How to Promo Arb the 2018 Spring Carnival

Spring Carnival is the highlight of the racing season in Australia. It started last weekend with Memsie Stakes Day (September 2nd) and runs right through until the Sandown Classic on November 18th.

Spring Carnival is typically the most competitive time of year for corporate bookmakers, particularly with football finals on as well. The competition leads to marketing wars, as bookmakers try to capture new punters and retain existing ones through weekly offers.

For a savvy punter, these promotions can be used to your advantage through a technique called matched betting (or promotional arbitrage). Plus, Spring Carnival is the best time of the year to participate.

Bonus Money, a site dedicated to matched betting, offers a free Spring Carnival guide that includes a calendar of all the offers and the various ways to potentially profit from them.

Why is Spring Carnival good for matched betting?

Spring Carnival is the most opportune time of the year for matched bettors for a number of reasons:

  1. Significant sign up bonuses
  2. A greater amount of races offering promotions
  3. Increased liquidity in Betfair
  4. Opportunities for promotion banned punters to still profit

Are you ready to take advantage of bookmaker promotions and potentially lock in risk-free profit?

1. Increased Sign Up Bonuses

Successful matched bettors usually open betting accounts at most of the corporate bookmakers. This allows them to access as many sign up bonuses and weekly promotions as possible.

During Spring Carnival, these sign up bonuses are usually at their peak. You’ll find $650 free bets with some affiliates and $500 at others. These incentives were dropping as low as $50 from some operators, however, Spring Carnival competition drives these numbers up.

To take advantage of sign up offers, check out our detailed example here. Alternatively, you can check out the interactive Matched Betting Guide from Bonus Money.

2. More Races Offering Promotions

The bookies already have horse racing promotions on many days of the week. However, with the increase in quality horse racing days during the carnival comes an increased amount of offers from bookmakers.

The most common offer includes getting a bonus or cashback if your horse doesn’t win but comes second or third.

The simplest way to profit from these is to find a horse whose odds at the bookies closely match that of the lay odds on the Betfair Exchange.

If you back at the bookmaker and lay on Betfair then no matter where your horse comes you will often incur a small qualifying loss. However, if your horse comes second or third then you gain either bonus cash or a bonus bet.

Here’s the simple breakdown of how to potentially profit from these promotions

Step 1 – Find a race that offers a horse racing promotion
Step 2 – Find a horse who’s odds closely matches the lay odds at Betfair
Step 3 – Back your horse at the bookmaker
Step 4 – Lay your horse on Betfair
Step 5 – If the horse doesn’t win but comes in the specified place for the bonus trigger then you’ve either got bonus cash or a bonus bet

There are two slightly tricky elements to profiting from these promotions with the odds at both the bookies and Betfair moving around quickly shortly before the jump.

  1. Finding a horse whose back odds match closely with Betfair’s lay odds
  2. Knowing the exact amount to lay to get an equal qualifying cost regardless of where your horse finishes

Fortunately, a Chrome Extension called Matcha makes both of these tasks easy for you. It highlights in green whenever there is a match with a low qualifying cost and tells you the exact amount to lay the horse on Betfair to gain an equal qualifying cost.

(The image above shows a ‘green’ match on the horse Cerebellum which is odds of $5.00 to back at the bookmaker and can be laid at $5.30 on Betfair. The stake required to get an equal match is $47.62 which would result in a qualifying loss of $4.77)

Quick Maths

Let’s assume a bookmaker is offering you a cash bonus of $50 if your horse comes second or third.

We have found a horse at the bookie that can be backed at $3.10 at the bookmaker and can be laid at $3.15 on Betfair.

Although the bookmaker gives odds of $1.4 for the place by checking the place odds on Betfair we can see a much fairer estimation of the horse placing is $1.59.

