Best Betting Exchange Sites in Ireland

In this article we will look at all four Irish betting exchanges and give a full run down of what they are and how to use them. We will explain how to back and how to lay bets, we will explain why the odds are so good and we provide all you need to know in order to assess which exchange betting sites are the best. There is up to date Free bet information with the relevant bonus codes and we answer your Frequently Asked Questions at the end.

List of Bet Exchanges in Ireland

Last updated: 03.2.2023

  • Low betting exchange commissions (approximately 2%)
  • A wide range of events and sports

Sign up with the promo code ZBGC01. Confirm your phone number via SMS. Deposit at least €10 with a debit card. Bet at least €10 within 30 days after registration. Min odds are 1.50. You will get a €30 Free bet.

  • Informative statistical graphics
  • A low commission (about 2%)
  • A detailed blog

Trade with 0% commission for 60 days OR get a €20 Cash refund. Choose your option by entering a promo code given in the rules. To claim a €20 cashback offer you will also need to make your first qualifying deposit of €10 or more. The cashback is paid out in cash, not free bets.

  • An entire section devoted to football statistics
  • 0% commission for partucular markets
  • A variety of welcome promotions

Sign up in with the promo code DAQBACK and receive a 100% cashback on exchange commissions paid in the first 30 days up to €1000. API & RDP users do not qualify for this promotion. Full T&Cs apply.

  • Wide selection of bets for horse racing
  • Detailed statistics in the Live mode
  • Bets on politics

This promotion is valid until 01/01/2023 for new customers who register with the promotion code "MATCHBOOK30". Make a deposit to your betting account within 7 days and place a single bet at min odds of 1.80. Customers who make their first deposit via Skrill, Neteller or paysafecard do not participate in the promotion. If your first bet loses, within 72 hours of the settlement you will get a Free bet equal to the lost bet, but not more than €3. Place a Free bet as a single bet within 7 days. The net winnings (total payout excluding the Free bet amount) will be credited to your account in case of win.

What are Betting Exchanges?

Betting exchanges are not the same as traditional bookmakers, they are in fact a marketplace, and they act in the same way any other free market does. At a betting exchange, the product that you are buying and selling is a bet, and it operates the same way a fruit market operates selling apples or pears. In exactly the same way that a fruit market can have more demand for a certain apple which will force the price of those apples up, and if someone suddenly wants to sell an abundance of bananas the price of bananas will fall in order to clear them, the odds at a betting exchange fluctuate with the same mechanics. The odds will move up and down with the ebb and flow of supply and demand.

A betting exchange is different from a traditional bookmaker because you are not actually betting with the exchange, you are betting with all the other exchange customers. A betting exchange simply holds all the money and adjudicates which bets have won and pays the winners accordingly.

The betting exchanges all make their money by charging the winner a small commission. A betting exchange does not care if you win or if you lose because no matter what on every market they make their commission rate from someone so if you struggle to get bets on at other bookmakers then exchanges are definitely the place for you.

How Do Betting Exchanges Work?

The model of every betting exchange works by following the same flow of actions:

  • The betting exchange selects an event it wishes to open a market on, they traditionally cover more sports and certainly more entertainment and politics bets than normal bookmakers (but in recent years the bookies have caught up).
  • They then open the markets they want to offer, here they just have to say what it is people are betting on, and set the market rules explaining the details. They do not have to price the market up or provide any odds.

  • Initially, there will be no odds and nobody can bet on it! This happens when a market first goes up and you may see it if the game is far away or if the market is an unpopular one that not many people want to bet on. As time goes on more and more people will say "I will bet on that" and put in back and lay orders. As they do so, whilst the market is forming anyone can enter the stake amount and odds that they want. This will now be advertised to everyone as a bet they can accept.
  • As people seed the market it is unlikely to be matched straight away but will sit on the order book waiting for someone else to take the bet. When someone wants to accept a back bet, they click on the lay button and enter the stake amount they want to take at those odds. They are the ones who will payout the winnings if it wins but keep the stake if it loses. (Note that the betting exchange is not winning or losing anything.)
  • When you submit your bet, exchanges will ringfence the total amount of money each person (the backer and the layer) can lose and hold it waiting for the game to take place. Once it has taken place and there is a result, then if the bet was successful the backer gets their stake back plus winnings (minus commission) but if the bet lost then the layer gets their frozen potential losses back plus the stake amount (minus commission).

