If you’ve been betting online for a while, you’ll probably already be familiar with live betting. This was made a practical possibility by sports betting sites operating online, where centrally quoting live odds becomes much easier.
Now, it’s possible to bet on the next goal scorer, the final result, the next point winner – all while the sporting event in question is in progress. Cash out is another development on the theme, giving players the ability to settle their bets early for a fraction of what they would otherwise win.
Cash out works by offering players a settlement fee, a price at which they have the option to get out of the bet. So, if you stand to win £10 on your bet, you might be offered an early cash out of £5 along the way. Take the cash out, and you bank £5 for your bet and exit the position in the black.
Even if you would have eventually lost your bet, the cash out closes your exposure – you take the cash out amount and move on. Similarly, if you take a cash out too early, and the result comes up for you, hard luck – you settled for the early offer.
This changes the dynamic between bookmaker and punter, as well as often skewing the odds and probabilities you have to contend with. Depending on your betting strategy, there may be times when a cash out offer looks more attractive than sticking around until the end. But there are a number of factors to consider when weighing up cash out offers that can make this a bit more complex.
Cash Outs are the bookie’s attempt to reduce their liabilities and wrap up positions early, often in response to changing outcomes in the betting event itself.
Put yourself in their shoes. With any fixture, you have bets on both sides of the equation. A simple win or lose bet, for the simplicity of this example, will have a number of people winning on “Win”, and a number of people winning on “Lose”, at 100 percent of their return rate as agreed at the time the bets were taken.
At the start of the fixture, it could go either way, and there is no additional information to factor in when calculating the odds of a result either way. If one team scores, this calculus is changed entirely, given they now have a definite advantage in the battle to win the fixture. In other words, the true odds of that outcome have just become much shorter.
Now, you are looking at an increased likelihood you’ll have to pay out on all bets on the Win side at 100 percent. But as a crafty bookie, you start offering cash outs at 30 percent. If the result stays the same, this is saving you money. If the result goes further in your favour, this starts to look like a very good deal indeed.
If the result goes against you, it’s a loss on a position that would have otherwise come good, but more often than not the cash out offer works well for the bookies across the board. As long as more first-scoring teams go on to win their games than not, proportionate to the odds and payouts on offer, the bookie has retained a bigger margin than would otherwise be the case.
Obviously, in reality nothing is left to chance. The bookies each have advanced algorithms in place, calculating the amount of the cash out payments they want to offer at any moment in time, based on the twists and turns of the betting event in question. While cashing out can still be the most sensible move for the gambler in any given situation, overall it gives the bookies a further statistical house edge.
|Betting Site||Partial Cashout||Available Sports||Disallowed Bets|
|Every Sport||System Bets, Forecast/Tricast Bets, Acca Bets, placed together with System Bets via the 'Multiples’ section, Free bets|
|Australian Rules, Cricket, Basketball, Football, Horse Racing, Rugby League/ Union, Baseball, Tennis||Free bets|
|Every Sport||Free bets, Accumulator bets|
|Football, tennis, cricket, rugby league/union, boxing, baseball, basketball, American football, and ice hockey.||Lucky15s , Yankee, Heinz , Super Heinz or Goliath’s|
|Football, Tennis, Horse racing, Golf, Basketball||Antepost Bets, Enhanced Specials|
|Data Not Available||Bet Bundles, Enhanced Multiples|
|Every Sport||Free Bets|
|Football, Tennis, GAA, Snooker, Darts, Rugby, Cricket, Baseball and Basketball.||Data N/A|
|Every Sport||System bets, FreeBets, Bets placed using bonus money. Combi+ bets. PROTEKTOR Bets, Bets where the cashout value is 0. Bets linked with promotional offers|
|Football, Rugby, Tennis, Darts, Snooker, Cricket, Boxing, Snooker||Free Bets|
|Every Sport||Accumulator bets, Free bets, Enhanced odds|
|Selected Football markets, on single Sportsbook bets and Sportsbook single line multiple bets (i.e. accumulators). I||Full cover bets (i.e. trixies, Lucky 15s, Heinz etc), Free Bets, Number of selections in the accumulator is more than 14|
|Every Sport||Accumulator bets, Free bets, System bets|
|Every Sport||Accumulator bets, free bets|
|Every Sport||"System Bets Forecast/Tricast Bets Outright Winners To be Promoted/Relegated Bet Types|
|Every Sport||Free Bets, Promotional Offers|
|Data N/A||Data N/A|
|Football, Horse Racing, Tennis, Darts||Data N/A|
|Every Sport Except Racing||Free Bets|
‘Cashing Out’ is a relatively new angle to online betting, first pioneered by Betfair Sports, and introduced in 2011. Their internal data shows that cash out alone was the second most popular reason given by new players for signing up – a small hint at just how popular betting in this way has become. Betfair offer cash out on their exchange as well as their regular sports book, and it remains a major feature of their platform.
