It’s easier than ever to bet on sports today – thanks in large part to mobile devices and the huge number of betting apps available. Millions of people bet on sports around the world – surveys suggest about 7% of the UK population ‘has a flutter’ each month.
For most people, placing a bet on football, the horses or boxing is nothing more than a bit of fun in their free time. However, a growing number of people are taking sports betting increasingly seriously – either to supplement their income or even go ‘pro’.
If you are taking your sports betting to the next level, it’s valuable to plan how you will manage your bankroll (the money you make available for betting) and how you will pay yourself.
Here are the key considerations for managing your money when betting on sports.
Why money management is important for sports betting
So, you’ve got a head for numbers, can keep your cool and are willing to dedicate the time to knowing one or two sports inside out? Sports betting could be a great way to earn money.
It is believed that professional bettors are ‘right’ about 53% of the time – so you’re going to have to be placing hundreds of bets and often quite large sums over the course of the year to make a decent living. Nonetheless it can be worthwhile - one US website reckons professional sports bettors earn between $50,000 and $150,000 annually, while even part-time bettors in the UK can earn up to £20,000 per year, tax-free.
Ultimately, successful sports bettors treat their gambling like a business rather than an emotional or ‘fun’ activity. Most professional sports bettors use specialist bank accounts to hold their money which is separate to their personal spending money – they normally pay themselves a ‘wage’ out of their winnings. They also dedicate hours to following specific competitions for gossip and news and they keep dedicated records of all their spending over time.
If you’re looking to take your interest in sports betting to the next level, it’s important to plan how you’ll manage your money. This is because:
It protects you from ‘chasing losses’
You will inevitably have losing streaks if you bet frequently. However, if you have a money management plan, it will make you bet more consistently and therefore help you avoid the temptation to try and claw back losses with ever bigger bets.
It protects you from ‘chasing wins’
You will also have winning streaks. It obviously feels great when this happens, but it’s easy to become overconfident and make ever bigger, riskier bets – which could see you lose all your gains.
Having a money management plan therefore makes it less likely that you’ll run out of money and can stay in control.
Common sports betting money management strategies
As you are starting out with sports betting, it is worthwhile getting accustomed with some of the bankroll management methods that professionals use. ‘Bankroll’ is simply the term used for the money you set aside for gambling. It is highly recommended that you keep this money separate from your personal cash to avoid mixing your ‘working’ money with personal spending budget.
Once you have created your bankroll, you then need to decide on the technique you are going to use for your betting going forward. The key for professional sports betting is consistency – bettors who follow a plan tend to do much better than those without one.
Here are some of the most common bankroll management techniques:
Fixed and proportional stakes
With a fixed or proportional stake, you commit to only ever betting the same stake or percentage of your total bankroll on each bet. Typically, experts recommend fixed stakes bettors wager no more than 1-5% of their bankroll each time.
Example: You have a bankroll of £1,000 and decide to set yourself a limit of 1% of your bankroll for every single bet you ever make (i.e. £10). You would therefore never place a bet higher or lower than £10, even if the odds are especially favourable.
Naturally, your bankroll will rise and fall over time, so a proportional betting strategy is a smart approach. If you were down to £900 and had set yourself a rule of 1%, you wouldn’t bet more than £9 for your next bet.
A variable staking strategy gives you more flexibility and depends more on your judgement. You might set yourself a rule to place a higher percentage of your bankroll when you’re more confident of a specific outcome, and less when your confidence is lower, or the return is worse.
Example: You set yourself a limit of 1% of your bankroll when the odds are high but might allow yourself to bet 3% of your bankroll when the odds are low.
Because it is more variable, this method usually requires more research for each bet.
Kelly, Martingale, Fibonacci methods and others
There are several other more complicated strategies for managing your bankroll that some sports bettors prefer. You’ll need to calculate formulas and they require a certain level of expertise, but they work for some. Read about them in more detail here.
Managing your winnings from sports betting
If you are starting to take your sports betting more seriously or are considering going pro, it’s recommended to manage your bankroll in a separate account from your personal money. And this is where gambling accounts like Xace can help.
Xace was specifically designed to meet the needs of online sports bettors and gamblers. If you have ever tried to make and receive multiple international payments from a regular bank account during a big sports day, you’ll know how complicated, slow and costly the process can be.
And so we designed Xace specifically to support professional gamblers and bettors. Our accounts allow you to make unlimited transactions each day, which makes it much smoother to manage your cash. The account also comes with a virtual debit card and is licensed with all AML and KYC registered betting sites. It also allows you to set up and receive direct debits, allowing you to pay yourself consistently.