Betting Exchange

A betting exchange is an online platform where gamblers can place bets against each other rather than a bookmaker. A betting exchange matches back and lay bets for gamblers betting on sports and political events.

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Compare The Best UK Betting Exchanges

Use our comparison table of betting exchanges regulated by the UK Gambling Commission to compare welcome bonuses, betting options, deposit methods and platforms.

What is a betting exchange?

People often ask, ‘What is a betting exchange?’ Simply, it is a platform that allows people to bet against each other rather than a bookmaker with gamblers setting the odds or requesting odds from fellow gamblers. For example, people can buy (also known as “back”) and sell (also known as “lay”) the outcome of an event, and they can trade in-play to cut their losses or to secure a profit.

Traditional bookmakers go head-to-head with gamblers on the markets offered, but a betting exchange provides the platform for its customers to bet against each other, and they take a small commission on any winnings for the service. Leading betting exchanges include Betfair, Betdaq, Smarkets, and Matchbook.

Betting exchange sites

The first betting exchange sites to hit the gambling market were Matchbook, Flutter and Betfair. But in 2001, Flutter and Betfair merged. They kept the Betfair brand and name and have since maintained their position as the leading betting exchange platform in the industry.

Matchbook continues to enjoy a loyal customer base, but Betdaq is considered to be the second largest betting exchange, with an estimated 7% share of the betting exchange market. Betdaq launched in 2000, before trading began in 2001. They were bought by Ladbrokes in 2013, who now have their own exchange platform, and continue to rival Betfair thanks to their popular marketing campaigns. Smarkets is the newest kid on the betting exchange market but is growing year on year.

Betfair betting exchange

The Betfair betting exchange was founded in 2000 by business partners Andrew Black and Edward Wray. Since then, they have grown to be the biggest betting exchange platform in the world, with over 4 million customers, and they were the first betting exchange to float on the London Stock Exchange.

In 2016 Betfair merged with Paddy Power, and in 2018 they merged with FanDuel in America. Betfair now sits as part of Flutter Entertainment plc, an international sports betting and gaming operator.

Betfair is regulated by several regulatory bodies around the world, but predominantly by the UK Gambling Commission, and the Malta Gaming Authority.

Betfair charges a basic commission rate of 5% on all winning bets and currently has a welcome offer to claim £40 once you have bet £10.

Smarkets betting exchange

The Smarkets betting exchange was founded in 2008 by Jason Trost who wanted to position the platform as a more advanced trading service compared to other betting exchanges. They operate a peer-to-peer trading platform where customers can set their own odds and bet against each other.

Smarkets is headquartered in London and has continued to grow in popularity thanks to their sleek brand and low commission base rate of just 2% on all winning bets. They have also attracted new customers with their current offer of a £10 bonus once you have deposited £20.

Smarkets was first granted a licence by the Malta Gaming Authority in 2011, and they received a licence from the UK Gambling Commission in 2015.

Betdaq betting exchange

The Betdaq betting exchange was founded in 2000 by Irish businessman, Dermot Desmond, and started trading in September 2001. The business merged with Ladbrokes in 2013 and has continued to grow to become the second largest betting exchange operator in the UK.

They handle more than £75 million worth of bets each week, are the largest betting exchange technology provider in the world and operate several sports betting brokerages and websites.

Betdaq is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and offer one of the best commission rates in the industry. There is a base rate commission charge of just 2%, or 0% on certain markets. Currently, they offer a welcome bonus of £10 once you bet an initial £10 stake.

Matchbook betting exchange

Matchbook betting exchange was founded in 2004 as a peer-to-peer sports betting exchange and online casino. In 2011, they were acquired by a group of Financial Banking & UK sports investors including Matthew Benham and began operating under new ownership and management in April 2012 as Triplebet Limited.

Matchbook is headquartered in Alderney and licensed by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the UK Gambling Commission. They offer a very small commission charge of just 1% on each bet placed. The commission is applied to the win amount (profit) on winning bets, and for losing bets, it is applied to the lesser of the stake or potential profit/liability amount. They currently run a welcome offer where 0% commission is applied on all bets up to a specified date.

