What Are Betting Syndicates

Dive into the world of betting syndicates, how they operate, how to join or start one, and how they even distribute winnings.

betting syndicates
What Are Betting Syndicates

A betting syndicate is a group of people who pool their money together to place bets. This can be done for any type of betting, but it is most common in sports betting, specifically horse betting, and football. Betting syndicates offer several benefits over individual betting, including an increased bankroll, shared expertise, and a largely reduced risk.

How Betting Syndicates Work

A betting syndicate is more than just a group of people betting together. It's a carefully coordinated operation defined by meticulous planning, strategic decision-making, and a well-defined hierarchy. Let's break down how these syndicates operate, from their formation to the distribution of winnings.

Formation of Betting Syndicates

Betting syndicates generally form around a common purpose or goal, often driven by individuals who share an interest in betting and have complementary skills or resources. It is not unusual for a syndicate to include individuals with expertise in data analysis, risk assessment, and sports knowledge. Often, one or more members have significant experience in the betting industry.

Syndicate formation also involves the establishment of a clear structure and decision-making process. This might involve assigning roles and responsibilities to different members, such as a leader who makes the final decisions, analysts who provide data-driven insights, and members responsible for placing the bets.

How Syndicates Place Bets

A person placing a bet

Syndicates utilize sophisticated betting strategies that involve substantial research and data analysis - some even use insider knowledge. Analysts often use mathematical models and algorithms to identify betting opportunities with a high probability of success.

Bets are usually placed by designated members of the syndicate who can ensure bets are distributed across different bookmakers to avoid suspicion. This is particularly important in large syndicates where the volume of bets could potentially alert bookmakers to syndicate activity.

In some cases, syndicates also employ 'runners,' individuals who place bets on behalf of the syndicate. This practice allows the syndicate to distribute their bets further, reducing the likelihood that a bookmaker will refuse a large bet due to the perceived risk.

Distribution of Winnings

Pre-agreed terms typically govern the distribution of winnings in a betting syndicate, often formalized in a written agreement among members.

Generally, the profits are distributed proportionally based on the amount each member has contributed to the betting pool.

However, it's not always a simple split. In some syndicates, specific roles or contributions might be valued differently. For example, the person who provides the expert analysis or the key betting strategy might receive a larger share.

In all cases, transparency and clear communication are vital to ensure all members understand how winnings will be divided.

Legality of Betting Syndicates

The legality of betting syndicates is a complex issue that varies significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It depends on each country or state's specific laws and regulations, ranging from completely allowing syndicate betting to imposing strict restrictions or outright banning it.

Betting Syndicates in the United States

In the United States, the legality of betting syndicates is not cut and dried. It largely depends on the state laws, as gambling regulation is primarily a state-level issue. After the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, states have been free to legalize sports betting as they see fit.

However, forming a betting syndicate can be a gray area even in states where sports betting is legal. Some states may consider syndicate betting as "pool-selling," which is illegal. It is crucial to check the specific laws in your state before forming or participating in a betting syndicate.

Betting Syndicates in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, betting syndicates are generally legal, provided they adhere to the laws and regulations set out by the Gambling Commission. Syndicates are a common feature in the UK betting scene, particularly in horse racing and football betting.

That being said, the syndicate must ensure that it is not offering services that would classify it as a 'betting intermediary,' as this requires a specific license from the Gambling Commission. If a syndicate takes a commission or fee from its members in return for placing bets, it might be seen as an intermediary and, thus, need to be licensed.

Factors That Can Make a Syndicate Illegal

Several factors could make a betting syndicate illegal in certain jurisdictions:

  • Taking a cut or commission: As mentioned above, if a syndicate begins to operate like a professional gambling operation by taking a cut of the winnings or charging a commission for its services, it may fall foul of the law if it does not have the necessary licenses.
  • Crossing state or national lines: In some jurisdictions, it may be legal to form a betting syndicate within that jurisdiction but illegal to accept bets from outside that jurisdiction. This is particularly relevant in the United States, where gambling laws vary widely from state to state.
  • Non-compliance with tax laws: If a syndicate does not comply with the applicable tax laws, it can become illegal. For instance, in jurisdictions where gambling winnings are taxable, syndicates must report their winnings and distribute the tax burden appropriately among members.

Pros & Cons of Betting Syndicates

Joining a betting syndicate can provide a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Like any form of gambling, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Understanding these advantages and drawbacks is critical to making an informed decision about participating in a betting syndicate.

Pros of Betting in a Syndicate

  • Pooling of Resources: One of the most significant advantages of betting in a syndicate is the ability to pool resources. With more funds, syndicates can place larger bets and diversify their betting portfolio, potentially leading to more significant winnings.
  • Shared Knowledge & Expertise: Syndicates often comprise members with diverse skills and knowledge. This can lead to better-informed betting decisions, as different members can contribute their unique insights and perspectives.
  • Risk Mitigation: Individual members can share the risk by betting as a group. This means that while the potential winnings are split, so are the potential losses, which can reduce the financial burden on any one member.
  • Access to Better Odds: With their substantial resources, large betting syndicates can often secure better odds by placing larger bets. This can lead to a higher potential return on successful bets.

