It is a powerful tool for the gambler—potentially very profitable and thrilling, but potentially also dangerously expensive. But while spread betting is a gamble like any other form of punting, it also needs a dramatically different temperament and mindset. When any other gambler puts down his money, he knows that he is doing exactly that. He is putting down a set amount of money that is the most he can lose. You can lose big, but you know how big that will be.
When the spread bettor lays down his money, he usually gives up that privilege. A small stake can multiply many times— either for or against you. It is a different mindset—one that needs either bravery or foolhardiness and one that comes with its own risks and problems. According to Professor Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University: ‘Spread betting is fundamentally different from every other form of gambling in that you often have no idea what your possible losses might be. Fundamentally, it is more risky.
It also requires more commitment from the outset. It is not for the casual or one-off gambler. It is difficult to set up an account compared with walking into a bookmakers and it takes the understanding of how the markets work.