Betting exchange commission

Betting exchanges charge their customers commission on winning bets, which is something traditional bookmakers don’t do. However, one of the benefits in using a betting exchange is that you can often get better odds as they are set by fellow customers. Access to these better odds, less the commission being charged, usually works out as a better deal, rather than going head-to-head with the bookmakers and sportsbooks.

The betting exchange commission rates charged by betting exchange platforms do vary from company to company, both in the percentage amount charged, and how the commission rate is calculated.

Betfair charge a base rate commission fee of 5%, whilst Betdaq and Smarkets each charge a commission rate of just 2%.

Betting exchanges in the UK

Although many betting exchanges originated in the UK and Ireland, most of them also operate across Europe. For example, Betfair operates in the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia, and Poland etc.

Betfair managed to break the US gambling market in 2016, but previously punters in the US were banned from betting exchange sites, depending on each states’ gambling laws. They have also grown in popularity across Asia, although many of their betting exchange sites are unregulated.

Being able to use betting exchanges in the UK from abroad will depend on a country-to-country basis and whether they have signed up to the various licensing commissions, but the UK operators offer markets from around the world so are definitely the best to join.

In-play betting on betting exchanges

In-play betting on betting exchanges allows people to back and lay bets on an event that has started and/or still happening. The nature of in-play betting means you can trade the market and take advantage of its volatility as the action happens.

You can apply trading techniques to secure a profit, whatever the outcome, by backing and laying, or you can reduce your loss risk. Betting in-play allows you to react to variables in a live event, such as goals scored in football. For example, if you back for there to be three goals in a game, depending on what was happening, you could lay that bet to reduce any losses.

Football, horse racing, tennis, golf, and cricket are just some of the sports that in-play betting is especially popular.

Betting exchange welcome offers and bonuses

It is commonplace for online bookmakers to promote welcome offers to attract customers to sign up with them, and betting exchanges are no different.

Betting exchange welcome offers and bonuses can come in different shapes and sizes, with some operators offering free bets, cash back, or reduced commission charges.

For example, Betfair are currently offering a welcome bonus where you can place 5 x €/£10 or more bets to receive €/£20 in free bets and that can be repeated up to 5 times to receive the maximum €/£100 bonus. Elsewhere, Matchbook gives you the chance to boost your winnings on the exchange, with 0% commission on all sports.

What is the best betting exchange?

Although all the betting exchanges offer something a little different, Betfair is generally considered to be the best betting exchange in the industry. They were the first platform to offer this type of betting and continue to set the standard.

Boasting almost 90% market share for gamblers who use exchanges, they also offer excellent backing odds with big stake liquidity. They lead the way in football and horse racing exchange betting and offer tips, previews, and historical data to help you win. However, it is important to note that customers do pay a higher commission charge on winning bets of 5% for the service.

Arbitrage on betting exchanges

Arbitrage betting or ‘arbing’ is a trading technique that is used on betting exchanges to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of an event. The arbitrage betting exchange method takes advantage of price differentials between two markets, or within markets, to ensure a profit.

For example, you can buy or back an outcome on one betting exchange, then sell or lay the same bet for a higher price on another. Essentially, arbitrage sports betting allows you to place bets on all outcomes for an event at odds that will guarantee a profit. It is seen as a low-risk, medium-yield strategy.

Betting exchange back bets

Betting exchange back bets are similar to those done in the traditional betting format. If you think something will happen, you bet on it happening.

For example, if you think Team A is going to beat Team B, you will back Team A to win by selecting the ‘back’ price, then choose how much you want to stake, and press the bet button to process it.

However, you also have the ability to set your own odds if you are not happy with what is being offered. But be aware that the bet could be returned as unmatched or partially matched. If you do take the price on the screen, it is likely the bet will be matched in full.

Betting exchange lay bets

One of the main attractions of using a betting exchange is the ability to be able to lay bets. Betting exchange lay bets allow customers to bet against an outcome, instead of backing it to happen. For example, if a horse was priced at 2.0 but you thought it wouldn’t win, you can lay the bet. If any other horse wins, you win the lay bet.

