What are the risks?

While you could make gains with spread betting, you also need to be aware of the risks that come with it.

In spread betting, just like in traditional trading, the market may move against you as well as in your favour. This means whenever you spread bet, you’re at risk of losing money.

Your risk can be magnified in a number of ways.


Spread betting is a leveraged product, which means you can place a relatively large bet with a much smaller deposit.

Losses could be much greater than your initial deposit

However, any profits or losses you make will be based on the full size of your bet – so could be much greater than your initial stake.

So while it gives you greater flexibility, leverage also means you need to be particularly careful not to risk more than you can afford to lose.

Market volatility

When the price of a market swings up and down vigorously, it’s considered a volatile market. Volatility can prove a good way to earn some big profits, but it can also substantially magnify your risk

You need to keep in mind that if a market moves against you, you may not be able to react the instant it starts to do so. In fact, you may get hit with a sizable loss before you even have a chance to close your bet.

If a market moves quickly against you, you may not be able to react instantly

It might turn against you with a lot more momentum than you expect, or you might experience a sudden jump (or 'gap') as the market skips from one price to another. This is especially likely if you leave a bet open overnight or over the weekend, since the price when the market opens might differ significantly from its previous closing price.

Making mistakes

If you haven’t taken the time to prepare, you’ll go into any bet needlessly adding to your risk. 

You need to make sure, for example, that you’ve made an informed selection in the first place – that is, whether the risk of the bet justifies the potential reward at the end of it. So it’s key that you make sure you understand your market. 

There are a number of other common mistakes to watch out for that could also increase your risk – failing to follow a plan, for example, or misunderstanding trends.

However, there are a number of ways you can manage the risk of spread betting.

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