Therefore using an odds converter we can see that:

  • The chance of the horse winning is = 31.75%
  • The chance of the horse coming in the top 3 = 62.89%
  • Therefore the chance of the horse coming 2nd or 3rd = (62.89-31.75) = 31.14%
  • And chance of it not coming 2nd or 3rd = (100-31.14) = 68.86%
  • If the horse comes second or third you get a cash bonus of $50 so our profit would be $50-$4.26 = $45.74

The Bonus Money Matcha image above shows that if you were back and lay for an equal result factoring in the commision at Betfair, you would lose $4.26

Knowing these things we are able to show the value you are getting over the bookmaker in two different ways:

Expected Value (EV)

This is the amount you could expect to make on average by repeatedly placing this bet.

The equation to work out EV is (Profit if bonus triggers * chance of it triggering) – (Cost if bonus doesn’t trigger * chance of it not triggering)

= ($45.74 * 31.14%) – ($4.26 * 68.86%)

= $11.31

Therefore on average you would expect to make $11.31 by placing this bet

Calculating the Overs

The enhanced odds you are getting using the promotion for the horse to finish second or third.

We already know that there is a 31.14% chance for the horse to finish second or third. That in decimal odds is 3.21

We are paying $4.26 for our chance to win $45.74 so the odds we are getting are 45.74/4.26 = 10.73

So we are effectively getting 10.73 odds on the true chance of 3.21

Now if the maths above seems daunting, and it can, then it’s useful to know that this is merely an illustration of the value. As long as you select a green match when using Matcha you are getting value and can potentially be profitable in the long term.

It’s also worth noting that although the profitability on each individual race may vary, there are going to be hundreds of these types of promotions throughout the carnival.

A full calendar of promotions on offer and more in depth guides to profiting from all the various horse racing promotions can be found in the Bonus Money Spring Carnival guide.

3. Increased Liquidity in Betfair

The biggest races always attract the most money in Betfair. This helps matched bettors in many ways.

  1. You can get bets matched a lot earlier on in the day. Bonus Money will be keeping a diary of matched bets for the big races where you can see the bets they are getting on early.
  2. Having more liquidity in the market means it’s easier to turn over those larger sign up bonuses.
  3. The increased liquidity also allows you to get matched on much larger bets to allow you to take advantage of bet boosts that create potentially risk free arbs.
  4. The opportunity to turnover several bonus bets that you have obtained from bookies promotions. With the increased liquidity, you can potentially get a high return from the value of your bonus bets.

Are you ready to take advantage of the BSP and get bigger returns on your bets this Spring?

4. Opportunities for promotion banned punters to profit

Generally speaking, bookmakers do not like customers that execute matched betting strategies as they aren’t usually profitable for the bookmaker. When they identify this behaviour they may remove promotions from the account. At which time an email will be sent from the bookmaker, to the matched bettor.

Despite the restrictions Spring Carnival offers a couple of ways for the punter to still profit further.

Using Odds Boosts

A promotion ban email from bookmakers does not limit your access to all of their products. Odds Boosts are a great way to create arbitrage. The Matcha software can help you easily spot opportunities to do this. Of course after a period of time the bookmaker may limit any sophisticated punter from accessing these as well.

Taking The Value Created By Matched Bettors

This is an advanced technique and bridges the gap to trading on Betfair.

Most matched bettors like to get their lay bet matched to ensure equal profits as soon as possible. If a bookmaker offers an enhanced price on a particular horse then if many matched bettors wish to lay the bet the odds of the selection may increase to a point that it would be valuable to back. A shrewd punter could offer up money for matched bettors to take expecting the price to come in closer to the event as more money hits the market.


Spring Carnival is a great time for matched bettors. The sign up bonuses are at their most generous point and so are the race day promotions. We recommend checking the Spring Carnival offer calendar for the best opportunities. Plus, another resource to familiarise yourself with is Matcha. Bonus Money’s tools make matched betting even easier.

How to Promo Arb the FIFA World Cup

The Promo Arber goes over a recommended strategy while betting on the World Cup

The Promo Arber’s Betting Strategy

Yes, I bet you secretly laughed at your Nana or your next-door neighbour who kept every supermarket discount docket; ...

Matched Betting: A New Way To Bet (For Australians)

The prevalence of bookie promotions has paved the way for a new betting method. Or a new method for ...