How Does Cashout Work?

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Many online bookmakers now allow you to cash out your bet before the match or race is over. This relatively new feature has become available on an increasing number of sports, including football, tennis, cricket, rugby and horse racing.

In the past, once you’d placed your bet you’d have to wait until the event ended to collect your winnings. The cashout feature, on the other hand, allows you to lock in a profit before or during the event, or to cut your losses and recover some of your stake if the tide has turned against you.

In professional sports betting and trading, each set of betting options is referred to as a ‘market’. For example, ‘Chelsea to win, lose or draw’ is one market; ‘Arsenal to score in the first half’ is another. The cashout offer on your chosen market is set in real time by the bookmaker, based on the current odds (also known as ‘market prices’). So, you can guarantee a return — be it profit or loss — before the market for your selection closes, i.e. before the event ends.

The cashout feature is available on certain accumulator bets as well. For example, say you bet £10 on a double for Leicester City to beat Arsenal at odds of 5/1, then Tottenham to win away at odds 7/2. The City game kicks off at 12pm and you win your bet. You’ll now be presented with the option of cashing out early for £50, netting a profit before the Spurs game even starts — or, you can stay in and hope for a bigger win from the double.

Why Use Cashout?

The cashout feature has become an attractive option for many sports punters. It can add a new dimension to your betting portfolio, allowing you to manage risk more effectively and take back control if things start to go wrong.

When used in-play the cashout feature helps to reduce the level of uncertainty, and you don’t have to play the traditional waiting game until the event finishes. If you’re happy with the cashout profit shown on-screen, you can jump out early and safeguard your winnings. If things start to go pear-shaped, you can minimise the loss before your stake is fully depleted.

Some bookies also now offer a partial cashout feature (or ‘cashout plus’), meaning that you can keep a portion of your profit or take a loss, but stay in the bet with a reduced stake at different odds. This enables you to strike a balance between the cashout amount and the risk of seeing the match or race through to the finish.

When used on in-play multiples the cashout feature can be very productive, since there’s often no need to risk your full stake by waiting until all your selections have finished.

On Boxing Day 2016 a Betfair punter turned a £1 bet into £223,000, after he cashed out on a 21-team acca. If he’d stayed in four minutes longer, he would have lost his pound and won nothing.

How Does Cashout Work?

William Hill cashout betslip

By introducing the cashout system, the bookies are taking on the role of a betting exchange like Betfair or Smarkets. However, cashout is quicker and simpler with the traditional bookmakers, as there’s no need for you to manage both back and lay bets. There’s also no commission fee.

After you’ve placed your bet, your available cashout rate is calculated using a formula which includes your original odds and stake size as well as the current odds.

If you decide to cash out your bet, the money you’ll receive depends on three factors:

  1. When you decide to cash out.

The longer the game or race continues, the more you’ll make or lose, depending on the current run of play. Remember, an unforeseen event can swing the odds against you, wiping out any potential cashout profit in seconds.

  1. The status of any previous selections.

If your bet is part of a multiple, the result of the previous event will have a positive or negative impact on the value of your cashout.

  1. The current odds of your unfinished bet.

The odds will usually change — both pre- and in-game — depending on the amount of money the punters are putting into each outcome. If the odds shorten on your selection(s), your cashout amount will increase.

Say you put a single £20 bet on Barcelona to win the first half of the El Clásico match with Real Madrid. Barca score after 25 minutes, so the odds drop in your favour. At this point you can cash out for a profit on your stake, or you can risk waiting for the maximum win at half time.

This is actually a simplified form of sports trading. It’s similar to what day traders do on the financial markets.

How To Cash Out Your Bet

The cashout feature is typically limited to single and single-line multiple (acca) sportsbook bets, so it’s not available on every market.

The bookmakers indicate which selections are up for pre- and in-game cashout, so you can identify them before you place your bet. Generally there’ll be a small label or symbol next to the market or on the betting form, so make sure you check first if you’re thinking about cashing out in-game. See below the green cashout button used by Ladbrokes as an example.

Ladbrokes cashout button

Once you’ve placed your bet, you should see the ‘cash-out’ or ‘cash in’ button near to your original bet. Usually you’ll receive a confirmation message if you press it, so be prepared if you need to jump out quickly.

The majority of bookies pay out as soon as you confirm your cashout, although for the betting exchanges (Betfair, Matchbook) you’ll need to wait until your chosen market closes.

The vast majority of online betting sites offer some kind of cashout feature, at least for the most popular sporting events. However, the quality of these features and sites can vary, as can the range of markets available. We’ve picked out three bookies that excel in this particular area.


Lock in with cash out at Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes has established itself as one of the best cashout betting sites. The feature is available on a good selection of sporting events and continues to expand. The company’s website and app are well-designed and very easy to learn. A green cashout button will let you know if the cashout offer is on.

Ladbrokes were one of the earliest adopters of the partial cashout option. An easy-to-use slider allows you to choose whether to cash out your entire bet or select a percentage of your stake to leave in.

The feature is also available on selected high profile football accas, increasing the chances of a big win from an in-play cashout.


Betfred mobile cashout

In addition to comprehensive live stream and in-play areas, Betfred also offers cashout on many of the most popular sports markets, including football, golf and tennis. Although the site doesn’t yet provide a partial cashout option, the standard feature is available on most UK and Irish racing events for both single and each-way accumulators.

Used strategically, the cashout feature is a great tool to have in your betting arsenal. If you learn how to apply it at the right time, there’s no doubt it’ll improve your long-term profits.

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