What is m/l? What Does it Mean in Betting?

First of all, let’s make this clear: m/l means “margins on loans”. It does not mean “margins on lines” as some people are prone to believe. It also does not mean “margin of losses” or “margin of profit”. So, what does m/l mean in betting?

The short answer is the following: When you place a wager on a horse to win, the m/l determines how much you are willing to risk on the outcome of the race. To keep things simple let’s assume that you have placed a wager of $100 and that the horse you have chosen to bet on wins. Your winnings would be $100, but the amount you have lost (i.e., the “margin” or “reserve” in gambling terms) would be $100 as well since you have risked $100 on a horse that you knew for certain was going to lose. If the horse you bet on loses, you would lose your $100, and your m/l would be $0.

When placing a wager, you should consult with a professional gambler who can help you find the proper line for your budget and your level of experience.

M/L VS. M/C

Many people get confused by the fact that m/l is sometimes presented as an abbreviation for m/c. To make things simpler, let’s consider a scenario where you have $100 to lay on a single horse race. You know nothing about horses or betting in general, but you decide to place this bet simply because it’s one of the few bets offered at the bookie’s office when you walk in. You would place a $100 m/c (or, simply, m/c) bet, which means “margins on cost.” In this case, your $100 would be pooled with other people’s money to create a fund that would be used to pay the wagered amount to the winner. You would not be able to risk more than the total amount that was collected.

When you place a m/c bet, you are putting up a certain amount of money (i.e., the total cost of the horse and the commission, or vigorish, that the bookie charges) and the rest is borrowed from a group of lenders (i.e., “collateral”). If the horse you bet on wins, you would receive the total amount you lent (i.e., $100) and would have to pay back only the amount you initially laid down (i.e., $100). Your m/c would be $0 at that point.

MARGINS

Another way of looking at m/l is from the point of view of the lender. To begin with, let’s assume that you are given 100 percent loan security and that the bookie cannot lose your money. If you place a $100 wager on a horse to win, the m/l determines how much you can afford to lose on that bet. In this case, you can afford to lose $100, which makes your m/l $100. If the horse you bet on wins, you would make a profit of $100 and would have to pay back only the $100 that you initially laid down (i.e., your m/l would be $0 at this point). 

A more realistic situation might be that you only get loan security in the form of a bond or some such instrument. In this case, the m/l would be the portion of the wager that is not covered by the loan security. For example, if you have a $100,000 bond and you place a $100 wager on a horse to win, your m/l would be the $100,000 that is not covered by the bond (i.e., $100,000 -$100,000 =$0).

When you place a wager, you should consult with a professional gambler who can help you find the proper line for your budget and your level of experience.