Laying a bet is also known as selling a bet and allows you to act as the bookmaker by setting the odds and hoping the outcome won’t happen. You can also choose the price you want to take and how much you are prepared to risk. It is important to note, the shorter the price you wish to lay, the less money you have to risk compared to your potential reward.

Matched betting on betting exchanges

Matched betting on betting exchanges is the practice of using the free bets or bonuses offered by the platforms to match against an exchange price on an event, to secure a low-risk profit. Sometimes referred to as ‘bonus arbing’, customers can use free bets and bonuses to lock in a profit regardless of the betting markets outcome.

For example, if two betting exchanges are each offering a £10 free bet, you can back the outcome of an event with one free £10 stake and lay the outcome of the same event with the other free £10 bet. Whatever the eventual outcome, you are guaranteed the win and will receive real cash for it, in most cases.

Betting exchange cash outs

Betting exchange cash outs allow you to secure a profit, or take a reduced loss, before an event you have bet on has finished. For example, if you bet £10 on Team A to win to secure a £50 return and Team A are leading, you could take a cash out offer of £40 to secure a profit before the game finishes, thus ending the risk of losing the bet.

On betting exchanges, you do have the option to lay the bet too, which means you can bet on Team A not to win, so a return is secured either way. The prices being offered at the time will dictate what the best option would be.

Making money on betting exchanges

Making money on betting exchanges is possible and probably simpler than it might sound. It can be done through sports trading, which is a bit like stock trading. Instead of buying and selling shares of a company, you can buy and sell bets on sporting events. The real bonus of this approach is that you don’t have to pick a ‘winner’. You can buy or back the bet, then sell or lay the bet as prices fluctuate. This is also known as sports arbitrage, or arbing.

Another way to make money is through match betting, where you can take advantage of free bets to back something and lay it with real money to make a profit.

Betting exchange tips

Platforms such as Betfair and Betdaq do employ experts who have dedicated pages offering daily betting exchange tips to help you win some money. The tipsters largely cover horse racing and football, but there are also specific tips covering other major sporting events.

The tips offered are generally good and you can pick up some gems, but as with all tipping, it is just one person’s opinion. However, some tips are based on statistics, so if you like to bet on outcomes based on previous form, these tips could be better for you.

Betting exchange each way betting

Betting exchange each way betting is possible and works in the same way as traditional betting. An each way bet, sometimes referred to as ‘EW’ or ‘E/W’ is two separate bets. For example, if you back a horse each way, you are placing one bet on it to win, and another bet on it to place in any of the place positions that are being offered for that specific race.

It is a bet that costs you double your stake, as you are effectively betting twice, but it means you can receive a return on your bet if the horse wins, or if it just places. So, if you place £5 each way, you’ll be placing £5 on the win and £5 on the place, a total of £10.

Exchange betting apps

If you are looking for an exchange betting app, you’ll be pleased to hear that Betfair, Betdaq, Smarkets, and Matchbook all have apps available to download on Android and iOS devices. They are similar to the desktop sites, with easy access to multiple markets. On the app, you will find every market you would on the desktop site, but it can be harder to find bets as quickly due to amount of scrolling you need to do.

However, mobile betting is now more popular than ever with an estimated 72% of sports gamblers using mobile bookies and betting exchanges. The rise in popularity is due to the convenience as you always have access to your mobile device and the technology has improved that much that betting on an app is far better than it ever has been.

How to bet on Betfair exchange

Betting exchanges do look different to traditional bookmaker sites, so you’ll see Betfair is set up quite differently and you can be forgiven for wondering how to bet on Betfair exchange.

To place a bet, click on either back or lay for the market you are interested in betting on. You then have to choose your stake, which will be a minimum of £2 with Betfair, and your potential profit will be displayed alongside that stake if you are backing it, or your risk will be shown if you are laying it. Simply click to submit and wait to see if your bet has been matched, which means the bet has been placed.