Cons of Betting in a Syndicate

  • Shared Winnings: While the risk is shared in a syndicate, so are the winnings. This means that even if the syndicate wins a substantial amount, the individual payout may be smaller due to the number of members in the syndicate.
  • Potential for Disagreements: Betting syndicates require clear communication and agreement among all members. Disputes can arise over issues like betting strategies, the distribution of winnings, or the direction of the syndicate.
  • Lack of Control: As a syndicate member, you may have less control over the bets placed. Decisions are usually made collectively or by a designated leader, which might not always align with an individual member's instincts or analysis.
  • Potential Legal Issues: As discussed in the previous section, legal complications can be associated with betting syndicates, depending on the jurisdiction. It's crucial to be aware of any potential legal issues before joining a syndicate.

Famous Betting Syndicates

  • Jimmy Gauld and the 1960s Scandal: A former footballer who bribed players and referees to fix matches in England in the 1960s. He was eventually exposed by a newspaper investigation and sent to prison.
  • The Computer Group: A group of mathematicians, statisticians, and programmers who used computer models to analyze sports data and bet on various sports in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s. They reportedly made tens of millions of dollars before being investigated by the FBI.
  • William Walters' Betting Syndicate: A legendary gambler who ran a network of agents, runners, and insiders to place bets on various sports, especially golf, and basketball, in the USA from the 1970s to the 2000s. He was considered one of the most successful and feared bettors in the world until he was convicted of insider trading in 2017.
  • Starlizard: A professional betting consultancy founded by Tony Bloom, a former poker player, and Brighton & Hove Albion FC owner. They use advanced statistical models and a team of analysts to bet on football matches worldwide. They are estimated to make hundreds of millions of pounds annually and are legal.


How much money do I need to join a betting syndicate?

The amount of money required to join a betting syndicate can vary widely. Some syndicates may require a substantial initial contribution in the tens of thousands of dollars, while others may be more accessible. It's important to understand the financial commitment before joining a syndicate.

Can I form my own betting syndicate?

Yes, you can form your own betting syndicate, but it's important to ensure you comply with all relevant laws and regulations in your jurisdiction. This includes understanding licensing requirements if your syndicate is deemed a 'betting intermediary' and tax laws related to gambling winnings.

Are betting syndicates limited to specific sports?

No, betting syndicates can operate in any sport that allows betting. However, some sports might be more popular due to data available for analysis and the volume of betting activity, such as football and horse racing.

How are winnings distributed in a betting syndicate?

Winnings in a betting syndicate are usually distributed according to pre-agreed terms among the members, often proportional to the amount each member has contributed to the betting pool. In some syndicates, certain roles might be valued differently, affecting the distribution of profits.

Are there online betting syndicates?

Yes, there are online betting syndicates. With the advent of the internet, many syndicates operate online to reach a wider audience and facilitate easier communication among members. Online platforms can offer a convenient way for members to contribute funds, discuss strategies, and distribute winnings. However, it's important to exercise caution and do your due diligence when joining an online syndicate, as there are risks associated with online transactions and potential scams.

How scammy is the world of syndicate betting?

Like any sector involving money transactions, syndicate betting is not immune to scams and fraudulent activities. Some dishonest individuals may create "fake" syndicates intending to defraud members. They may take members' money by placing bets, then disappear without a trace. Therefore, it's crucial to thoroughly research any syndicate before joining, ask for transparency in operations, and always be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. Remember, betting involves a level of risk and no guaranteed returns.

Do betting syndicates use betting bots or automated systems?

Yes, some betting syndicates use betting bots or automated systems to place bets. These systems can analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, making them useful tools for identifying betting opportunities based on the syndicate's strategies. However, it's important to note that bots may be regulated or prohibited by some bookmakers or certain jurisdictions, so syndicates must ensure they operate within the rules.

How do betting syndicates handle losing streaks?

It varies but typically involves reassessing their strategies and making necessary adjustments. This can include analyzing what went wrong, identifying potential areas for improvement, and adjusting their betting strategy accordingly. Syndicates need to have a solid risk management strategy to mitigate the impact of losses and ensure the sustainability of the syndicate in the long term.

Can I leave a betting syndicate once I join?

Generally, you should be able to leave a betting syndicate once you join, but this may depend on the terms and conditions set out by the syndicate when you joined. Some syndicates may require a notice period or impose other conditions for leaving. It's important to understand these terms before joining a syndicate.

What kind of data do betting syndicates typically analyze?

Betting syndicates typically analyze a variety of data to inform their betting strategies. This can include statistical data about teams or players, historical performance data, current form, injuries, and even environmental factors like weather conditions. Some syndicates may also use more advanced techniques like machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and make predictions.

This article was published on June 26, 2023, and last updated on June 26, 2023.