Many people object to the concept of gambling and wagering for a myriad of reasons. These objections range from moral, ethical, or religious objections to arguments about the social effects of gaming or its potential for psychological addiction. Despite these potential concerns, gambling and wagering – like smoking or eating unhealthy food – remain both a matter of personal choice and quite popular with many people. With the advent of betting exchanges, a new element of this industry has developed that has far more in common with financial markets than with traditional casino gambling or wagering through a bookmaker.
Even those that object to traditional gambling can potentially make money by trading on betting exchanges. The objective is essentially no different than investing in the futures market, except the commodity being exchanged are bets and odds made as opposed to tangibles or financial commodities. The aim is identical: to buy at a low price and sell at a higher one for a profit. Further, unlike most futures markets, trading on a bet exchanges for non-US persons offer the advantages of no taxes and only paying commissions on winning bets.
Today, even serious economists are using the betting exchanges to research various facets of market behavior. In January of 2008, the Wall Street Journal ran an article (Justin Lahart, “Small Band of Economists Trumpet Sports Betting for Insight.” Wall Street Journal 7 January 2008: A2) discussing how economists are using sport betting markets to analyze how efficiently markets react to new data. The reason that some economists consider this a viable model is because there are no “insiders” that can manipulate the results of the market reaction. Additionally, the new data is presented in real time as the market and those interested can see the action of the match as it happens, this means the market response to new data should be spontaneous.
Very much like currency trading, bet trading is essentially a matter of appropriate timing. The ideal goal is a “green book” position in which a profit is guaranteed regardless of the outcome of the sporting event. While this is not always possible, carefully following the odds and the timing – especially during in-play trading – will reveal those opportunities when they come along. The most basic idea is to lay bet at a low price and then back bet at a higher one on the same event. By doing this, assuming your math is correct, then a small profit is assured either way, your liability is reduced to zero, and the funds in your trading account are freed up so that more trading can be done. For those that need to learn how this is done, there is also a wide range of instructional material and automated “bot” programs – many of which were initially designed for trading on stock, currency, and futures markets – that can be obtained.
The profits, again similar to currency trading, tend to be small but they do pay off in the long run. Plus, unlike the currency and futures markets that tend to be heavily leveraged, the betting exchanges demand that all funds required to cover a bet be placed upfront and locked into their system. This means that when trading in a betting exchange, one has no possibility of going into debt beyond his immediate means; the threat that constantly hovers over the heads of overly zealous currency or futures traders.