Arbitrage Betting – What is it, and why is it so easy to do on E-Sports?

It is sometimes possible to take advantage of different bookmakers opinions to profit from a match regardless of the result. This is known as Arbitrage betting or more commonly “arbing”. Arbitrage can be done with any commodity, in the past mainly gold, but in modern-day betting it also features. Arbitrage involves buying something at one price (low) and selling it immediately for a different price (high). The difference between the two prices is your profit.

Arbing was brought to the masses with the advent of the exchanges where somebody can lay a bet (bet that it won't win) and it was simple to find a bookmaker where you can bet on say a Horse to win at 10/1 and then be the bookmaker and lay the bet to someone else at 9/1. In doing for £20 stake if the Horse does not win you lost your £20 stake but win the £20 stake from the other punter, so you are all square.  If the Horse does win though, then you have lost £180 to the punter BUT you have won £200 from the bookmaker, so it is £20 profit, and you could never lose.

Back in the early days of the internet this form of arbitrage betting was still in its infancy, not everyone knew about it or about how the exchanges (back then basically Betfair) worked, and it was simple to get bets like the above. These days there are what are known as “odds scrapers” finding the examples of odds discrepancies and it is automated to mean that the “arbs” are taken quickly before much profit is made or the layman can find them.

It is still possible, in fact not just possible it is still easy, to make risk free arbitrage money from free bets, and there are websites with whole communities which discuss doing just that.   It is true that it is not possible to lose doing this but you can never really win a lot either.  It is a great way to slowly and surely build your bankroll perhaps, but in the long run, there are only so many new bookmakers you can join and get free bets from.

Arbitrage betting in E-Sports

An interesting area you can still “arb” just like back in the good old days of the early 2000s is betting on “E-Sports”. This is an area experiencing massive growth, certainly since the advent if Covid19 shut off most regular sport, and there is not yet the market efficiency of bookmakers to price up each match accurately as well as a lack of automated odds scrapers set up to find mispriced events. Given the nature of E-Sports having two teams or players, and you simply win or lose, to “arb” this matches you simply back Team A at one place and Team B at another, and hedge your stake amounts to win more than you lose at each.

An example below is the League of Legends match in the Turkish Champions League between “Dark Passage” and “The Istanbul Wild Cats”. The general standard odds at the majority of bookmakers we cover was that Dark Passage were favourites at 1.4 and that The Wild Cats were outsiders at 2.75. However the BEST price available on Dark Passage was 1.58, and the BEST price available on The Wild Cats was 2.9. Using those odds from those two bookmakers meant that a profit can be guaranteed.

As you can see betting £20 on Dark Passage at 1.58 gives a profit of £11.76 if they win.

At the other bookmaker, we bet £11 at odds of 2.9 giving a profit of £20.90 if the Wild Cats win.

Over the two bookmakers, our Net results are if Dark Passage win +£11.76 and -£11 so a 76p profit. On the other hand, if Wild Cats win we lose -£20 but also win +£20.90 so a 90p profit.

Whichever team wins, we profit

As you can see we have chosen low stakes here as a demonstration of what can be done, and whilst betting x10 higher stakes would result in 10x higher guaranteed profits, it is likely that you would get your accounts limited in max stake amounts very quickly. We also advise you not to bet if the guaranteed profit available is over 5% of your staked amount, if the profit is too high it is likely the bookmaker will have made an error and they will void your bets.

In conclusion arbitrage betting, or “arbing”, is possible for a certain profit, but it is not easy to do on mainstream sports, the profits will never be that high, and eventually, it is likely that your accounts will be limited.  If you do not care about your accounts being limited though, it can be a fun way to make some money and beat the bookies, making hay whilst the sun shines!