Open a betting account – the how, why & where guide
How to open a betting account, how many to open… and can you have too many?
An email came in last week from Dave in Rugby, and this is what he asked me…
“Hi Mathew [sic], I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to gambling. I like a bet on the golf, and just joined the Golf Insider. And I back horses as well.
But I don’t really know what accounts I should be using to bet with. Your emails talk about lots of different bookmakers, which ones are best or should I open accounts with them all?”
A very good question, as it happens.
When joining a new betting service, in this case the Golf Insider, or even if you’re just punting on your own… how many accounts do you need in order to make your sports betting return the most amount of profit?
Here’s what I said to Dave in reply, on the subject of how many betting accounts you need, and which ways are best to place your golf bets (or horseracing tips, or football wagers, for that matter).
How to open a betting account
I guess the first thing to say is technically you don’t need any betting accounts at all…
However, this will limit your choice of betting outlets to (i) bookmaker shops on the High Street, and (ii) betting at live events – racecourses, football stadia – that cater for casual, walk-in punters.
Great if you have the time and financial muscle to make this work, but this is not recommended.
And mark my words…
If you want to make your betting pay you need to organise your gambling activities through one, or more, bookmaker accounts.
Why? Because if not, you’ll waste lots of time and stacks of money, you will not obtain the best prices, you will make less profit. In short, you’re not giving yourself any chance at all to make your sports betting pay.
So open one account, minimum. And preferably more. And I’ll talk in further detail about this in just a moment.
Now when it comes to opening a betting account, trust me, it’s not difficult. And seeing as though bookies want your business (more so now than ever before) they don’t make the process any more complicated than it needs to be.
All you need these days are a few items, or pieces of information…
(i) a credit/debit card – in order to fund your account… and receive back your winnings!!
(ii) your personal details (name, address, date of birth)
(iii) a unique password/username (something that you’ll create yourself – keep it safe!)
(iv) and finally some recognised proof of your identity
This last point is known as a KYC check (Know Your Customer) and it basically acts as a safeguard against fraud and illegal practices. More on this shortly, but for now it’ll mean you need to supply your bookmaker with photographic evidence to show that “you are you” – and you’ll do this by uploading this documentation directly, and securely, onto their website during the registration process.
Yes, this is now a little more long-winded than in the past, when it could all be done in a few minutes over the telephone… but as we all know, the price of progress these days usually means dealing with a little bit of red tape!
Anyway, as you’ll see on these bookmaker websites (and I’ve included some links to a few of them below) there are phone numbers to call, and online assistants to help you, if you encounter any problems.
Remember… you want to sign-up as much as they want you to sign-up. You will find a way!!
Signing-up as well is usually sweetened by some bonus offer, or new-customer freebie. These are not to be sniffed at, and are always welcome.
These opening or introductory giveaways will either be applied to your account immediately, or after you’ve deposited funds (by your debit/credit card), or placed your first bet, or completed a minimum number of bets.
(i) bonus “cash” (usually in the form of “free bets” up to a pre-determined value)
(ii) credits to be used against certain novelty bets or particular markets
(iii) enhanced money-back or price-boost offers
(iv) introductory packages to online casinos, bingo or roulette games
How does money go from you to the bookmaker, and how do you get your winnings?
You will fund your account via your registered debit/credit card(s)… and your winnings will usually be sent straight back to the bank account linked to this card – this takes 24/48 hours.
Some firms also offer a cheque facility or bank transfer option.
Make sure you’re clear on this when you sign-up. Because you want to get your winnings ASAP and with the minimum of fuss/delay.
Which firm are the best ones to join?
This is the $64,000,000 question. And everyone you speak to will give you a different answer.
Some bookmakers offer better customer service, some will let you bet in bigger amounts, others will give you more bonuses and freebies.
It’s very hard to be definitive and say “this is the No.1 bookmaker” as from all the things I’ve heard over the past 30 years, one punter will say XYZ firm is great… and 10 minutes later another member will bad-mouth the same outfit for restricting their account.
