Whether you’re new to the world of betting or are a seasoned veteran, you will almost certainly have heard of the term ‘Cash Out’. It is something that has re-vitalised the world of online betting, especially for mobile customers who tend to sit and watch a sporting event with their phone in their hand, posed to make a split-second decision depending on how the action is going.
Some of you may be wondering what on earth I’m going on about, of course, so I’ll explain exactly what cashing out entails and the different variations of it available through the bookies out there. I’ll also have a look at whether it’s worth it and what the downsides are, if any. As I always say, this won’t be an exhaustive look at the topic but it will hopefully give you a much clearer idea of what to expect when you look at your Cash Out options in the future.
What Is Cash Out?
Let’s start with the basics, the meaning of ‘Cash Out’ when it comes to betting. Put simply, some bookmakers allow you to end your bet with them before the conclusion of the event for a smaller portion of the winnings than you’d get if you stuck with it until the very end.
As an example I’ll tell you a story from my own life. I placed a bet on a Premier League match between Liverpool and Bournemouth recently in which I thought the Reds would win 3-1. they went 2-0 up, dropped back to 2-1 and then Emre Can scored after 64 minutes. My original odds had been 15/1 but around the 70th minute mark I felt like the Cherries were getting back into the game so I decided to cash out, taking £8.10 from my £1 wager. About five minutes later Bournemouth scored and in the end Liverpool lost 4-3.
Had I decided to stick with my original bet I would have finished the match penniless. Instead I was able to take a pleasant £7 profit from my bet, simply by cashing out early. There is no set amount with Cash Out deals. Instead the way they work is that the closer you get to your original bet coming true the more money you’ll be offered. Had Liverpool lasted until the 89th minute with the score at 3/1 I would like have been offered around £12 for my bet. Had I looked as soon as Can made it my predicted scoreline of 3-1 I could have been offered about £4.
Partial Cash Out
Different bookmakers offer different versions of the Cash Out offer and most bigger betting sites now allow you to partially cash out your bet. This means that a percentage of your wager will be paid at a percentage of the Cash Out offer price whilst the rest will stick with the main bet.
To use the example of my bet on the Liverpool v Bournemouth match, I was offered £8.10 as my Cash Out price. I could have chosen to Cash Out 50% of my bet, receiving £4.05. The other 50% would have stayed on the bet at the original odds of 15/1, only I would have been paid out at 7.5/1, if you like, had the main bet won.
Betfair were the inventors of the Cash Out function. It was originally launched on their Exchange before they also allowed it to be used on their sportsbook back in 2013. They offer the ability to Cash Out during a horse race, something that not a lot of bookies let you do. Admittedly that isn’t a variation on the Cash Out theme in the same way that the partial Cash Out is, but it’s still interesting enough to warrant a mention here.
Auto Cash Out
Some operators now let you choose the auto cash out option. This lets you set a threshold at which point your bet will automatically cash out whether you are logged in or not.
You choose an amount and if the cash out value reaches that amount at any stage your bet will be automatically cashed out. You can choose to do this with your entire stake or set a proportion of your stake, basically automatic partial cash out. See the screenshot above for an example of how this works.
Is It Worth Cashing Out a Bet?
As with most offers and functions that bookmakers have, the biggest question you might be asking is: Is it worth it? It’s a totally fair question and the honest answer is: Yes and no.
Firstly the reality of the situation is that Cash Out offers allow the bookmaker to double their margin. They take their first margin when you place the original bet and they then take another margin when you Cash Out. This is essentially unavoidable, but of course it’s not a free service. You want to place a bet so you can’t stop them taking the initial margin and if you want to walk away with some definite profit then you have to let them take the second margin, too. Still, I thought I’d best point it out.
Another feature of the Cash Out function is the ‘Why didn’t I wait!’ feeling you might end up having. With the Bournemouth – Liverpool game I obviously made the right decision. Had I stuck to my guns then I’d have ended up losing my initial stake and I’d have been left with nothing. In actual fact I Cashed Out earlier than I probably should have, panicking when Bournemouth were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Liverpool area.
Of course the whole nature of the Cash Out bet is rendered void if you don’t tend to watch the events that you bet on live. It is very much a way of allowing you to mitigate your risk with your bets and it also makes watching things more exciting. Yet if you don’t watch events unfold as they happen then it’s all a bit pointless. It goes without saying that you can monitor a bet without watching something live, but seeing how something is playing out by a text commentary or via graphics on an interface doesn’t give you a real feel for what’s going in.
Is it worth it? As someone who has benefited from Cashing Out on more than one occasion I would say that the answer is definitely yes. Just be wary of what you’re getting yourself into and that you might live to regret bottling your decision and Cashing Out too soon.
Looking at another example using the screenshots in this section I had a fairly big accumulator running for the Champions League quarter finals. When placing the bet I used an offer that at the same time boosted my acca odds from around 43/1 to just under 50/1, I had £10 staked.
The issue here was the cash out value offered was based on the original odds and did not include the boosted component. Therefore, as you can see, when the matches in the accumulator came towards the end the cash out value grew to a very high level, but still significantly short of the overall payout I stood to receive if I let it ride.
In this instance I decided not to cash out which meant I was able to get paid at the boosted odds rate. This is a prime example of how cash out is affected when using offers alongside, if you plan to cash out you would often forfeit any promotional benefit.