An explanation of how you can bet that a horse will not win its race and profit from it losing.

Thanks to the betting exchanges, such as Betfair, Betdaq or Betmate, you can make money by betting on a losing horse. The exchanges are not new, having been around for several years now, but what they do is still a revelation to many gamblers.

How is this possible?

On a betting exchange, you can bet on a horse to lose its race instead of just to win; this is called “laying a horse to lose”. The result is is the following: all the other horses in the race are trying to win for you, and if any but the horse you picked do win, then your horse loses and you win the bet!

If your lay is successful, and you wagered one dollar, then you win a dollar from someone else. The downside of these bets is that if your horse decides to be awkward and goes and wins the race, you have to pay out to those who backed it to win, just as a bookmaker would. So, if the odds against the horse winning were six to one, and you had bet that same dollar, you would pay out six dollars.

You can see how it's a good idea to be sure that your horse will lose, and you might say to yourself, "I will just bet on no-hopers that cannot win, and make piles of money!”

Not so fast. The less likely a horse is to win its race, the higher the odds against it; you could end up paying out one hundred dollars for your one dollar bet if a one hundred to one shot wins. And while this doesn't happen often, it does happen, and when it does, it can ruin your whole day.

Is this safe?

These Betting Exchanges are strictly run under regulations set by the country where they are based – often the UK or Ireland, which have very tight financial controls.

There are exceptions, however, and if you think you can make some money this way, or just want a little fun, make sure to check out first with whom you are dealing,

Also, at this time, it is not legal for a US resident to use the Exchanges.

Can I make money at this "reverse betting"?

There are many approaches to making lay betting profitable. It can be done; after all, bookmakers, as a group, are not poverty stricken, and this is just what they do: lay horses to lose.

Some people spend hours and days delving into horse racing form, the conditions of the ground at tracks, what was said by the stable boy, who was just fired by a major trainer; armed with that knowledge, horses can be profitably layed to lose their races. Others, try and find out where those “in the know” are betting, and then do the same. Sometimes, this works too. Another angle, however, and one I favour, is to look at the horse races and their odds as a numbers game.

Everything in betting follows the laws of probability, and horse racing is no exception. A full understanding of probability, will help you win real money laying horses to lose.

More on “how to win money” in another article, but for now, sign up to an exchange (its easy!), play a little, and have some fun. But please remember: never, ever bet with money you can't afford to lose!