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Arbitrage Risks

In theory arbitrage betting is 100% risk free. However, in practice several risks can appear. Since all risks have solutions we can say that all risks are unnecessary and result of trader's inexperience or lack of knowledge. By applying simple advice from arbitrage advice page and keeping attention while trading you can completely avoid or significantly reduce all possible risks. Here is a list of risks that can occur and solutions to eliminate or reduce them.

Betting odds change

This happens if you decide to trade on old arb, an arbitrage opportunity that is available for a long time. The solution to this risk is quite simple: you should ensure that your trading process doesn't leave you exposed for longer than a few seconds. It is always a good practice to open bookmakers' websites in separate browser tabs, log on and find the required bets. Then you should prepare each bet slip with all the details. After everything is prepared it is easy to press "submit" on each site one after another and finish the process in less than a few seconds. Also, you can gain significant advantage if you have broadband internet connection. In the event you place one bet but the odds change before you place the remaining bet(s), you should have a procedure for covering your exposure. The easiest way to cover exposure is to use arbitrage software and find the next best price. This way, in the worst scenario you will end with 2% loss.

Bookmaker voids the bet

In case of obvious error bookmakers can void the bet. The obvious error happens when bookmakers place the wrong betting odds on sports event they cover. The solution is to learn how to recognize obvious errors. As the name says, obvious errors are easily to notice since bookmakers can only mix odds, handicap signs or make a typing error.

Bookmaker restricts your stake, leaving you partially exposed

For example, you place $2,000 bet at bookmaker A and need to place $8,000 bet at bookmaker B, but bookmaker B restricts you to $5,000. In order to cover your exposure, you need to place another $3,000 bet. Some bookmakers will allow you to place multiple bets on the same event, while others won't, so you will need to find the third bookmaker, desirably using arbitrage betting software, with the highest odds for the outcome that is still not covered. In worst case scenario you will end with break even trade. To prevent this kind of risk, you should check maximum stake restrictions at bookmakers you use. Also, it is a good practice to place higher bet or bet at limiting bookmaker first.

Difference in bookmakers' rules results with a loss

The next unnecessary risk is when bookmakers have different rules for settling a sports match in case of a special event. These special events are: player retirement before the end of the game due to injury in tennis, pitcher change in baseball, extra time in basketball, etc. Although these situations are rare, the best practice is to combine bookmakers with the same or similar rule in your arbitrage bets. So you need to read bookmakers rules and divide them in categories according to their settlement rules, or you can use arbitrage software that already has built in rule compatibility filter.

The risks from the above occur rarely and are minor in comparison to risks trader's inexperience and inattentiveness can cause. Although it is recommended to learn the solutions for unnecessary risks, the most important step for arbitrage beginners is trading with small stakes. Experience gained from trading with small stakes and paying attention while placing trades will eliminate mistakes like placing bets on the wrong player/team/event, placing duplicate bets and similar mistakes which can be quite expensive and may require four, five or even more arbitrage bets to cover your loss.

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