What is Cash Out in Betting?

Cash OutCash Out, overall at least, has proven to be a brilliant feature within sports betting. It allows you to settle an open bet early, the value of the bet fluctuating and being dependent on the current perceived likelihood of the bet going on to win.

With this in mind, your Cash Out value could be higher or lower than the initial stake placed. For example:

A £10 bet on a 14/1 shot would have potential returns of £150. If the horse is clearly running well and is making a good-looking move with a couple of furlongs to go, your cash out value may reach around £135.

Given that there is still no guarantee the horse at this point may go on to win, you can cash out at £135 and accept that return. Deciding not to cash out would mean either the horse wins and you receive £150, or the horse is beaten and the bet is a loser.

Early Cash Out offers can go either way. Should the horse you’ve backed contract in price before the off, you’ll often be given a Cash Out amount of more than your stake before the race has even got underway. If the horse looks weak in the market however, your Cash Out value will go down as it is assumed the horse now has a lesser chance.

How Much Does Cash Out ‘Cost’?

Cash Out Example

Most bookmakers will charge an overround of approximately 5% on early Cash Out sports betting values, i.e., an initial £100 return becomes £95. In the example above, a £5 bet was placed at 4/1 at 18:14 for a race that starts at 18:15. The cash out value of the bet before the off stood at £4.50 – meaning an immediate cash out would result in a loss of 50p.

Cash Out values are calculated by using the amount staked, the odds at the time of the initial bet and the current odds at the time of the potential Cash Out, adjusted slighted to incorporate the bookies margin.

You can’t always rely on Cash Out being there either. An online bookmaker can pull Cash Out for any reason and, although it’s highly unlikely in horse racing, even in running, connections to the event can be severed from time to time meaning bookmakers can pull their offer leaving bets to stand as they are. With this in mind, Cash Out can be used but can’t be relied upon.

Cash Outs aren’t specifically regulated. There are mitigating circumstances within horse racing too; while you may back a horse the price of which may come down, your Cash Out value can also still go down if there are non-runners and there is still a perceived lesser chance of your horse winning.

Within racing then, there is no true rhyme or reason to Cash Out values and no real ‘cost’ as such.

How Does Cash Out Compare to Laying on a Betting Exchange?

Cash Out v Betting Exchange

Laying a bet essentially means you playing the bookmaker. Lay markets can be used on exchanges such as Betfair, in which you are banking on a horse losing rather than winning.

In a sense, it works similarly to cashing out in that you can use lay betting to cover yourself. Ostensibly, when you use Cash Out you are covering a bet by paying out early. When you lay a horse that you’ve already backed, you’re doing a similar thing. Covering yourself, or “greening up”, is the act of engineering yourself a pay out regardless of the result.

One issue with laying rather than cashing out is that exchange odds tend to be higher than those of a fixed odds bookie. Whilst this is great for placing bets, it causes issues when wanting to lay a bet on an exchange that was originally placed on a bookie. However when the back odds aren’t too far off it can be better to lay on an exchange.

For example (see photo above), in the 19:00 from Wolverhampton the favourite (Chookie Dunedin) can be backed on the bookies at 7/4 – or 2.75 in decimal. The equivalent back bet on the exchanges is 2.96 and to lay the horse is 2.98.

If we were to bet £10 with the bookie and then immediately cash out, we would receive £9 back for a loss of £1. However, to lay on the exchanges would require a lay bet of £9.23 which would result in a net loss of £0.77 (these figures can easily be checked on any back/lay calculator).

In this scenario, laying the bet on an exchange would be better than taking the cash out offer.

Naturally, there are permutations, such as odds fluctuations, liquidity and commission on the exchanges but in some instances it will yield a greater return than cashing out. There’s is, however, the issue of the additional stake that would be required to lay the bet, something that isn’t an issue when simply cashing out.

Generally speaking, Cash Out within horse racing is just a way to cover some losses when your confidence is dented, or to take an early win on a so far successful accumulator. To really play the markets the exchanges are better for this purpose but only when the initial bets are placed at odds equal to (or greater) those found on the exchange.

Why is Cash Out Not Offered on Bonus Bets?

Many punters have expressed frustration in the past that there is no Cash Out offered on bets placed using bookmaker offers.

This is because the bookmaker is offering a free bet or bet credits, but not straight-up money. So, if your account was credited with a £10 free bet and you placed it on a horse that was well-backed, you could in effect not care about the result, cash out and withdraw the money without having to risk a thing.

Cash Out Pros & Cons

Pros and Cons List

It goes without saying that Cash Out, just like all of horse racing and sports betting’s many wagering variables, has its positives and negatives. Here are the main ones:


  • Taking a Win – as long as your selection is doing well or is at least strongly backed, you can cash out your bet for a guaranteed win without having to worry about the ultimate result.
  • Covering Losses – from time to time, it can become apparent that a horse you’ve backed may be very unlikely to go on and win. While the Cash Out value will be lower than your stake, you can jump ship and cut your losses.
  • Changing Your Mind – within horse racing, the initial Cash Out offer is very often the same as your original stake. Should you change your mind about your horse, you can Cash Out and pretty much cancel your bet.


  • You Might Sell Yourself Short – many times, when people cash out on a well-backed or well-performing horse it does indeed go on to win! This means that, over time, you’ve brought in lower returns than you could have had by letting the bets stand.
  • No Bonuses or Promotions – because of the nature of Cash Out, you could be excluding yourself from gaining more profit in bonuses and promotions as they don’t count in this feature.