One of the best things about online gambling is the competition between the operators. They are trying really hard to get customers and a lot of great innovations are born this way. One of them is the so-called betting exchanges.
They give you the chance to actually place wagers against other players instead of facing the bookie directly. There are similarities, but also huge differences compared to traditional sportsbooks. In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about the betting exchange sites in general. On top of that, we will give you a list of the best of them available.
How Do Betting Exchanges Work?
As we already mentioned, you basically bet against other players and not against the bookies. However, let’s go into some more details.
For a start, the exchange basically provides the platform you required for the whole process. It ensures the secure transactions and the safety of the players. This is the reason the betting exchanges require a similar regulation as the online bookmakers.
They also will provide the list of events and markets you can pick from. The most popular sports and competitions from all around the globe are covered. You can pick one, find the game you need, and see what markets are available.
Back and lay
You can then proceed and pick what you want to do with the market. You have the option to back an event which plays the same way as betting in a traditional bookmaker. However, you can also lay the outcome in which case you become the bookie and place your money that the event won’t be true.
For example, let’s take the over 2.5 goals market in a random football match. You decide to back the over 2.5 at odds of 1.80 with £10. If there are more than 2.5 goals in the game, you win and get £18.
If you decide to lay over 2.5 with £10 at the same odds, you essentially place your money that there won’t be over 2.5 goals in the game. Also, to win the £10 you want from the backer, you risk losing the £8 profit he gets if there are over 2.5 goals.
Essentially, there is a pot of £18 the two sides are fighting for. The first £10 are given by the backer and the £8 are given by the layer. The guy who wins takes it all.
You now know how the matching works in terms of the two sides involved. But who determines the price? Well, the players do. You can see what’s available and go for it. However, if you don’t like the current odds, you can offer your own odds. If another user decides he wants to get that, you have a match and the bet is on.
It’s interesting that sometimes you can get even higher odds that you bargained for, while sometimes only a part of your bet will be accepted at the price you want.
The exchanges are automatically matching the users and giving you the best price possible. It really depends if there is enough volume from other players and this is the deciding factor.
Main advantages of betting exchanges
Here are the reasons why betting exchanges are worth your time:
- Be the bookie: you have the option to actually take the bets of other players;
- Pick your odds: you can pick the odds you believe are profitable and if someone matches them, you’re good to go. This is a huge advantage that could make a large difference in the long run;
- No betting limits: if there is enough volume, there is no limit on what you can place;
- Winners welcome: unlike the bookies that don’t like winners, the betting exchanges don’t really care who gets the money at the end. Their job is to match the two players and get the small fee they charge for the service;
- Flexibility: the opportunities you get with betting exchanges allow you to develop various strategies that are simply impossible if you stick with traditional bookies.
Main disadvantages of betting exchanges
Of course, there are some downsides of using betting exchanges such as:
- Limited events: you will rarely find some matches from sports and competitions that aren’t that popular. There simply won’t be enough volume to place the bet you want;
- Limited markets: the lack of volume also affects certain markets;
- No bonuses and promotions: unlike the bookmakers, who offer many promotions and welcome bonuses, betting exchanges offer no or at least a very limited amount of freebets and bonuses.
The Best Betting Exchanges On The Market
As you could imagine, some better exchanges are better than others. We reviewed most of them and decided to compile a list with those we believe are the best. The main criteria are the quality of the platform, the volume, the overall service, the customer support, and other important aspects:
Betfair: the best exchange site
Betfair is the undisputed leader in the world of online betting exchanges. The company is by far the most popular out there and there are good reasons for that. It has been around since 1999 and has built an exceptional reputation for the time being.
Betfair has gambling licenses from various regulators such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. As a result, the betting exchange offers its services in pretty much any country where betting is allowed.
Here are some important notes about Betfair:
- Sports and markets: you will find pretty much every popular sport available. The list includes football, tennis, horse racing, and many more. All traditional markets are covered, as well as some choices that aren’t so popular;
- Liquidity: this is where Betfair really excels. The exchange has the highest liquidity on the market. This guarantees the best odds and the opportunity to get a match for the majority of your bets. A crucial advantage over any other company and the main reason we recommend Betfair;
- Commission: the betting exchanges make profit by charging a commission on each matched bet. In Betfair’s case, only the winner of the wager pays it. The base value is 5% but you can earn various discounts by collecting Betfair points;
- Mobile version: you can easily place wagers on the go with the mobile app of Betfair. It works on the likes of iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone;
- Other factors: you can’t really find any disadvantages when it comes to Betfair. The support is fast, there are plenty of payment options you could use, and you can even find the occasional promotion.