So to anyone who asks "how does a betting exchange work" we will now demonstrate with a real life example. It will be almost exactly the same no matter who your chosen betting exchange in Ireland is but this example happens to be at a Betfair account denominated in £s but the mechanics are all identical for Euros. What is really important to get your head around is that each bet has two sides to it between two different customers, one backing the bet and the other laying it. For every back bet there s a lay bet and vice versa. We will show how this works below:

A typical exchange betting site.

A typical exchange betting site.

In the example above we have selected a match taking place two weeks in the future between two football teams. The market has been open a short time but not very long, you can see that only £163 of bets has been matched so far and the market has an over round of 103%, which is about what a bookmaker will be but an exchange will be a lot closer to 100% when the game begins, there is still room for the odds to improve at the moment. The back odds are 1.67 on Arsenal winning. Now you may think that Arsenal will win but you wanted better odds than 1.67. Unlike a normal betting site you are not forced to accept or leave the odds on offer, instead you can submit your back bet requesting the odds that you want.

A back bet betslip before submission.

A back bet betslip before submission.

You can see this in the example above where the bet has a stake amount of 10 and the odds have been set to 1.7 which will mean a £7 profit. This bet can be submitted but we know from the earlier screen that it will not be matched at these odds.

A betting exchange interface before you have bets matched.

A betting exchange interface before you have bets matched.

Instead what happens is the bet is entered into the exchange and now it's in the lay column, you can see a pink 1.7 with £10 underneath it. That is the back bet that was just submitted. It is signaling to every other exchange customer that you want to bet £10 at odds of 1.7 on Arsenal to win and anyone who wants to bet against that can now lay it.

How to lay a bet at a betting exchange.

How to lay a bet at a betting exchange.

So we will do that, the screen above shows how to lay a bet, you click on the relevant selection and the current lay odds and a new bet slip will appear.

A lay bet betslip before submission.

A lay bet betslip before submission.

On this bet slip entering the backer's stake will be how much of the bet you can win if the bet does not happen. This is counterintuitive and not what people who have only placed back bets at regular betting sites are used to. They are used to typing in the amount that they will lose but with a lay bet you type in the amount that you will win. The amount you will lose is shown as your liability, and in this example it is £7.

A typical display after a lay bet has been matched.

A typical display after a lay bet has been matched.

Once your bet is matched then it will be removed from the exchange as you can see above, because there is no money there to be matched for anyone else now that £10 has a backer and a layer. The net position for the layer is shown above, they lose £7 if Arsenal win but win £10 if it is Leeds or a Draw.

A typical display after a back bet has been matched.

A typical display after a back bet has been matched.

This is the exact opposite of the display for the person who backed the bet, you can see they win £7 on Arsenal but lose £10 if it is Leeds or a Draw.

This is how all betting exchanges work.

What to Look Out for When Selecting an Exchange Betting Site?

When selecting a betting exchange to use there are several important factors to take into account, we will look at them all in detail below.

Commission rates

The most important thing to consider when choosing an exchange is the commission rate that is charged. This is because the odds you get at betting exchanges will be at or around a 100% over round, and if you want better odds you can just request them and either get the better odds when someone else matches the bet or the bet is just not placed. The exchange commission that you pay on winning bets is essentially the same as a normal bookmakers margin. When betting exchanges first launched at the beginning of the century and for the first fifteen years or so of their existence paying 5% commission on winning bets was the industry standard. Fortunately due to increased competition that has now been lowered to 2%, meaning a much better deal for all punters.

Liquidity

Liquidity means the amount of money that you get matched at the odds you ask for. It is all well and good a betting exchange having low commission but you need to be able to get your bet matched and to the size you want. For a long time Betfair as the market leader was the only place you could be certain of getting large bets matched but this is no longer the case and all the betting exchanges operating in Ireland have ample liquidity, certainly just before the event begins. A betting exchange without liquidity is like eBay if there were no sellers. And with no sellers, there will be no buyers (there is nothing to buy), and with no buyers no sellers will waste time and money listing things if they do not sell anything, and it is a very difficult cycle to break. This is why there are so few betting exchanges compared to the number of bookmakers, it is very hard to get a critical mass of customers to survive.

