Tuesday, 21 July 2015

"Special" Bets

Small investors who are prepared to take a gamble could do worse than to keep an eye on some of the larger sportsbooks such as Bet365, Unibet and Paddy Power for what are usually simplistically termed “Special Bets”.

These are usually bets on non-sporting events such as elections, TV reality shows and film awards.

Because the sportsbooks by definition specialise in sport, these bets so often fall outside of their areas of expertise and can often therefore lack the shrewd insight which usually gives the bookies their built-in “house edge”.

Major betting exchanges such as Betfair, being customer-driven, will usually operate a book which reflects the odds on these events much more accurately, and often an opportunity will be created to lay off or “arb” an over-generous price offered by one of the conventional books, creating an opportunity for an immediate profit.

It is worth remembering that even multi-million betting operations with inside information and intelligence on horse racing and the world of football will often have less insight into the politics of your local electoral constituency, for example than you have.

Don’t always assume that the bookie knows best. Shop around, and take advantage.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Swagbucks - Making Surveys Fun

One of the most interesting survey companies on the 'net goes by the name of Swagbucks, and it boasts an ever-increasing fan base of a kind with which conventional providers cannot hope to compete.

The reason for this is that Swagbucks is in fact so much more than just a place to take surveys and earn money. It is indeed a veritable nerve centre of opportunity and activity, whether you want to earn money, spend money or just play a game on your PC.

As well as taking surveys one can earn simply by watching videos or playing certain games. And in addition once a set target has been reached a reward bonus is issued, boosting up your points (themselves known as Swag Bucks) which can later be converted into vouchers issued by such outlets as Amazon, TK Maxx, Starbucks, Zizzi or Pizza Express, or sent directly into your PayPal account.

There are opportunities to wager some of the Swag Bucks that you have earned in the hope of winning one of a host of quite generous prizes.

Whilst surveys can after a while become monotonous, some people spend hours at a time at Swagbucks without getting bored. It is so much more than an income source, and yet for those who like to earn from answering questions it does the job just like all the others.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Can I Make Money Day Trading Part-Time?

For many people, the attraction of day trading is that traders can very much control their own hours. Many markets, like foreign exchange, trade around the clock. And with easy Internet access, day trading seems like a way to make money while the baby is napping, on your lunch hour, or working just a few mornings a week in between golf games and woodworking.

That myth of day trading as an easy activity that can be done on the side makes a lot of traders very rich, because they make money when traders who are not fully committed lose their money.

Day trading is a business, and the best traders approach it as such. They have business plans for what they will trade, how they will in invest in their business, and how they will protect their trading profits. If you catch a late-night infomercial about trading, the story will be about the ease and the excitement. But if you want that excitement to last, you have to make the commitment to doing trading as a business to which you dedicate your time and your energy.


Can you make money trading part-time? You can, and some people do. To do this, they approach trading as a part-time job, not as a little game to play when they have nothing else to going on. A part-time trader may commit to trading three days a week, or to closing out at noon instead of at the close of the market. A successful part-time trader still has a business plan, still sets limits, and still acts like any professional trader would, just for a smaller part of the day.

Part-time trading works best when the trader can set and maintain fixed business hours. Your brain knows when it needs to go to work and concentrate on the market, because the habit is ingrained.

If you want to be a part-time day trader, approach it the same way that a part-time doctor, part-time lawyer, or part-time accountant would approach work. Find hours that fit your schedule and commit to trading during them. Have a dedicated office space with high-speed Internet access and a computer that you use just for trading. If you have children at home, you may need to have child care during your trading hours. And if you have another job, set your trading hours away from your work time. Trading via cell phone during your morning commute is a really good way to lose a lot of money (not to mention your life if you try it while driving).

Reproduced with acknowledgements to For Dummies

Sunday, 15 March 2015


Etsy is a peer-to-peer (P2P) e-commerce website which promotes itself as a vehicle through which to "shop directly from people around the world".

Etsy is, in its own words, a marketplace where people globally can connect, both online and offline, to make, sell or buy goods that are unique. It serves "creative entrepreneurs" who produce art, crafts, clothing, vintage goods and handmade items. For a very small fee one can open an online Etsy shop and trade with customers who are specifically interested in that particular type of market.

Originally founded in 2005, Etsy has been up and running since 2008 and has some 30 million registered users, with over $1 billion dollars in total annual transactions.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

YouGov - Being Paid for Your Opinions

I have already covered Online Surveys as a good means of earning a regular secondary income.

But of all the survey providers YouGov is probably worth a stand-alone mention, as it is just so straightforward and reliable. Once you join YouGov you need only to sit back and wait for notification of a new survey to be e-mailed to you.

YouGov typically pays 50p per survey that you complete. On occasions a short survey may pay 25p or a longer one 75p or even £1, but 50p is the norm. Or to be precise you will earn 50 points, with one point equating to one penny. Alternatively a prize draw survey (called an Oracle Survey), is offered.

