Cash out is a feature that almost every punter will be familiar with. The cash out tool either allows you to secure your profits or minimise losses before the event has even finished. As tempting as it can be to take the money and run, cashing out is hugely in favour of the bookmakers.

I would imagine by now everyone has experienced both sides of the cash out feature. One time you feel it is right to take the money as you have a gut feeling that the team you bet on will concede. You cash out and what happens? You’re a betting legend who has predicted the future. They concede and you laugh at Bet365 for outsmarting them. Then there’s the flip side. You can’t see your bet coming in, so decide to take the money at a small loss and move on, only to see your 6 fold accumulator would have landed, making you dream about how close you were to a nice payday. Either way, whether you made the ‘correct’ decision or not, the bookmakers are delighted to see you using the cash out option. Let’s have a look at why.

Firstly, let’s look at this simply. Almost every bookmaker has introduced cash out, which I assume has cost them a lot of money. With that, they’re all pushing it in your face. It’s on all of their adverts, plastered across their websites and is essentially used as a selling point for you to use them. This in itself is a perfect reason to be suspicious. At the end of the day, the bookmakers want to make as much money as possible. The feature wasn’t introduced and heavily promoted because they were thinking about the financial welfare of their customers.

Now we can take a look at this from another standpoint. Let’s say theoretically, the majority of the time the punter is immediately at a disadvantage when they place a bet. This is because they will be backing a selection at a price that is not necessarily representative of the true odds. When the bookmakers price up events, they will never run the book at 100%. They will reduce the odds as necessary to create a bookmaker’s margin, which is a measure of the bookmaker’s profit margin for an event. So with that in mind, the bet is firstly placed in theory at –EV odds. Now if you decide to cash this bet out, you are putting yourself at an even bigger disadvantage by taking unfavourable odds again, which will end up having a huge impact on your long term profit/loss.

Here is a very simple example of how taking a cash out will only help make the bookies richer:

Stake Leg Odds Status Combined Odds True Value
£20 1 2.38 Won 2.38 47.60
  2 2.20 Won 5.24 104.80
  3 2.50 Won 13.09 261.80
  4 1.80 To Run 23.56 471.20


Here the punter was offered a cash out of £235 after bet 3 won. The true value of the bet was actually £261.80, making the margin in the cash out around 10%. Although the margin will vary for each cash out, it shows how you are put at a greater disadvantage using the feature.

So, as exciting as it can be to cash out your bet, you’re best off avoiding it entirely. There are only probably very few situations where it is the right thing to do, but keep it in mind that if the opponents are pressing and you can sense a goal coming, the bookmakers will also be aware of this and will adjust their cash out offer accordingly. Patience may not be a gamblers best trait, but make sure you have plenty of it when you’re staring at a tempting cash out offer.