Range of Sports and Markets covered

Of course, the other key thing to getting your desired bet placed is whether or not the betting exchange list what you want to bet on. Some of the betting exchanges will add a sports betting event if it is something you are interested in though (both Smarkets and Betfair have definitely done this in the past) and you can also request individual bets to be added to an event, for example the name of someone to a "next manager" market. All the betting exchanges cover the core sports and have a depth of leagues and tournaments listed. They also have many betting options per event.

Payment and Withdrawal methods

You need to be able to get your money into (and just as importantly out of) a betting exchange in order to use it, that goes without saying really. All four betting exchanges accept debit cards which are the main form of payment with no fees and high limits, also funds are paid swiftly. There is not a lot of need for other methods if you have a debit card but some people like to use E-Wallets or other payment methods so the best betting exchange sites are clearly going to be the ones that offer those as well.

Betting Exchange's reputation

Some people look at an exchange's reputation and there is some logic to that but we would not actually worry about this too much. That is because it is retrospective (looking at the past), whereas it is the future that matters. For a long time in the gambling industry Betfair had a terrible reputation and had, amongst many things, offered promotional bonuses and then later seized the player's winnings and cash balances (sometimes worth thousands of pounds), and just confiscated it all for no justifiable reason. It was only after lengthy legal battles that Betfair had to pay the players involved.

Another major issue with Betfiar was the introduction of the Premium charge which overnight discriminated against some users and charged them a higher (and different tier) of commission which turned previously profitable users who made their living on Betfair no longer profitable. If they can change the goalposts (so to speak) just like that then there is a lot of reason not to invest the time and money into learning how to use the Betfair exchange. However, that was all in the past, and having a bad reputation is not always relevant to the present.

Today Betfair is highly unlikely to steal balances as it did perhaps ten years ago or change its commission structure overnight as it did maybe 5 years ago. Today Betfair is pretty good. So whether or not to judge them by actions of the past is up to each individual to consider.

Mobile Betting

All of the best betting sites these days have a dedicated mobile App and this applies to betting exchanges as well. Interestingly, not all of the exchanges do have a mobile App that allows all the exchange functions but the better ones will and if betting on the go is something that you want to do then this is something to consider.

Customer Support

Ideally, you will never have to ask them, but in case you do have a problem or just have a question, being able to contact a knowledgeable customer support agent quickly and easily is a big plus. There is nothing worse than spending hours (literally, hours) on hold waiting to get through to someone only to eventually get through and find you are playing message ping pong with an AI bot (and we use the "I" in AI loosely).

What is Backing and Laying at Betting Exchanges?

At a betting exchange, you can choose to back something which is betting that it will happen. This is exactly the same as placing a bet at a bookmaker. The only difference really is that at the exchange you can bet at the current odds available or you can request higher odds and wait to see if it is matched, in this way an exchange is more flexible than a bookmaker. But backing at an exchange and betting at a bookmaker is ultimately the same thing, just remember that a betting exchange will charge you commission if you win!

It is laying bets which is the real difference and what puts exchanges into a league of their own. Here you have something that no bookmaker allows and that is because in effect YOU are being a bookmaker. Laying a bet involves betting that something will NOT happen. You are taking somebody else's bet that it will, and so if they are correct and it happens you lose, but if they are wrong and it does not, then you win. Betting that things won't happen opens up a whole load more betting opportunities and when you can both back and lay on the same market it becomes possible to trade, which is a whole article in itself!

List of Betting Exchanges in Ireland

Smarkets Betting Exchange - Best Betting Exchange Site

To say which is the "best" is subjective and one mans best will be different from the next, but for us Smarkets just about pips it to the best betting exchange site number one position.

They are the newest of the four exchanges, founded in London in 2008 as a start up by two Americans they are instrumental to the standard commission rate being just 2% rather than 5% (or higher!). What seals the top spot is the functionality of the Smarkets website, and taking the ability to trade to the next level with real-time charts, much like a financial stock market display looks. They couple this with large amounts of liquidity on markets earlier than it appears at rivals so you can get your bets on earlier.