Once notification of a new survey arrives by e-mail the easiest way of accessing it is by simply clicking the link in the message. YouGov chooses participants from their profiles, which you should fill out as soon as you join, so the eternal irritation of completing half a survey only to be told that you don't qualify rarely happens. Normally, once you are in you are in.

Surveys can be about any subject but common ones are politics and shopping. The questions are easy to follow and the options given cover all possibilities. You simply select the one which best matches your own opinion and move on to the next question.

At the end of each survey, before your points are allocated to your account, you are given the option of either banking them or redeeming them for an entry into the prize draw. This is of course your choice to make but if the object of the exercise is to make money fast the obvious course of action is to hold onto the points.

Once a total of 5,000 points has been reached a payout of £50 can be requested and either the money is paid into your bank within a few weeks (usually two) or you can request a cheque.

As it is a highly professional and universally respected survey platform YouGov does not take liberties with your time. You complete your surveys and you get paid for them, simples.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sports Betting Arbitrage

"Betting is a mug's game," or so they say.

You'll never meet a poor bookie".

Clich├ęs as they are they do have a certain truth. Bookmaking is all about the "house edge". What this means is that the price offered to the punter by the bookmaker is less generous than the "real" price should be. In other words, if a bookie was offering you odds on the flip of a coin coming up heads he would probably be setting a price in the region of 10/11 or 5/6, when the true odds would of course be Evens.

Certainly you still have a 50/50 chance of winning the bet. But if you win the bet at 10/11 your £11 stake will win you £10. If you lose, your loss is £11. So although your chances of winning a single bet are 50%, place the same bet 100 times and it is virtually certain that you'll be out of pocket. Hence "the house edge".

Sports betting arbitrage reverses that verdict. By using different odds at different bookmakers you turn the prices to your advantage. For instance, if Bet365 is offering 6/5 on Bloggs to beat Brown in a snooker fixture and Evens is available at Betfair on Brown to beat Bloggs in the same match you can, by carefully setting your stakes accordingly, lock in a guaranteed profit whatever the outcome.

There are pitfalls - human error, last-minute price changes, cancelled bets, maximum permitted stakes being altered without notice - but the skilled arbitrageur will overcome these on balance. Of course the return each time is relatively low - any "arb" over 2% is considered a good one, so an investment of £1000 would be needed just to make £20 in profit. In other words to benefit from sports arbitrage one needs some serious starting capital.

But it does work, and many people make a living from it.

Monday, 19 January 2015

High Rolling in Online Sports Betting

The term "high roller" in sports betting refers simply to the placing of large stakes. What one person might consider high, of course, might differ substantially from another's understanding of the term. For the purposes of this article let us consider those punters who are frequently prepared to wager into four figures and beyond.

Very few bettors place four-figure or five-figure bets every time. Ordinarily they will assess the likelihood of a wager being successful and stake accordingly. How generous a price on a particular market happens to be would often be a consideration too. However a person who places high stakes with some degree of frequency might reasonably be considered a high roller.

Perhaps unsurprisingly different bookmakers (sometimes called sportsbooks) will take different views on the desirability or otherwise of high roller custom. A very large wager on a line which carries a big price exposes the book to the prospect of hefty losses should the bet be successful. A good book such as Pinnacle (now sadly no longer accepting business from UK customers) will welcome the bet every time due to its skill in balancing its prices out. Others though will run shy, and seem to prefer the custom of the pound-a-bet hobbyists and occasional dabblers.


Most sportsbooks will operate different limits for different markets. A punt of several thousands on the likely winner of the next X-Factor competition is unlikely to be accepted as this tends not to be a high roller market, and it would be difficult for the bookmaker to offset the bet. The same sportsbook is likely to offer a far more generous limit on the outcome of the FA Cup Final or the winner at Wimbledon because there will be wagers aplenty on the opposite side of the line creating some sort of equilibrium. Indeed your five-figure punt may have the effect of pushing down the price on that market, thereby increasing the price on the opposite line{s) which is thereby itself made a more attractive proposition for potential customers.

It is an unfortunate but unavoidable truth that some online bookies are known to slash the maximum stakes offered to certain customers once a few large wagers have proved successful. Indeed it is not unknown for punters to access their accounts and attempt to place their bets only to find that their previous £1000 limit has been reduced to £1.

Paradoxically the best sportsbook for high rolling customers is probably one which doesn't operate a limit at all on its stakes - Betfair. Because Betfair is a betting exchange which makes its money solely from the commission it deducts from winning bets it has no interest in restricting customer action, indeed quite the opposite.

High rolling is not a discipline for everyone. To even attempt it one must have the money to stake in the first place (and be prepared to lose it), and then some considerable knowledge of the market in order to ensure at the very least that losses are kept to a minimum, and ideally that a profit is made.

Reproduced with acknowledgements to Sports Review.