Sadly, it’s not universal. There’s no “Which Guide” to reference. It’s trial-and-error for the most part.
From my personal experience there are certain bookmakers who continually offer the best odds, and appear frequently on my screens when golf bets are advised (i.e. they offer the best terms).
And they are…
Betfair – the best betting exchange out there and a MUST for any punter – CLICK HERE
Bet365 – the world’s biggest bookmaker, lots of offers for new accounts – CLICK HERE
Paddy Power – innovative markets, good prices on offer, sign-on offers – CLICK HERE
BoyleSports – excellent on general sport, sign-up for £25 FREE BETS – CLICK HERE
SkyBet – another well-established and reliable firm, plenty of offers – CLICK HERE
William Hill – tried & trusted, one of the Big 3 (along with Ladbroke & Coral) – CLICK HERE
UNIBET – the current home for Stan James and always worth a market-check – CLICK HERE
There are plenty more bookmakers than this, and I can provide a full list on request.
Just drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
The advantages of opening several accounts
The illustration I used with Dave is one that I often make to members who email the office, or call me direct… and it uses the example of supermarkets.
Imagine in your town there’s just one main shop – Asda, Tescos, Aldi, or whatever.
When you go to buy anything, for example bread or baked beans, you have to pay whatever price they charge for that item. No more… but certainly no less! You’re stuck with that price, and if you want potatoes or parmesan cheese, dish cloths or dog food, that’s the rate you have to pay. Their rate.
But what if there are two shops in town (or three or four)… you then start to get competition on prices. One shop will be cheaper on some items, another will charge more for something else.
And so all of sudden, from that one shop (or betting firm) dictating their prices to you, because there’s nowhere else for you to go…
You, as the customer, now hold the whip-hand because you can choose to go elsewhere for some/all of your requirements.
So the equation, if you like, is simple…
More outlet choice = more power to the customer
In the example above, the “outlet” in question is a supermarket. But think of it in bookmaking terms, and more options for you, as the customer, gives you more power. And this power translates into better prices, and so bigger profits in your pocket.
This is the main reason why holding more than one betting account is key to becoming a winning professional gambler. But there are other reasons as well.
Here’s a few more of them…
(1) Getting on. Bookmaker restrictions are becoming more frequent, either closing accounts altogether or at the very least imposing limits on how much you can place on a bet. Having more than one betting account means you can split your stakes across a number of layers and so get a bigger amount of money on the golf tip, horseracing wager, or soccer bet, that you want to place.
(2) Exclusive Offers & Freebies. As I’ve mentioned in other blogposts, and have highlighted in the section above, bookmakers are extremely anxious to get (and keep) your business. They offer an ever-increasing number of sign-up offers, or member-only deals, that you can take advantage of… and the more accounts you have, the more price-boost, enhanced-odds, and free bets you can qualify for.
(3) Market coverage. Not all bookmakers offer the same bets on the same sports/events. There are frequent differences not just with odds, but EW places terms (read more about EW betting here), or head-to-head player/team betting, lower league coverage, minor sports, a whole number of options which one bookie might offer that another one won’t. So more accounts means more ways to bet – and win!
(4) Arbing. In simple terms this is the practice of betting two (or more) options in the same market, where by doing so, and because of the odds on offer, you are guaranteed to make a profit. This can only be done successfully by using multiple betting accounts. A great source of betting profits for some, a neat way to hedge positions for others, the study of “arbitrage” is a topic for another day.
(5) User-friendly alternatives. Living and working in the UK, as I do, I’m spoilt by the range of bookmakers that I have at my disposal. But I know from dealing with clients all over the world, that not all firms are open and available to bettors from one country to the next. So a range of betting accounts should guarantee you the ability to bet, both at home and abroad.
Which bookmakers are best?
If the question is “Matthew, if I could only have one account, which firm should I join?”…
There’s only one answer… Betfair
And there are multiple reasons for this, many of them I outline in my blogpost here.
