One particularly hot topic among punters in sports betting is the ever popular ‘cash out’ option.
Firstly, let’s not get the description confused. In the casino world, some people refer to cashing out as simply getting your money for real, i.e., a withdrawal request after a win.
In this case though, cashing out means something else.
For years it was the case that you made your bet, waited to see if it won or lost, then either went to collect your winnings or went home and hoped nobody asked you about it.
These days though, there are so many more freedoms available to bettors, and the ability to cash out is one of the most liberating.
What Is a Cash Out?
Cash out is a feature built into online betting platforms which allows you to settle a bet early. It means you are accepting a pay out which is of a lesser value to your full potential win, but this way, you don’t have to wait for the race, game or competition to be completed either. You do give up a portion of your winnings, but you get those winnings at the point you are ready to end your bet, not when the bookmaker decides.
The positive is that if you take the cash out offered by a bookmaker, it essentially locks in some profit as long as your selection is doing well.
In football, that means your team going 1-0 up for example. In horse racing, a positive cash out will be offered in-running if your horse is going well, or even before the race if your horse has been very heavily backed.
You may back a horse at 5/1 for £20, with a total payout value therefore of £120. If the horse drifts in the market, or is going badly when the race is off, you may find the bookie offering you a lower cash out of, say, £14 or less.
At that point, you’d have to decide whether you think the horse will lose. If so, cashing out means cutting your losses and admitting defeat, saving you from a bigger loss, but on the other hand, if the horse went on to recover ground and win, you would be out of pocket if you had already cashed out.
A positive cash out value would come when the opposite scenario happens. If said horse was backed severely, for example from 5/1 all the way into 2/1, the bookie accepts that a win for this horse is now perceived to be far more likely than before and so instead of potentially paying out £120, they may offer a cash out higher than the original stake, for example £30.
This means the punter may decide to just take £10 of profit before the race has even been run. On the one hand it’s an easy win, on the other though, it just lets bookmakers off the hook when you’ve got your selection right.
Do All Bookies Offer Cash Outs?
In the general sports betting world, cashing out is commonplace now even with smaller brands, but not necessarily with horse racing.
The major brands will usually offer a cash out value on horse racing, making it one of the things to research when choosing a bookmaker in the first place, but of course, once the race is off this option won’t be there for long.
Why Some Punters Accept Cash Outs
Given that the advertised benefit to a punter is to lock in some winnings, the cash out feature on a sports betting website is seen by some as a positive. Many simply don’t want to take the risk of letting a competition, in this case a horse race, play out when there is money on offer.
Some also believe that they can tell by watching the first part of a race if their horse is going badly. With that info, they can take the negative value in a cash out and simply cut their losses to avoid losing the whole stake. They look at it as a way to cut risk.
Many people, rather than seeing the negative side of cashing out, which definitely exists, are rather enjoying what looks like a negotiation between punters and bookies we never had before.
Some cash outs are done out of panic too. Some horse racing punters, it has to be said, place too much importance on the betting market.
When a horse drifts markedly in the betting, some punters believe that the bookmakers know something they don’t, and that there is now no way the horse can win. With that fear, they take a cash out value and cut their losses.
The fact is however, that statistically, more money is made by drifting horses. Their record isn’t as bad as many believe and the higher odds simply benefit those who keep their nerve.
How to Take the Cash Out
For those who do want to go ahead and accept the amount offered live by the bookmaker, rest assured that cashing out is made very easy. That in itself may tell you something, mind you.
Once a bet is placed, it is in your bet slip. Clicking within the race in question will show any bets you’ve placed, or you can go to the separate ‘my bets’ section or something similar.
This brings up the details of the bet including the stake you placed, the odds you took, your expected return and your current cash out amount. Clicking on ‘cash out’ will then end the bet early for the amount agreed on screen, that money hitting your account immediately.
It’s important to say at this point though, that you shouldn’t rely on cash outs. They are not contractual. Bookmakers do not have to offer them and can take them away at any point. Even if a cash out was initially offered on your horse racing bet, you may click back in to take it and find it missing.
There is no recourse for this and it is the bookmakers’ prerogative.
How Are Cash Out Values Calculated?
The world of odds setting and trading is a mystery to most of us. Cash outs are very much included in that.
Essentially, cash out values are recalculated in much the same way a bookmaker would calculate which odds they offer in the first place on each horse in a race.
The bookmaker, specifically their traders and/or odds compilers, determine prices including cash out values based on numerous factors. Ultimately, what they offer are odds based on what they perceive to be the percentage chance each horse has of winning.
If, with the bookmakers’ profit included, they thought your horse had a 25% chance of winning the race, they are likely to offer odds of around 100/30.
If said horse is strongly backed or is going very well in running, they may perceive its winning chance to be closer to 40%. That means the chances of this horse winning have increased by 60% (25 to 40 is a 60% jump).
