Web Scraping Betting Odds: Are You at Risk?

Alex McConnell
Alex McConnell
06/01/24
3 Minute read
The Anatomy of an Arbitrage Betting Bot

Article Contents

    Arbitrage betting is a big problem in online gambling. With thousands of dynamic betting odds readily available on different gambling sites, it’s easier than ever for players to manipulate online bookmakers to make a profit.

    Web scraping betting odds are at the heart of arb betting strategy. So how does odds scraping work — and is your website at risk?

    How does web scraping work?

    Web scraping is the process of automating web applications or bots to collect specific information from a website. Bots return data to the programmer in a clear format, so they can easily see and compare odds, prices, fares, or content. Web scraping is widely used in the e-commerce, travel, and finance sectors, as well as gambling.

    Scraper bots crawl betting sites and online bookmakers to get up-to-date betting odds. This mostly affects sports betting odds, although bots also scrape data for other games and events. Some bots also collect sports analytics data, so players can mathematically predict the outcome of certain games and place more winning bets.

    Why is web scraping a problem for online bookmakers?

    Although web scraping is rarely designed to be malicious, it’s a danger to online bookmakers and other gambling sites.

    Players use live betting odds data to calculate and place arbitrage bets. Arbitrage bets allow players to make a profit regardless of the outcome of a game, by placing specific bets on different outcomes across multiple betting agencies. More and more arb bettors now automate bet placing, too, so it’s quick and easy for them to make money at your expense.

    Because most arbitrage bets result in relatively low returns (typically less than 1.2%), many players gamble with large sums of money. Gambling companies must then make bigger payouts, causing them to lose money to arbitrage bettors over time.

    But arbitrage betting isn’t the only reason online bookmakers should worry about players who scrape betting odds. Careless or irresponsible scrapers send thousands of bots to your site simultaneously. High-volume site traffic can cause your site or app to crash, making it harder for genuine players to place legitimate bets.

    So what can you do to protect your site from odds scrapers?

    How can bookmakers protect themselves from web scrapers?

    It’s getting harder for bookmakers to detect odds scraping activity on their websites. A sophisticated bot attack simulates human web surfing, making it hard to distinguish between automated site visitors and real players.

    As a result, standard cybersecurity measures don’t work against advanced web scraping attacks. Other techniques, such as traffic analytics and bet monitoring, are labor-intensive and vulnerable to human error.

    A proven bot mitigation solution is essential for eliminating odds scraping bots. Bot managers identify and block bots automatically, while minimizing disruption for your real players. Plus, by blocking scraper bots from your betting site, you reduce the risk of site downtime and other malicious automated attacks. Netacea’s bot management solution is proven to prevent bots from placing up to 85% of unwanted bets.

    Should you take action against odds scraper bots?

    While large gambling sites are typical targets for odds scraping, smaller sites are at risk, too. That’s because large bookmakers are taking more action against arbitrage bettors and people they suspect of using web scraping techniques on their platforms.

    People who are banned from large sites may turn to smaller betting agencies, which often have less advanced monitoring and security. Web scraper bot programmers also seek access to all the betting odds available, as it gives them a greater chance of finding arb-betting opportunities.

    It’s essential for all betting agencies to implement bot blocking solutions. Learn more about web scraping bot detection systems and how they can protect your betting website from odds scrapers.

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