We compare the best betting exchanges in the UK to try help you choose the one that is right for you.
Below in the chart are the top 4 exchanges and what we think of them:
What is a betting exchange and how do they work?
A betting exchange is not actually a bookie, it is a match making service that matches bets from backers and layers. this is great for punters because there is no conflict of interest between you and the company. Traditional bookmakers want you to lose. Betting exchanges take a commission on bets so it actually works in their favour if you win as you bet more.
When you are placing a bet you will be doing it against another individual or a market maker, which means that your odds when you place a bet on a betting exchange will be better than with a normal bookie. They basically operate like a stock exchange showing orders (or bets) of gamblers that are either positive or negative about an event.
Betting and winning on losers
The best thing about betting exchanges (even more so than the better odds) is that you can bet against a losing outcome. This could be a horse not winning or a football match not scoring enough goals. You do this by laying bets on a betting exchange, which means you are essentially acting as the bookie accepting bets from people.
Regulation and financial security
Of course you can’t lay bets as a bookie as you need to be regulated, but through a betting exchange it is structured as a lay bet so you can win from losing. The major betting exchanges are all regulated by the relevant gambling commission and have strong financial backing. You should never place or lay bets on an exchange that is not regulated or financially backed.
Range of markets and speciality bets
Online betting exchanges offers some of the broadest ranges of markets to bet on. It’s possible to bet on pretty much anything there is a market for from the major sporting events to reality TV.
Betting on non traditional markets is only possible if there is significant demand from market makers and those prepared to lay bets. The exchange takes no risk on the best, so can provide the platform to match interests.
Multiple bets and best online odds
The top betting exchanges in the UK have very good liquidity and odds on straight bets, and the bigger ones have good placed and outside bet categories. However, if you are looking for multiple bets this is not really possible as finding a market maker or layer that is prepared to offer such long odds will be rare. For multiple bets you are better off going with a traditional fixed odds bookmaker. For normal to win or place betting, betting exchanges still offer the best odds around.
In play and live betting
If you compare betting exchanges to stock exchanges you can see why live and in play betting is so popular. The odds change with demand based on what is happening at the underlying event. They are a very good indicator of what is actually happening in the market because it is driven by crowd consensus rather than firm odds.
As placing a bet is so fast on exchanges you can bet during a race or in the last few minutes of a football match. This also means you can use betting exchanges to hedge other bets, take betting profits early to to shut down a losing bet before it gets any worse.
Risks and rewards
It is clear that the rewards of betting with the top betting exchanges can be better than with traditional bookies. But punters should be aware that there are considerable risks to laying bets on exchanges.
If you lay a bet and the odds are long you can potentially lose many times more than the stake. Always ensure you fully understand the risks involved with laying bets as they can be large.
How Online Betting Exchanges Work
They offer by far the best odds around because you are not actually betting against the bookie. You are betting against other players. You can also bet on something not happening, so if you think the favourite doesn’t stand a chance of winning you can “Lay” it. Let’s look at Brazil as an example here. They are currently trading at 4.2 on Betfair which means if you “Back” them to win with £10 you will win £32 (£10×4.2 = £42 less your stake of £10 = £32). But, if you think they will lose, you don’t need to bet on every other team, you just “Lay” them. You essentially become the bookie and accept a £10 bet at 4.2 from someone else. What this means is that if you “Lay” them for £10 to win and they do not you get the £10 someone else staked on the bet. However, as the odds are 4.2 if you loose you end up paying out £42 to the person who bet against you (£32 win liability and the £10 stake). So you stand to make £10 but lose £32.
The key to winning with betting exchanges is finding the best odds.
There are three main betting exchanges which we have listed above. Each of them offer a welcome bonus once you have deposited funds. It is always worth opening accounts with all of them and funding will a token amount of £50 to get the welcome bonus. The betting exchanges give new customers extra money to bet with as part of their strategy to increase business as they assume you will come back for more after your initial bet. This is fair enough and a good way to increase your betting budget.
What are the best betting exchanges in the UK?
The best betting exchanges in the UK depend on what sort of sports trader you are or if you are a matched bettor. Betfair is the most established betting exchange, followed by Betdaq, with Smarkets and Matchbook nipping at their heals by the increase in matched bettors looking to lay off bets. Both these two last mentioned exchanges are improving in terms of liquidity and markets on offer.
However Betfair is by far the largest exchange and offers the best liquidity which is extremely important for executing most of the possible exchange strategies.