Major sports on betting exchanges

Betting exchanges have increased the number of sports and events you can bet on as they have grown since their launch. The major sports on betting exchanges include football, horse racing, greyhound racing, cricket, snooker, tennis, golf, basketball, rugby, and many, many more.

Each of these major sports have a vast range of markets that can be bet on based on events from around the world. For example, the football market covers all major leagues across Europe and South America, as well as leagues in Asia, Africa, and the US.

The same can be said for most sports featured, with global events and major tournaments also covered.

Horse racing on betting exchanges

Horse racing on betting exchanges is one of the most popular sports to bet on across all betting exchanges. Most people will back a horse to win a race, but you also have the option to lay a horse, so betting on it not to win the race. You can also bet in-play, so you are betting on the outcome as the race unfolds. For example, if you think a horse is going well in the race, you can bet on it to win live.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of horse racing markets open every day, covering all major racing events from around the world. Some betting exchanges also have live streams of races so you can watch them, or video replays.

Football on betting exchanges

Football on betting exchanges is the most popular sport to bet on. Many people use betting exchanges to back a team to win a game or competition, whilst you can also lay a bet on a team for them not to win a game, or competition. For example, you can back Team A to win the FA Cup or choose to lay Team A not to win the FA Cup.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of football markets open every day, covering all major leagues and tournaments. You can also bet on a player to score a goal, the number of goals in a game, the number of corners, etc.  The number of markets is huge.

Greyhound racing on betting exchanges

Greyhound racing on the betting exchanges is a very popular sport to bet on. Most gamblers will choose to back a greyhound to win a race, but they also have the option to lay a greyhound, so they are betting on it not to win the race. There are also in-play bets, so you can bet on the outcome of a race after it has started. For example, if you think a greyhound has made a good start, you can bet on it to win live.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of greyhound markets open every day, with some betting exchanges showing live streams of races.

Cricket on betting exchanges

Cricket on betting exchanges has become a very popular sport to bet on with many people use betting exchanges to back a team to win a game or competition. However, you can also lay a bet on a team for them not to win a game, or competition. For example, you can back on England to win the World Cup or choose to lay England not to win the World Cup.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of cricket markets open, covering all major leagues and tournaments. You can also bet on a player to be the top batsmen in a game, who wins the toss, how many runs will be hit in an innings, etc.

Snooker on betting exchanges

Snooker on betting exchanges has become a popular sport to bet on. Many people choose to bet on snooker on betting exchanges because they can back a player to win a match or lay them to lose the match. You can also bet on someone to win a specific tournament, for example, Ronnie O’Sullivan to win the World Championship.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of snooker markets open, covering all major games and tournaments, and you can bet on a player to win a certain number of frames, the correct score of a game, and handicap betting is available too.

Tennis on betting exchanges

Tennis on betting exchanges is one of the most popular sports to bet on. Many people choose to bet on tennis on betting exchanges because they can back a player to win a match or lay them to lose a match. You can also bet on someone to win a specific tournament, for example, Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of tennis markets open every day, covering all major games and tournaments from around the world. You can also bet in-play on matches, sets, and points, or bet before a game starts on how many sets a player will win, the correct score, most aces etc.

Basketball on betting exchanges

Basketball on betting exchanges has become a popular sport for people to bet on due to the number of markets available. Many people will use betting exchanges to back a team to win a game, or to back against them winning by laying them. For example, you can bet on the Chicago Bulls to win by backing them or lay them if you think they won’t win the game.

The number of markets available is vast, with leagues covering the USA available, as well as leagues around the world, such as Australia, Sweden, and Korea. You can also bet on how many points will be scored in various quarters, total points scored in a game, as well as in-play betting.

Golf on betting exchanges

Golf on betting exchanges is a very popular sport to bet on. Many people will bet on golf on the betting exchanges because they can back a player to win a competition or lay them not to win the competition. For example, you can bet on Rory McIlroy to win the Masters by backing him or lay the bet if you don’t think he’ll win the Masters.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of golf markets open, covering all major tournaments from around the world. As well as betting on players to win competitions, you can also bet on the Round 1 leader, for someone to achieve a top 5 finish, or top 10 finish.