Ladbrokes is one of the largest UK bookies and the company has a long history in the gambling industry. It has successfully managed to conquer the online world in the 1990s as well. Ever since, Ladbrokes has launched a bunch of quality gambling products.
One of them is the operator’s own betting exchange. It is licensed in the United Kingdom and benefits from the user base of Ladbrokes. Here are more details about:
- Sports and markets: all of the mainstream sports such as football, tennis, basketball, horse racing, American football and more are part of the Ladbrokes betting exchange coupon. That’s not all, as many other events are included.Chances are, you will find what you are looking for;
- Liquidity: the volume of bets that’s available on Ladbrokes can’t compare with Betfair, but it’s solid on popular events. If you are looking for football matches, tennis, horse racing, and other sports with millions of fans, you will be able to easily match your bets;
- Commission: the Ladbrokes betting exchange charges the winner with 5%, but this rate can be reduced. The more you bet, the lower it gets;
- Mobile version: there is a native app available on both Android and iOS. On top of that, the website of the Ladbrokes betting exchange is fully responsive. You can easily place your bets from most tablet and phones;
- Other factors: the reputation of Ladbrokes alone is a good reason to trust this particular betting exchange. It has been around for ages and successfully manages all kinds of gambling products. On top of that, the support is impeccable and the payments are very fast.
Matchbook is another big player when it comes to online betting exchanges. The company has been around for more than 10 years and has a solid user base. The company holds two separate betting licenses from the gambling commission of Alderney and the United Kingdom, This allows Matchbook to accept customers from many different countries. Matchbook offers a nice welcome bonus to its new customers.
Here is what the betting exchange has to offer:
- Sports and markets: the total number of sports covered by Matchbook is over 20. You will find the likes of football, tennis, basketball, horse racing, and many more. It’s interesting to see eSports on the list as well;
- Liquidity: you will find plenty of users on the popular sports and events available on the Matchbook platform. You shouldn’t have any issues placing a wager on them, but that’s not always the case with minor competitions;
- Commission: one of the advantages of Matchbook is the much lower commission. The company charges 1.5% if you are the one who accepted another user’s offer. If you add the bet option and some matches it, you are charged only 0.75%. However, both the losing and winning player are charged. This is why Matchbook might not be the best place for you, if the large majority of your wagers normally lose;
- Mobile version: Matchbook made sure that each customer can easily play on the go. There are native apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and even Apple Watch. On top of that, the website of the exchange works on all kinds of modern phones and tablets;
- Other factors: Matchbook has tons of experience and an exceptional reputation. The company is taking good care of its customers and is always trying to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the quality of its platform.
Compared to the other betting exchanges, Smarkets is relatively new to the market. The company is ambitious to make it and puts a large effort. It already managed to attract a decent number of customers from various countries.
Smarkets accepts most players from jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. The reason for that is that the operator is licensed by two of the most respected gambling commissions in the world. They are located in the United Kingdom and Malta.
So, let’s see some important facts about Smarkets:
- Sports and markets: if you look at the platform, you will see about 15 main sections, including top choices like football, horse racing, tennis, and basketball. Smarkets also covers unconventional stuff like politics and TV shows. The number of markets is decent, but a bit behind Betfair. Still, will find all classic betting options;
- Liquidity: the volume is lower than the best exchanges online, but unless you are a high roller or want to bet on some rare events, you should be fine;
- Commission: one of the main advantages of Smarkets over the competition is the fixed commission of 2%;
- Mobile version: betting on the go is crucial which is why Smarkets launched dedicated apps for both iOS and Android. The user interface is seamless and you will be able to manage all of your bets from your phone or tablet;
- Other factors: what we really like about this particular betting exchange is the desire to improve all the time. It’s much needed in such a competitive niche and we are confident Smarkets will only get better with time.
As you can see, the online betting exchanges have a lot to offer. They are much more flexible than the traditional bookies and you will find plenty of opportunities to make money. It’s no surprise many pro bettors are using them all the time. If you’re still not on board, we highly recommend you to give it a shot. You will be surprised how good the odds could be and the exchanges don’t block winners as many sportsbooks do.
Last Update: May 2019