Before too long, they were joined by Bet365, who expanded and enhanced the offer to cover an ever growing range of betting markets and events, with accumulators and other multiple bets among the most popular cash out bets they offer. Paddy Power betting and others soon joined in on the action, and while many offer a more limited range of cash out bets, it is becoming something of a standard feature in the industry. As more players learn of the flexibility cash out offers it looks set to become an even more prevalent feature of sports betting in the years to come.
The cash out feature was a huge marketing advantage for Betfair, playing a large part in its rise to become one of the internet’s top sportsbooks. But once its leading rivals had hopped on the bandwagon, a new innovation was called for, and thus partial cash out was born.
Partial cash out allows the bettor to use a slider to select a portion of their available cash out amount for immediate settlement, with the remainder left to ride on the final result. In most cases – but not all – the remainder of your original bet is recalculated to reflect the odds at the time of the partial cash out. Some bookies, like Betfair, allow you to cash out the exact percentage you wish. Others, including Coral, only allow you to cash out in increments of 10%.
It can be difficult to predict how your betting slip will pan out. Sometimes, taking an early cash out payment if it’s good enough makes sense, hedging against the risk that you might still actually walk away with nothing. In other cases, you might be better riding your luck until the results are settled, especially if you are looking like your bet will come up. In some scenarios, it might even be a case of salvaging something from a losing bet, essentially limiting your own maximum exposure when things aren’t going your way.
The best way to think about Cash Outs is to consider them an insurance policy. If you’re feeling nervous your ticket will come up, and you’re being offered a decent amount, it may be worth plumping for the early settlement and moving on to your next bet.
Whatever call you make, best practice dictates that you should record your decisions and think about whether you made the right move or not. This can help you start to develop a more intuitive feel over time for using cash out to your advantage.
There are several reasons why you may not be able to cash out on a bet you’ve placed.
Incompatible Market – If you are not presented with a cash out option it’s likely because it is not available on the sport (or competition) on which you’re betting. Availability of cash out varies between bookies, but the more obscure sports, leagues and competitions are unlikely to support the option. See the list of sports available for cash out in the table above.
Incompatible Bet – Another reason you might not see cash out is because the bet type does not support it. Specials, like Paddy Powers’ Double Chance bets, are most likely to fall into this category.
Free Bet Restriction – Cash out usually isn’t available on free bet offers, because it would give punters the opportunity to take advantage by cashing out and claiming most of the free bet amount without any risk. However, it might be offered if the cash out exceeds the free bet amount, with only the excess returned to the punter.
Market Volatility – Cash out calculations are based on up-to-the-second analysis of match events and bettor activity. If a goal is scored, or a player sent off, cash out might be temporarily suspended while likely outcomes are recalculated. Market suspensions are more likely to happen towards the end of a game.
It’s too late – Even cash out can’t help you if there’s no longer any chance your bet can win. If the cash out amount drops to zero, then the option to cash out will be removed.
Knowing that cash out operates on the latest technology and moment-to-moment calculations, bookies are careful to strictly limit their liability in the event of a technological or market failure. In most cases, if there is a problem with the cash out feature the bet will stand on the final result.