Rugby union on betting exchanges

Rugby union on betting exchanges has become a popular sport to bet on. Many people will use betting exchanges to bet on rugby so they can back a team to win a game or competition. But you also have the option to place a lay bet on a team for them not to win a game, or competition. For example, you can back England to win the Six Nations, or choose to lay England not to win the Six Nations.

Betting exchanges have hundreds of rugby union markets open every day, covering all the major leagues and tournaments across the globe. As well as competition bets, you can also bet on things to happen within games, such as the total number of points scored.

Darts betting on betting exchanges

Darts betting on betting exchanges has become more popular as the sports profile has increased thanks to the TV coverage it now gets. Many people use betting exchanges to bet on darts because they can back a player to win a game or competition, but also have the option to lay a bet on a player not to win a game, or competition. For example, you can back Adrian Lewis to win the PDC Championship, or choose to lay Adrian Lewis not to win the PDC Championship.

In-play betting is also available on the darts markets, so you can place bets on the outcome of a game as it happens live.

Politics on betting exchanges

Politics on betting exchanges has grown in popularity and now there are hundreds of markets open for people to bet on. These markets cover international politics, such as who will be the next Prime Minister, or the next US President.
You can also bet on who might become the next leader of a party, who might win the most votes in an election, or even when the next election might take place. As on all betting exchange markets you can choose to back or lay. For example, you can back Boris Johnson to win the next general election or lay the bet, so you are betting on him not to win the next general election.

Betting exchange FAQ

There are a lot of questions surrounding how to use betting exchanges and the differences between them and traditional online bookmakers. It can be quite daunting to move away from a betting method you are used to, but betting exchanges can be even more profitable.

Below are the most commonly asked questions relating to betting exchanges and the answers to them.

Does paddy power have a betting exchange?

Paddy Power doesn’t have a betting exchange. However, Paddy Power and Betfair did merge to become Flutter Entertainment plc. While Paddy Power has stayed as a sportsbook site only, Betfair does offer a sportsbook and betting exchange platform.

When Betdaq was acquired by Ladbrokes, the latter did branch out into the betting exchange market, something that Paddy Power might do in the future.

What is an exchange bet on Betfair?

An exchange bet on Betfair allows you to back or lay a bet on a market you are interested in betting on. When you back a bet, you are betting on an outcome to happen. When you lay a bet, you are betting on an outcome not to happen.

How to bet on Betfair exchange?

To place a bet on Betfair, just click on either back or lay for the market you are interested in betting on. You then choose the stake you wish to place, which will be a minimum of £2 with Betfair. When you back something, you are betting on it to happen. When you lay a bet, you are betting on something not to happen.

How to use a betting exchange?

A betting exchange allows people to bet against each other rather than a traditional bookmaker. As a customer, you can offer odds to fellow customers, or request odds from them. You can also choose to back a bet, where you place a stake for an outcome to happen. Or you can lay a bet, which means you are betting on an outcome not happening.

How does exchange betting work?

Essentially, every bet placed on a betting exchange involves two bets. One bet backs an outcome to happen, with a second bet backing the same outcome not to happen.

For example, if you want to place a £10 bet on a horse to win at 10/1, returning a profit of £100, you need someone else to risk £100 at 1/10 to win £10 in the hope that horse doesn’t win.

How betting exchanges work?

Every bet that is placed on a betting exchange involves two bets. There is the first bet that backs a selection to win, and a second bet backing the selection to lose.

An example of this is a £10 back bet on a horse to win at 10/1 will need a £100 bet from someone for the horse to lose. Betting exchanges make their money by charging commission on winning bets for the use of their platform.

How does Betfair exchange betting work?

Betfair exchange betting works by two people betting against each other, rather than against the bookmaker. For example, if you want to place a £10 bet on Team A to win at 2/1, you need someone else to risk £20 at 1/2 for Team A not to win. Betting exchanges then make their money by charging a commission on winning bets for the use of their platform.

How to place a bet on Betfair exchange?