Better prices, anonymity (i.e. getting on), ease of use, market coverage, ability to hedge/trade. There’s a whole list of reasons why if you could only open one betting account, it would have to be Betfair.
And if you’ve not got an account with them get yourself signed-up pronto!! Click here and claim your very own free introductory offer.
Yes, in an ideal world, I would still advise you open 2 or 3 other accounts.
Firms like Bet 365, BoyleSports, Paddy Power, Skybet, William Hill, Unibet… just to give you that little bit extra choice and “pricing-power”.
But as I’ll mention in a moment, you don’t want to overdo things, and lose yourself in a maze of accounts. Otherwise you won’t know whether you’re coming or going!
Start with the likes of Betfair, add one or two extra, and you’ll be fine.
Having more than one account with the same firm
These days you are required to provide all sorts of information when opening a betting account.
Know Your Customer (KYC) legislation has led to customers of betting firms often being asked to provide personal details about themselves when enrolling. In other words proving that “you are who you say you are”.
Often this takes the form of some kind of domestic proof of residence (such as a utility bill or bank statement) along with a form of photographic evidence (drivers licence, passport).
This means the former, and rather dubious, practice of one person holding multiple accounts with the same firm – to get more money on a bet, or to secure the best odds – is now virtually impossible. In fact, this method of operating has its own term “gnoming” and is something which the layers have tried to stamp out completely.
Of course when it comes to things like money laundering, bank fraud and personal identity scams, the use of KYC is a great development… but for those bettors who want to get one over on the bookies, this initiative has all-but stopped it.
Yes, there are those who still operate multiple accounts with the same bookmaking firm, but this has to be done through a consenting Third Party who agree to set-up the account in their name before letting someone else control it (still trading themselves, but using another person’s name/identity). Again, an equally frowned-upon practice… but, I know for a fact, it happens!
So, in short, as an individual, you will not be allowed to hold more than one account with the same layer even if you use a different email or home address.
You can have too much of a good thing
As I mentioned above, there is a “sweet spot” in terms of the number of betting accounts you should hold at any one time… certainly if you consider yourself to be just an amateur or semi-professional punter.
Some of the pro’s I deal with go to all sorts of lengths to get their money on… holding accounts with every bookmaker under the sun, having broker arrangements, betting in other countries, getting people to put money on for them, using aliases (more of this another time)…
But for the average Joe, this simply isn’t worth the time and effort.
Remember, you have to manage all these accounts – and by that I mean manage them like an accountant would do. Not just a random check of your balance every now and again, but a regular audit of your profit & loss.
Also if you have multiple accounts, and limited funds, how much can you realistically afford to hold in each account at any one time?
An initial starting bank of, say, £1,000 (a good enough pot to get you going) split over 10-12 bookmakers is only £80-£100 per firm… which isn’t a huge amount when you’re placing multiple bets at any one time.
So the advice would be simple… unless you have the time and necessary application to keep meticulous records of all the accounts you hold, and you have the funds to keep them all in profit and ready-to-roll at any given time, do not open 8, 10, 12, or more accounts.
Yes, as I have explained above, there are good reasons for holding more than one account… but there is also a very solid argument to say don’t open too many!
- You need to make your betting easy, but efficient.
- You need to get “good value” prices, and not settle for whatever just one firm is offering.
- Not too many… but not too few!!
And if you can get the number right for you (and over time you should be able to work this out) then you’ll make your betting more enjoyable, less time consuming and, crucially, it’ll pay you more profit.
This is what we’re all after at the end of the day… more money for less work!!
OPINION: As with most things in life, you need to strike the right balance. And when it comes to betting, and how to open a betting account, and how many accounts to hold, it’s important to find a solution that works for you. My general advice to any “newbie” would be one exchange account (like Betfair) and then one or two others with conventional or High Street firms. That’s enough to get you going. Then work from there. Because more choice most definitely means better prices and bigger profits… but too much choice can mean a lack of ready funds, “lost” winnings, hours wasted on unnecessary book-keeping. And who wants that!