This makes it much more likely the bookie will have to pay out on any bets made on this horse, so for them, offering a smaller chunk of that as a cash out option can save them money, because for every punter that takes the bait, it’s one less full payout they will have to make.
A cash out value is determined via a combination of live odds and removal of risk, based on the initial stake placed by the punter.
A simple way of finding out what the bookies cut is, is to place your bet and then immediately see what the cash out value is before the odds can move.
Why Do Bookmakers Offer Cash Out Opportunities?
Much like we mentioned earlier, betting cash out values offer a half-way point in electronic negotiations between punters and bookmakers. True, it benefits them if you cash out and your selection wins anyway, but it benefits you to lock in a profit with no further risks taken.
No one knows the future after all.
However, when a bookmaker offers anything without being asked, it is for their long-term benefit. As a general rule, you should never forget that.
When they offer a cash out value in any sports betting environment, including within horse racing, it will usually not be for the full amount you staked so it shouldn’t be seen as a way to get out of a bet you now regret placing. It will cost you.
This means the bookmaker locks in some profit of their own if you decide to get out of the bet before it loses, and the more likely your bet is to lose, the less they will offer you in cash out.
Some punters will say they’ve done well out of cash outs and they may have done. But think about cash outs from the bookmaker’s point of view if you possibly can.
They make extra money, regardless of the result. If you cash out and your selection wins, they haven’t given you as much money. If you cash out a negative amount, they’ve saved money that way.
If you cash out for a profit and your selection goes on to win, the money they’ve given you is more than compensated for by all the unsuccessful cash outs. Their profit on cash outs is calculated automatically, much like the initial overround on horse racing markets in order to always keep them ahead.
Is the Cash Out Value You See Final?
Yes and no. The cash out value shown on screen when you hit the button is final. By confirming your cash out, you agree to this.
However, cash out values are fluid. You may see a cash out of only £22 offered but when the circumstance of the event changes, this can jump in a matter of seconds.
Some betting platforms also allow you to manage your cash outs via online tools, so you can set it to trigger automatically when your bet reaches a certain cash out value, without you having to click to accept it.
With some firms, you can also decide to cash out only one part of your stake and leave the rest riding on the bet until the race is over.
This is known as partial cash out and adds yet more flexibility. Usually you can cash about between 10% and 90% of your stake.
Taking a Cash Out: Yes, or No?
There are occasions on which you could accept a cash out value as it may benefit you at the time. That’s a personal thing. You may be well in profit for the day/week/month and decide that one more early pay out fits the bill.
Our advice when it comes to horse racing, would be to stay positive about your informed betting (so long as it is informed and not guess work) and do not accept a cash out value offered by a bookmaker without a very good reason.
If you have done your research, you should know what you are getting into before you place your bet. Your budget should allow for the stake you’ve placed and you must think the value of your bet is correct versus the chance your horse has of winning.
We all know wins and losses are expected. If you’ve backed a horse and the cash out value is a positive one, why on earth would it not simply further enhance your confidence that you’ve got the selection right?
If a horse drifts, it will not stop it from winning. Accepting a negative cash out value just admits defeat.
Horses drift in the market every single day of every single week and still win their race. Don’t let market changes or even slow starts to a race change the way you bet, especially where accepting a cash out is concerned.
The exception is with football multiples, which isn’t what this site is about but humour us. If you’ve bet £10 on an accumulator to win £100 and your cash out value is now in the high £80’s or £90’s, we see nothing wrong with cashing out. That’s good money and let’s face it; one goal from that point could scupper the whole bet and leave you with nothing.
We would never advise accepting a cash out value on a horse racing bet, though through tactics such as Dutching there are ways to use it as part of a wider tactic to increase returns.
We do have more detail on Dutch betting elsewhere, though it links with this so it’s handy to keep in mind.
Dutching, as we often call it, has nothing to do with the Netherlands, but instead comes from 1920’s America. Back then, a mob accountant known as ‘Dutch’ came up with the idea to get an edge over bookmakers at horse racing tracks. Though Dutch was killed – hey, you work with the mob you will probably end up dead – Dutching lives on.
Though it was very much frowned upon back then, the tactic is now a legal and legit way to grab an edge, although the bookies don’t like it.
The basic premise is for a punter to bet on more than one selection, the potential returns of either selection meaning you will get a return no matter which selection wins provided you stake the right amount on each horse.
It’s a mathematical magic trick in a way, so you do need a solid head for numbers to spot an opportunity.
On one side, the risk of losing is vastly reduced. On the other, punters are tasked with delicately working out the correct stake to place so that the returns make a profit.
Cashing out for the right amount of money can mean being able, in the age of betting exchanges, to lay the selection for a specific amount.