The Dangers of Match-Betting at Sportsbooks

A sportsbook is a place where people can bet on various sporting events. A person can bet on which team will win an event, how many points or goals will be scored, or even a specific player’s performance. The sportsbook will usually have clearly labeled odds and lines that can be reviewed by gamblers.

The legalized sports betting market has boomed since a 2018 Supreme Court decision gave states the right to permit it. But it isn’t without risks. Among them is the threat of “match-betting,” in which a gambler makes one bet on one side while hedges it by placing a bet on the other, guaranteeing a risk-free profit no matter the outcome of the game. This is the practice that Mike, a soft-spoken man with a long red beard who runs DarkHorseOdds, has mastered.

Mike says that he got started in matched betting about a year and a half ago. After he noticed an offer from a sportsbook that he could use to cover a wager, he tried his hand at it and quickly discovered that his strategy was foolproof. Within a month, he was able to generate an extra $5,000 a month by combining promotions from FanDuel Inc., DraftKings LLC and other online bookmakers.

While Mike’s hedging strategy is designed to maximize profit, it also has the potential to hurt the bottom line at sportsbooks. That’s because sportsbooks keep detailed records of each bet placed by a gambler, tracked when they log in to a mobile app or swipe their card at the betting window. This data can be used to identify and limit sharp customers, whose wagers may cost the sportsbook money in the short term.

A bettor who wants to make a bet should first do thorough research before choosing a sportsbook. This can include reading independent reviews of the site from reputable sources. It’s also important to choose a sportsbook that treats its customers fairly, has adequate security measures to protect personal information, and pays out winning bets expediently and accurately.

As state regulators weigh the risks of legalizing sports betting, they’re examining a range of issues including how to determine whether a gambling company is trustworthy and how to set odds for different types of bets. They’re also reviewing the terms, conditions and regulations of sportsbooks to ensure they comply with federal law.

The sportsbook industry has been expanding rapidly, with new operators entering the marketplace every day. Some are focusing on the lucrative market for online and mobile sports betting, while others are pursuing brick-and-mortar locations. The latter are more expensive, but they have the advantage of being able to accept cash bets from customers.

Regardless of the approach taken, all sportsbooks have to address the issue of attracting and keeping a steady base of customers. This is especially crucial for online sportsbooks, which can attract a larger number of customers than traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. This is because they can offer a wide variety of products and services, from streaming to live betting.