Spread Betting: Everything You Need To Know

FxBrokerReviews.org – Spread betting that incorporates gambling on the movement of currency pair prices is known as forex. Spread betting in forex entails taking a position depending on whether you believe the price of a currency pair will increase or decrease. If the market turns in your favor, you will make money; if it moves against you, you will lose money.

One of the most popular ways to trade forex is spread betting, a type of financial commodity, and contracts for difference (CFDs). Since the foreign exchange market is the most significant and liquid in the world, novice and experienced traders enjoy engaging in currency trading. On our online trading platform, we provide more than 300 forex currency pairings, including popular ones like the EUR/USD and USD/JPY and less common and exotic crossings.

What Is Spread Betting In Forex?

Entering the currency markets with spread betting is tax-free*. By opening a position depending on whether they believe the currency will develop or depreciate, traders can make predictions about the price movements of currency pairs. You would open a long or “buy” position if you anticipate a rise in value, or a short or “sell” one if you expect a decline in value. One never acquires ownership of the underlying asset with a sports betting account. Capital gains will arise from market movements in your favor, but losses will follow if the market moves against your investment.

The bid and ask prices are typically provided when trading currency pairs. A spread in forex is the distinction between a currency pair’s bid (sell) price and ask (buy) price. Since they may make and exit transactions more rapidly and with fewer transaction costs, traders favor currency pairs with tighter spreads.

Spread Betting: Origin

You wouldn’t be far off if you thought that spread betting was something you might do in a local bar. The spread-betting idea is generally credited to Charles K. McNeil, a math instructor who moved to Chicago in the 1940s and eventually worked as a securities analyst and gambler. But about 30 years later, on the other side of the Atlantic, it began to develop as a career for traders in the financial sector. In 1974, Stuart Wheeler, an investment manager from the City of London, established IG Index, a company that offered spread betting on bullion. Spread betting provided a more straightforward approach to speculating on the metal market when it was exceedingly difficult for many people to compete.

Stock Market Trade Vs. Spread Betting

Let’s use a real-world example to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of this derivatives market and the steps involved in placing a wager. We’ll first use the stock market as an example and then look at a comparable spread bet.

Let’s say for our stock market transaction that, we will pay £193.00 for 1,000 shares of Vodafone (LSE: VOD). The trade is closed with a gross profit of £2,000 and a profit of £2 per share on 1,000 shares when the price rises to £195.00. Here, take note of a few key points. This deal would have needed a substantial capital investment of £193k had the margin not been used. Additionally, commissions would often be assessed for entering and leaving a stock market trade. Capital gains tax and stamp duty may be applied to the profit.

Let’s take a look at a related spread bet now. We’ll suppose that if you want to spread a bet on Vodafone, you can purchase the chance for £193.00 using the bid-offer spread. The next step in placing this spread bet is deciding how much to stake each “point,” the variable representing the price change. A point’s worth can change.

In this instance, we’ll assume that a change of one point in the share price of Vodaphone is equivalent to a change of one penny. Taking a buy or “up bet” placed on Vodaphone at the cost of £10 per point, we’ll move on. In line with the stock market instance, the share price of Vodaphone increases from £193.00 to £195.00. In this instance, the wager won 200 points, giving the bettor a profit of 200 x £10, or $2,000.

Although the gross profit in both cases is £2,000, the spread bet is different since neither commissions nor capital gains tax is typically payable when the chance is opened or closed. The spread betting profit is tax-free in the UK and some other European nations.

The bid-offer spread, which may be far greater than the spread in other marketplaces, could hurt spread bettors even if they do not pay charges. Also, remember that the bettor must overcome the spread to break even on a trade. Usually, the spread is tighter, and the entry cost is lower for traded securities that are more widely known.

The capital requirement for spread betting is far cheaper, another essential benefit in addition to the lack of charges. A deposit of up to £193,000 might have been needed to start the stock market trade. The required commitment amount varies when spread betting; however, we’ll assume a 5% deposit is necessary for this example. To take the same level of market exposure as in the share price trade, a far lower £9,650 deposit would have been needed.

Of course, leverage may be used both ways, and here is where spread betting becomes risky. Higher profits will be realized as the market moves in your favor, but more significant losses will be incurred as the market goes against you. On a relatively small investment, you can rapidly make a sizable sum of money, but you can also lose it just as rapidly.

The bettor might eventually have been requested to raise the deposit or perhaps had the trade automatically canceled out if the price of Vodaphone dropped in the scenario above. If they still think the price is going up in such a scenario, stock market investors have the benefit of being able to wait out a downturn in the market.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

Spread betting works by monitoring an item’s value so you can speculate on the underlying market rate without owning the asset. You should be familiar with the following spread betting fundamentals:

  1. Short and long-term investing 
  2. Leverage
  3. Margin

1. What Do “Long” And “Short” In Spread Betting Mean?

The phrase “going long” refers to betting that the market price will rise over a specific period. Making a bet that the market would drop is known as “shorting” or “going short,” a commodity.