To place a bet on the Betfair exchange, simply click on either back or lay next to the outcome you are interested in betting on. When you back a bet, you are hoping the outcome will happen. When you lay a bet, you are hoping the outcome won’t happen.

What is Betfair exchange betting?

Betfair is a betting exchange platform that allows its customers to match bets against each other. Betfair exchange betting works by two people betting against each other, rather than against a bookmaker. Betting exchanges then make their money by charging a commission on winning bets for the use of their platform.

What is betting exchange in football?

A betting exchange is where people can place bets against other people rather than against a bookmaker. This can be done for football betting and is a different way of betting compared to a traditional football bet.

For example, if you place a bet on a football team to win before the start of a match, a betting exchange allows you to change your position during a game depending on how the game is going.

Can you bet each way on Betfair exchange?

You can bet each way on Betfair exchange and there are a couple of ways to do it. If you wanted to bet on a horse each way, Betfair offer each way odds, so you can back or lay the horse to place.

Or you can back on the horse to win as a separate bet, then back it to place on the place market, so you have that safety net.

How does the betting exchange work?

When you place a bet on a betting exchange, you are basically betting against another customer. If you back a bet, you on betting on an outcome to happen. But you’ll need someone to bet on that outcome not happening, so your bet is matched.

For example, if you want to place a £10 bet on a horse to win at 10/1, returning a profit of £100, you need someone else to risk £100 at 1/10 to win £10 in the hope that horse doesn’t win.

How to bet multiples on Betfair exchange?

Basically, if you want to place an accumulator bet, you need to use the Betfair Sportsbook. Choose your selections and the bet slip on the right-hand side of the page will create your multiple.

You can then choose your bet type – double, treble, fourfold, etc. You will see your potential winnings and then click ‘Place Bets’.

How to lay a bet on Betfair exchange?

Lay betting means betting on an outcome not to happen. For example, if you lay a football team to win, your bet will be a winner if the team loses or if the game ends in a draw.

In horse racing, if you lay a horse, you’ll win if any other horse in the race wins. However, if the horse you bet against wins, you lose and you must pay the backer his winnings, which could be a lot more than the stake.

What is an exchange bet?

An exchange bet is one placed on a betting exchange where customers bet against each other rather than a bookmaker. Customers act like the bookie as they can offer the odds or request them from fellow customers. You can back or lay a bet too. So, if you back something, you want it to happen. If you lay a bet, you are betting on it not to happen.

What betting exchange has the best liquidity for backing with high stake liquidity?

It is generally considered that the best betting exchange for backing with high stake liquidity is Betfair. This is largely due to the number of lay bettors that use the site. You will find the best liquidity for backing on markets that cover football and horse racing.

Which betting exchange has the best liquidity for laying with high stake liquidity?

Smarkets is considered to be the best betting exchange for laying with big stake liquidity, as they have more back bettors. However, they do offer less markets than a platform like Betfair. That said, customers do get some very interesting statistics, graphics, and charts to help them find a winning bet.

Which is the best betting exchange?

Betfair is considered to be the best betting exchange in the industry. They were the first platform to offer this type of betting and continue to set the standard.

Boasting almost 90% market share for gamblers who use exchanges, they also offer excellent backing odds with big stake liquidity and lead the way in football and horse racing exchange betting.

How do betting exchanges work?

When a bet is placed on a betting exchange, essentially two bets have been placed. The first bet is backing a selection to win, with a second bet placed betting on the selection to lose. An example of this is a £10 back bet on a horse to win at 10/1 will need a £100 bet from someone for the horse to lose. Therefore, you are betting against fellow customers rather then the bookmaker.

What is a betting exchange site?

A betting exchange site is a platform that allows people to bet against each other rather than a traditional bookmaker on a sportsbook. You get to set the odds or request them from a fellow gambler. People can buy (also known as “back”) and sell (also known as “lay”) the outcome of an event, and they can trade in-play to cut their losses or lock in a profit.

What happens if you win a lay bet?

If you choose to lay a bet, you are betting on an outcome not to happen. For example, rather than backing Team A to win, you are laying them, so betting on Team A not to win. You can also lay outcomes in other sports such as horses not to win a race.