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Setting up Bookmakers

The process of bookmaker registration can be done any number of different ways. Most people want to approach it clinically and split their money evenly across 6, 10, or 20 bookmakers they have chosen and registered with ahead of time. Funding any number of books evenly is usually not advisable because not all bookmakers are created equal; you will want to have more money in the key books (like Pinnacle or Betfair for example). The general approach of pre-picking books, registering and funding them all ahead of time will work, but I do not personally think it is the best approach.

I now recommend a more systematic approach to bookmaker registration and funding. When I started arbitrage trading the above approach was recommended to me, followed by a few weeks of paper trading to get used to the bookmakers I had registered with. My new method does not require pre-selection of bookmakers, and it sort of works paper trading into the process, so that you never have to give up a few weeks of trading to practice – the practice is done while setting up.

Overview

The basic idea is to choose your bookmakers 1 or 2 at a time based on real arbs presented to you by your alert service. You slowly and systematically open the accounts and fund them appropriately, ensuring bonuses are claimed, while actively placing a real arb. As most arbs only last a few minutes and this process may take up to 30 minutes, the objective is clearly not to rush and get the arb, but rather to slowly and carefully get all of the conditions set up correctly, and then still possibly get an arb at the end.

The point of this process is to find books which have clearly demonstrated that they do produce real arbs, and to then systematically fund these good books with an appropriate amount of money to take the best advantage of any sign up bonus on offer. The registration process should never be rushed in any way.

Registrations should be continued until about 75% of your bankroll has been deposited. The remaining 25% will then be used to fund active bookmakers as they are emptied. New bookmakers will be only be opened as old bookmakers are made useless (by being limited, or by eventually showing that they are less profitable than other books), or as your bankroll increases so as to be able to fund more books at one time.

The Detailed Process

You have a few thousand dollars in your E-Wallet account, you are not registered at any bookmakers but you have an alert service running (either trial or your chosen alert service). The alert service finds a 1% arb between two bookmakers:

First, are these bookmakers worth dealing with?

Go to SureBetBookies.com and bring up the bookmaker’s details. Are they of a rating you feel comfortable with? Do they accept your method of deposit? Do they offer free deposit and withdrawal? Is there any user feedback indicating that they may not be honorable in their dealings? If everything looks OK, click on the link(s) to the bookmaker(s)*.

Second, is the arb still there?

Navigate your way to the sport in question and check to see if the arb is still there. If the odds are still available as reported by your alert service, also check to make sure all other relevant details are correct (point spread, handicap margin etc), and then also check to make sure there are no rule mismatches – SureBetBookies should still be open so if the arb is one on tennis, NHL or Baseball you will be able to see if the bookmakers in question have different rules very easily.

Third, are there any sign-up bonuses?

The bonus offers should be obvious, but some bookmakers seem to hide their sign up bonuses (not sure why!). Look on the home page of the bookmaker – look for 'Promotions', 'Bonuses' or any large percentage signs – and click on them to get more information. Thoroughly read the terms and conditions for the bonuses. Again, every bookmaker varies greatly on this point, some will have complex legalese saturated terms and conditions, others will have 3 dot points: whatever rules they tell you, heed them. Write them down in your trading spreadsheet if you must, because these are the rules by which you must play.

For more information, see:

Fourth, register.

Registration is usually pretty painless, just fill in your details – make sure you are using the same email address as you are using for your Moneybookers and/or Neteller account. Some bookmakers will require you to provide scanned ID at one stage or another (not usually up front, often before your first withdrawal, or else simply within a period of time), so you will need to have some ID available for scanning, and often utility bills with your address on them will be required also, so don’t try to use a fake address or name or anything like that.

Fifth, deposit money.

Before taking this step, check to see if the arb is still there. If not, it may be worth waiting for the next arb before you deposit. If the sign up bonus has time limits on though, then you may need to deposit anyway, or if the bonus is incentive enough on its own, then it may still be worth depositing anyway.

When deciding how much to deposit, the first consideration is the bonus – try to take full advantage of the bonus at least. If the bonus is a small volume high percentage one, then perhaps deposit twice as much as is required to claim the full bonus. You don’t want to look like you have only created the account to claim the bonus, so try to avoid depositing exactly the right amount to receive the whole bonus and nothing else. If the bookmaker has a small percentage large volume bonus (say 10% of deposit up to $500 bonus for example), then you will need to decide whether your bankroll can afford having that much money ($5000) in one bookmaker or not, and more importantly, whether this bookmaker in particular will be worth having that much money in it. If you are working with a small bankroll, then you may want to only deposit a smaller normal amount (just a few hundred) and accept that you can't get the whole bonus, or you might want to leave this bookmaker until later when you have a larger bankroll and are better able to take full advantage of the bonus.

Exactly how much to deposit is something which you have to decide upon from bookmaker to bookmaker. As indicated above, your considerations need to be your bankroll size, the deposit required to claim the bonus, the regularity this bookmaker is involved with arbs, and the average max bet size of this bookmaker. The last think you want is to end up with 10-50% of your total bank roll stuck in one bookmaker which you never see any arbs at, or a bookmaker which will only let you bet $50 at a time.

And one final point to remember is that it is easy to deposit more money, while withdrawing money can be complicated by bonus rollover requirements, limited free withdrawals per month, no-play withdrawal fee, and ID requirements before withdrawal processing. So if in doubt, deposit a little less and top it up as you need to. Don't get your money stuck in a crap bookmaker.

Sixth, place the arb.

Don't get too excited, we're still going slow! Check both bookmakers have their money in them, then go to where the arb was – is it still there? Are you sure there is no rule mismatch? Check the rules at the bookmaker itself, these change occasionally so SureBetBookies can’t guarantee its details are always accurate – I find it is helpful to note the rules for various sports in my trading spreadsheet next to each bookmaker.

Are you sure the other details all line up to make this a genuine arb?

If yes, then enter your bet amounts (calculated either by your alert service, or by an arb calculator of your choice), and then submit each bet, one after the other. Which should you submit first? You should always submit the bet at the bookmaker with which you are most uncertain whether your bet will be accepted. Some bookmakers will not tell you the maximum stake until after you attempt to submit your bet, so you should always try to place this bet first. The reason is to avoid having one side of the arb submitted, and then submitting the second side only to find out it has a $7 bet limit on it when you need to place $500.

If at ANY time during this process the arb disappears, or you start to doubt the validity of the arb – STOP. Missing an arb will not cost you money; making a mistake will. More arbs will come. You are ALWAYS better off missing an arb completely, than you are risking money on a gamble in arb clothing.

Seventh, update your records/spreadsheet and repeat the process.

You now have a funded e-wallet or two, you have your alert service finding arbs for you, and you have two funded bookmakers, hopefully with a good legitimate arb in process. You should also hopefully have some bonus cash in both of those bookmakers which may or may not need special attention. You should have a spreadsheet (we have a template available for download here) tracking your bookmaker accounts and arb trades and it should be up to date with regards to your new bookmakers, and the arb you have placed. I recommended tracking everything that you can think of, no matter how inane it seems.

Once everything is updated, pick your next arb, and start the whole process over again. Keep doing this until you think you have enough bookmakers, or you have 75-85% of your bankroll deposited. Keep 15-25% free and ready to deposit as your active bookmakers run out of funds.