Today, I am very excited to present an Interview with Darren Hall of Bet72.com fame. Bet72 mainly covers the concept of risk free betting which is something every trader should do at some point for some extra cash. Darren is also excited to tell us about a new piece of software which can help make life much easier for all sports traders so make yourself a cup of tea and have a good read through this one!
STL: Hey Darren, really nice of you to take some time out to talk to Sports Trading Life! For those who aren’t aware of “Risk free betting” just how does it work exactly?
DH: Thanks for inviting me along Ben for this little chat. Yes risk free betting, well many bookmakers offer free bets or bonuses, you know the sort of thing “bet £25, receive a free £25” as an incentive for people to open an account or for existing customers just to use their site more.
“Risk Free” or “Matched” Betting is a technique whereby you back an outcome at a bookmaker and lay the same outcome on a betting exchange. By both backing and laying the same selection the bet is risk free regardless of the result and when you are using stake money provided by the bookmaker, in the form of a free bet or bonus, the returns from that bet then become risk free profit.
The process typically involves two stages:
1. Obtain the free bet or bonus for the lowest possible fixed cost by backing a selection with the bookmaker and laying the same selection on a betting exchange.
2. Cash out the free bet for risk free profit by using the freebie as your stake money to back a selection and again lay the same selection on the betting exchange. This not only makes the bet risk free but as you are not staking with your own money at the bookmaker you have now generated some risk free profit, regardless of the outcome of the event.
STL: Why don’t we start at the top and you tell us how you got into the whole thing? How long have you been doing it?
DH: Mine is probably a familiar story I expect, a lover of sport (and money) but putting the two together didn’t always work out as planned. I was just punting for an interest in something I was watching or going to with mates and really just looking to make a few quid to pay for the night out! Nothing really serious and certainly no science about anything back then, it was fun, and occasionally profitable.
Anyway back in 2003 a friend of mine was always talking about Betfair, saying about the better prices he was backing selections at so I had a look. Suddenly the punter was king or at least that is what it felt like. Setting the odds and playing against each other whilst getting better prices that at the bookies and the laying side of things, well it was like a light blub moment, covering all outcomes in any event with just 2 bets!
I had an old system that I had bought from ebay, believe it or not, which was using bookmakers offers against each other in a crude form of dutching to make a profit and I was using this as the basis of a very basic website to advertise bookmaker free bet offers, alongside my day job as an IT consultant.
After a bit of online research I tweaked it to incorporate Betfair and gradually all the pieces fell into place. I decided this would make the basis of an even nicer little website and so www.Bet72.com was born and really started to take off. So much so that soon I felt able to ditch IT job and the rest, as they say, is history!
STL: I used to do a lot of matched betting myself a few years back. I was easily making 4 figures a month too. These days I concentrate on trading though. If someone wanted to take it up now, how much could they expect to make?
DH: There are currently over £2000 in standard free bets offers being advertised with “well known” or our approved online bookmakers, (we never advertise something we have not done ourselves). Now when you consider that the average risk free profit on a free bet or bonus can be anything from 65% – 85% of its value, possibly higher, then £1500 is not an unreasonable figure that can be made from basic sign up offers alone.
STL: Once all the initial bookies offers have been done, what is a realistic amount to be made per month?
DH: Yes even once you have joined a particular bookmaker then the opportunities don’t stop there. We continue to see many offers for existing customers, as bookmakers are looking for repeat business and to reward customer loyalty. This can increase too when major events or tournaments are on too.
There are several hundreds of pounds to be made each month for sure, from just a few extra hours a week, More if you have the time to invest plus there are offers for phone accounts, mobile betting, spread betting, casinos, online games, even bingo! If there is free money in it we do it!
It is really surprising how quickly the profits can mount up, even doing some of the smaller offers that people often overlook or ignore. I have done a few monthly challenges and blogged them on the site to prove the point and people are always amazed at how much you can end up with at the end of the month.
So I always encourage our visitors to get all the sign up offers done then the offers will come to them.
