The majority of matched betting is done online. This gives us the ability to visit multiple bookmakers at once to find offers, place bets and quickly compare odds. However, it is possible to do matched betting in shops if you have one near you which can add to your monthly profits.
Matched betting in shops, or 'sharbing' as it is also known as, works similar to matched betting online but instead of placing your back bets on the bookmaker website, you do it in the betting shop.
Sharbing - How to do it
As mentioned, sharbing works similar to matched betting online, or, more specifically, arbing online. If you're a member of a matched betting site such as Profit Maximiser or OddsMonkey, you may have heard of arbing before. Arbing is when the bookmaker back odds are higher than the lay odds on the betting exchange. By simply backing and laying the bet, you are able to make a profit whatever the outcome.
To find arbing opportunities in-store, you can use coupons. These are generally A4 sheets of paper which display events, markets and their associated odds. If you've ever visited a betting shop before you will have seen coupons scattered around the shop along with small pens used for marking your selections.
The most popular coupons are the midweek and weekend football coupons which display the upcoming matches. You can bet on various markets in-store but it's advisable to stick to home-draw-away markets or other popular markets as these draw less attention when placing large stakes.
One good thing about sharbing is that the coupons are usually printed a few days in advance of the games listed. Therefore, you're able to collect a coupon from your nearest betting shop, take it home and compare the back odds to the lay odds on the betting exchanges.
Do not compare the back and lay odds in-store. Betting shop staff are aware of sharbers and do not approve of it. If you are seen comparing their odds to the betting exchange odds on your phone, it is a clear sign you are sharbing.
As coupons are printed days in advance, sharbing opportunities occur when the lay odds on the betting exchange shorten. Online bookmakers are able to update the odds on their websites with the click of a button but it takes a lot more work to reprint hundreds of paper coupons. There's no guarantee that the shop will accept your bet should the odds have drifted by a lot but they are more likely to accept bets placed on popular markets such as the match result of major games or winners in big horse races.
After you have compared the odds on the coupons to the associated lay odds on the betting exchange, mark your bets on the coupon and head back to the betting shop. As it's not guaranteed which bets will be accepted by the shop, it's a good idea to try and remember what the lay odds were of the bets you are planning to place in case the betting shop staff offer different odds. You'll also need to write down the lay odds and calculated stakes for reasons we'll explain below but don't get these out in the betting shop. If in doubt, simply refuse the new odds, check the lay odds when you're out of the shop and if there is still an arbing opportunity, return to place the bet.
Once your bets have been confirmed in the shop, you will want to place your lay bets as quickly as possible in case the odds change. Hopefully, you have calculated and written down the lay stakes for your bets. The advantage of this is that if you were able to place the bookmaker bets at the odds displayed on the coupon and the lay odds haven't changed on the betting exchange, you should be able to place your lay bets relatively quickly. If either the bookmaker or the exchange odds have changed, you will need to use a matched betting calculator to calculate the new lay stakes.
in-store bookmaker offers
As well as sharbing, you can also take advantage of any offers the bookmakers have. Betting shops may not offer the same range of promotions as they do online but many offer some of the more popular offers such as William Hill's '2Clear' or 'High5' which are both available to do in-store.
Keep an eye out for any promotions advertised in the betting shop. You may be familiar with a lot of them and be able to matched bet them to make a profit. Again, the only difference is that you are placing your back bets in-store rather than online.
Which bookmakers to use for sharbing
You're able to use any bookmaker for sharbing but it is advisable to simply use the one closest to you. Sharbing can be very time consuming when you take into account the time needed to travel to and from the bookmaker, going in and out of the shop to collect coupons, check exchange odds and to place your bets. You may wish to make an exception and travel further should a specific bookmaker be offering a profitable promotion.
Some of the most popular bookmakers you'll find on the high street are William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.
how much money can you make from sharbing?
Sharbing generally won't be a big earner for most. The time it takes is a lot longer than arbing or matched betting online and requires more effort. However, that doesn't mean that it is not profitable or worth doing if you have some free time. Sharbing is also a great option if you have been gubbed by a bookmaker and are unable to place bets online through your betting account.
The amount of money you make sharbing really depends on the time you dedicate to it and the difference between the bookmaker back odds and the exchange lay odds. If you're able to find a big difference and have your bet accepted in-store, you may be able to make a significant profit which will make the process worth while.
While sharbing won't return the profits arbing online or matched betting can, it is another opportunity to bring in additional profits. As you gain more experience with sharbing you'll no-doubt find higher-value arbing opportunities faster and be able to increase your profit per time spent.
Remember to keep a low profile in betting shops when arbing and do your best to act like a normal punter. Bookmakers do not approve of arbing as you are taking value away from them but if you're careful, you should be able to avoid suspicion.
Sharbing is only recommended for those who have experience with either arbing or matched betting. If you're new to matched betting and are looking to get started, take a look at our OddsMonkey review. You're able to sign up for a free trial to learn more and make your first £40 for free.