% arbs, which on the face of it doesn’t sound great. Some very juicy arbs are also found in the 8 -10% range, but its how you place the bet that’s key to making decent profits.
Essentially we have 2 calculators that adopt very different approaches. The first calculation ensures an equal profit (smaller profit) no matter the outcome. The next weights the bet in the hope the horse wins the race, with zero loss if it doesn’t. This returns a substantial profit compared to the stake invested. On average you can expect to make around £3 per arb with £25-£30 stakes. Do this 10 times per day and it does add up. However, should you choose the second calculator and the horse wins you can expect anything in the region of £15 – £70 profit, sometimes more for the same stake.
I do know of people who do this full time. The biggest challenge is prolonging your bookie accounts as they don’t like arbers. We are in the process of completing a bookie account management guide to help with the issue of restricted/closed bookie accounts. We are always reviewing the bookies also and will be adding some new ones soon.
5) What sort of bankroll would you need to get started?
You can start with whatever you like, though £100 would be a minimum bank with the same again in your Betfair account. Clearly the bigger bank you have the greater opportunities you can take and the more you can make.
6) I’ve heard it’s quite hard to stop your bookmaker accounts getting limited as someone who’s exclusively looking to place arbs – is this true and if so have you got any tips to avoid this happening?
Yes, this is an occupational hazard for the arber as I said above. Our guide will cover all of this and give some simple but effective tips to prolong those accounts. One of the best tips I can give is to avoid only arbing horses and place some mug bets along the way, on several sports and lay these off on Betfair. This creates the illusion of being a mug punter (the kind bookies love) and avoids you being seen as a value bettor or worse an arber, both loathed by any bookie.
7) Which betting exchange do you use mostly? I’m assuming its Betfair, is there any place for Betdaq in there as well?
Betfair. This is due to the liquidity available. The other exchanges cant compete at the moment. Occasionally you can find better lay odds on Betdaq but the money available to lay off is just not there in most cases, there are always exceptions though.
8) Now you run the Spy Mare service do you still have time to place the arbs yourself? And are you arbing any other sports other than horse racing?
Yes, almost every day!
I use Spymare and catch any arbs going and spread these around my bookie accounts. Of course some days are busier than others and I don’t have time due to other commitments, projects etc.
9) Can you tell us a bit about Spy Mare and what the service offers to users? Plus, of course, how much it costs to join?
Of course. We have an exclusively web based service now which means when you join you are given a username and password and a url to access the arbs from a web page. The arbs are refreshed as and when new arbs appear and have direct links to the bookies and the calculators and range of filters to select to customise the display.
Subscriptions cost as little as 34p per day and are offered on a 30, 60 and 90 day basis. There are no recurring subscriptions so no need to worry about committing to more than you signed up for.
10) How much money is out there to hoover up for members? Are there enough arbs for everyone to get involved with every day?
Yes, we have restricted our membership to ensure liquidity is protected as far as possible. Betfair has good liquidity and the screenshots from the Spymare website show how much money is generally available to snap up.
11) Any future plans for the expansion of Spy Mare? Other sports perhaps?
Yes, we will be adding some additional filters and new bookies soon and are always open to any suggestions from users.
We will be releasing some new betting software in the summer of 2015, which is not arbitrage but will concentrate on horse racing and Betfair. It will, loosely, be a type of dobbing software which will adopt similar principles of arbitrage but rely on placing bets on Betfair only. It will be called Raceinspector! More on this later in the year.
Thanks a bunch for agreeing to do this interview May – I hope you guys enjoyed it and got something out of it.
To check out the Spymare service for yourself visit www.spymare.com.