The other side we are really developing just now is education by providing videos, spreadsheets, webinars and even live seminars to demonstrate and assist people in making the very most from all the potential offers out there. There is actually an amazing amount of opportunity here and some more advance techniques that we are helping people with including underlaying, overlaying, dutching to bypass the betting exchange (and commission) altogether. Even using the offers as trading insurance, to boost profits that way. There is so much potential and I think there is plenty of life left in risk free betting yet!
STL: What has been the biggest or most profitable risk free offer you have seen or done yourself?
DH: On the sports side of things, well there have been so many it would be hard to pick. Ranging from massive individual several hundreds of £’s offers to regular drip feed bonuses that could be done to generate a very healthy ongoing income over the weeks and months. Whilst the profit is always the benchmark actually my favourite offers have been when I have managed to make a better return from the offer than the offer itself, if you see what I mean. This could be from finding an arb or utilising an offer against another offer or even a trade and profiting that way. These types of results still give me the most satisfaction.
When I started out it was around the golden time of some very lucrative casino bonus offers so I really made some very good money playing those. Whilst not totally risk free, the terms of the offers back then were very player friendly (wagering versus house edge) and it would have been rude not to do them. Sadly these have all but gone now but we do uncover the odd nugget now and again, so I always keep an eye out for them.
STL: So personally, do you only stick to risk free offers? Or do you trade or bet on anything else?
DH: Yes certainly. Trading is something I have been involved with for a number of years. To me it is a very logical next step once you have learnt to use Betfair and presents almost unlimited opportunities. I have been very fortunate to have met and worked with some of the very best professional traders out there on various project, so have tried to glean any trading tips I can from the masters! But I must say I am still a relative novice myself by their standards. However I am making a good regular income on the football side of things especially, using the strategies from our latest venture, Betting System Notes, so trading is very much a part of my portfolio now.
Occasionally I do like to revert back to my old habits and just have a good fashioned punt. Especially if I attend a live event / meeting, sometimes it is good just to enjoy the occasion for what it is as a punter rather than thinking about the mathematics of the offers all the time. Still mixed results however so some things never change!
STL: Ok, so why don’t you tell us more about the “Betting System Notes” software that you are involved with? Just what is it exactly?
DH: Betting System Notes is a fully customisable online notepad / organiser where you can store all your notes for betting systems and strategies, trading rules and guidelines, making them all instantly accessible at the click of a mouse, anytime, anywhere.
It is basically your own personal online database for holding all the key details from all those eBooks, pdf’s, and other documents that you have probably acquired over the years so they are all instantly at hand. Plus we have included 13 proven profitable Football Trading Strategies from the professional football traders at Trading Football and added this all to a website around which we are building a library of professional content from the very best online resources, so this is a unique product in the market.
STL: So is this similar to the Betnotes software that was previously available?
DH: Yes to give you a bit of background, it is essentially an updated version of the old Betnotes product by Steve Ashley which you are familiar with.
We started out by working with Steve last year; where we added value to his software by incorporating some of the football trading strategies, repackaged it and selling it over the World Cup. It proved very successful and I was keen to take this further and include many more features things like multimedia, enhanced content and support for other platforms so we had our own web based version of the software developed and this is now the core of what is included within the site.
STL: Around how many people are now using this?
DH: We have several hundred users at present. All the old users were upgraded for free and we are gaining many new users each and every month so I am delighted with the way things are going, the feedback is excellent and as we have some big plans for it!
STL: So what are the future plans for Betting System Notes?
DH: Naturally we want to grow the user base as much as we can and also build on the strategies and systems we already have within the software.
Also we are working with a number of key professional partners to provide additional exclusive content for the site too, covering other sports trading and strategic betting. This is not just for football but also horse racing, tennis, cricket and golf. Some of which is already on the site.
I would like to see this become an iTunes for Betting / Trading Systems where people just plugin the content they need and wish to use having it available all in one place in a single standard format ready for when they need it. Well you have to have a dream!
Also I am able to utilise my position with the bookmakers and our key partners to offer members some exclusive deals, more free bet offers and regular competitions too. So the future is looking very exciting for the site.
STL: Ok, so if anyone wants to check out more information on it or buy it then where do they go to?
And of course everything risk free betting wise is over at www.bet72.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blimey I am going to need bigger business cards at this rate!
STL: Ok, thanks again Darren
DH: No problem, it has been a pleasure.