The ability to gamble on both rising and falling commodities is provided by spread betting. You would buy or sell to go long or short on the marketplace.

Let’s pretend you anticipated a decrease in the price of gold. Open a spread bet if you want to “sell” the underlying market. Your position can lose or gain depending on how accurate your prediction was. You would win money on your spread bet if the market did fall. But your work would lose money if gold’s price rose instead.

Also read: 5 Best Spread Betting Platforms For Beginners

2. What Does Spread Betting Leverage Mean?

You can obtain complete market exposure through leverage for a small portion of the actual market cost. Imagine you desired to purchase shares of Facebook. That would entail paying the total share price up front for the investor. However, if you spread a bet on Facebook shares, you might only need to make a 20% deposit.

It’s crucial to remember that using leverage makes gains and losses appear more significant because they are determined by the absolute value of the position, not simply the initial investment. You should develop an appropriate risk management strategy and think about how much capital you can tolerate putting at risk to manage your vulnerability.

3. What Does Spread Betting Margin Mean?

To open a position while spread betting, you must make a small initial investment, or “margin.” Due to this, margin trading is another name for leveraged trading.

When spread betting, there are two sorts of margins to take into account:

  • Margin for deposits. This initial investment is needed to open the position, typically expressed as a share of your whole trade.
  • The maintenance buffer. If your open position begins to experience losses that are more than those protected by the initial payment, this refers to the extra cash that might be needed. You’ll receive a margin call notification requesting that you top up the money or risk having your trade closed.

Main Features Of Spread Betting

The three fundamental components of spread betting are the spread, bet size, and duration. The spread is the fee you will incur for taking a position, the bet size is the amount you wish to stake per point of market action, and the betting length is the period your position will be open until it expires.

1. Which Spread Is It?

About the current underlying price, the spread is the difference between the purchase and sell prices. The offer and the bid are other names for them. You will always buy somewhat above the market value and sell slightly below it since the costs of every special deal are considered when determining these two values.

The FTSE 100, for instance, would have a bid amount of 5886 and a cash value of 5885 if it were trading at 5885.5 and had a one-point spread.

2. How Much Is The Wager?

The quantity you want to bet per unit of change in the underlying market is known as the bet size. You might choose your bet size if it fulfills the minimum we approve for that marketplace. The difference between the market’s starting and closing prices, multiplied by the amount of your wager, determines your profit or loss.

We use points to represent the underlying market’s price changes. Based on the market’s stability and instability, a point of movement may represent a pound, a cent, or even a tenth of a penny. You can learn what a point in your selected market implies on the deal card.

3. How Long Will The Bet Last?

The amount of time left until your position terminates known as the bet duration. Every spread bet has a set timeframe that might be anywhere from a day to several months in the future. If the spread bet is available for trade, you may close them whenever you choose before the specified expiry time.

We offer the following spread bet durations:

  • Daily funded bets – These wagers have a default expiration date that is far in the future and run for however long you decide to keep them open. Although they have the smallest spreads, they require overnight funding, therefore they are often only employed for short-term positions.
  • Quarterly wagers – These futures bets have a quarterly expiration date, though they can be carried over to the following quarter if you notify us in advance. They are appropriate for longer-term speculation since they have bigger spreads but lower funding costs that are included in the pricing.

Risk Management Of Spread Betting

Spread betting on the forex markets uses leverage, also known as trading on margin, as was already mentioned in this text. Forex spread bettors must deposit a portion of the total transaction value when initiating a position. They get more exposure to the marketplace as a result. However, forex leverage carries several hazards that all traders should be aware of. Losses from spread betting forex on leveraged positions will be calculated at total trade value, so while earnings can be amplified if the markets move in your favor, there is a danger that you could lose all of your capital if the markets move against you.

Depending on the assets and the duration of your positions, you can also be required to pay spread betting holding expenses. You must deposit enough money into your account to pay any holding expenses because, in some situations, these costs can even outweigh the gains you generated on your trades.


With the introduction of electronic marketplaces, spread betting has successfully cut entry barriers and produced a vast and diverse alternative economy. Spread betting is continually becoming more sophisticated. When two businesses provide different spreads on similar assets, arbitrage enables investors to profit from pricing differences between two markets.

Spread betting continues to be plagued by the temptation and dangers of overleverage. Spread betting is an appealing prospect for speculators due to the minimum capital requirement, available risk control techniques, and tax advantages.

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