It has more flexibility than rivals with odds available up to 9999 to 1 instead of just 999/1 and they frequently have more markets available for each event. At the same time as having a superior exchange betting platform, they also have a sportsbook known as "SBK". Now it is ONLY available as an App and you use your same account for both the SBK sportsbook and the Smarkets betting exchange. Unlike rivals who have a sportsbook and lower the odds in that area, the Smarkets SBK App gives the simplicity of a bookmaker but the same great exchange odds.

Betfair Exchange Betting

Betfair was not the first betting exchange to launch but they were close and they are the earliest that still exists today. They followed a marketing strategy reminiscent of Microsoft where they grew to a monopoly position in the market by buying any of their rivals who were better than them and merging them into Betfair. They did this with a betting exchange called "Flutter" which is notable because A) Flutter was actually a much better betting exchange than Betfair and also B) Flutter is now the name of Betfair's parent company, but confusingly there is no relation between the two!

With their monopoly position and more liquidity than anyone else for many years, success breeds success, and their dominant position meant 5% basic commission (potentially lower for active users, but also higher on some specials markets), and people could take it or leave it. Betfair was the largest betting exchange and by virtue of that alone, they were leading the best betting exchanges list for a long time.

They began with the marketing slogan "Smart minds Betfair" which focused on the skill element of exchange betting and that when compared to gambling at a bookmaker where you are pretty much certain to lose money in the long run at a betting exchange where you set your own odds you have a fighting chance of winning. As time went on the Betfair management realised that to make more money they should add a Casino site so that slogan was quietly dropped, because Smart minds definitely do not bet in a Casino. They, in fact, instead added a whole host of gambling options including Poker, Bingo, Exchange Games, the Casino, and a Spread betting site "Tradefair" which moved away from their core product and perhaps explains why the competition was able to catch up with, and eventually overtake them.

Today Betfair are still the largest betting exchange in terms of users but they have been forced to offer lower commission rates and frequently have existing user promotional offers that they never used to have. This is great news for their customers. Because of the better promotions and Free bets they offer they may have had a shout at still being rated our "best" choice IF they gave these promotions to everyone. Unfortunately, they advertise these existing user offers on their homepage but then bonus ban customers from taking part in them which makes it appear a lot better than the reality!

BETDAQ Betting Exchange

The BETDAQ betting exchange has had a potted history since it was founded by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond in 2000 (they started trading one year later). For a long, long time they were the second largest betting exchange but could never truly dent Betfair's market position. In the end they were sold to Ladbrokes in 2013 and became the ill-fated and short lived "Ladbrokes Betting Exchange". Ladbrokes soon realised they had no idea what they were doing with an exchange and made a complete mess of things, forcing them to eventually offload it back to Dermot Desmond eight years later, meaning BETDAQ is once again an independent betting exchange.

They have also added a Casino site and Sportsbook which are all accessed by the same betting exchange account. BETDAQ have some existing user promotions and has recently added live streaming to their website which shows endeavor and the intention to compete and they do continue to improve. It is however a fact that at the moment they do nothing better than what is available elsewhere, and they are very much an "also ran" right now.

Matchbook Exchange Betting

Matchbook is a betting exchange that operates in the UK and Ireland and has had numerous owners since it began in 2004. They have had different commission structures during that time but currently charge Irish customers a flat 2% on winning bets which is the industry standard. They actually had their licence suspended in 2018 and were fined £740,000 for a number of regulatory breaches but they appear to have put all that behind them now.

They have considerably less sports coverage than their rivals, just 14 compared to around 30 at the others. Despite this they have a decent amount of markets compared to their rivals and the only drawback is that there are usually gaps in the odds and low liquidity until minutes before an event starts which can be frustrating.

Betting Exchange Offers - What are they?

At the time of writing all four Irish betting exchanges have a Welcome bonus but obviously different betting exchanges will have different offers with different terms and conditions attached. Some of them have existing user offers as well but they are not a regular feature of the website but are instead either sent to eligible customers by Email or they are for a specific game or match and appear on the website in the days before the start and then disappear again.

We will look at the welcome offers the betting exchange sites currently offer below. It is common for there to be several options for the new user to choose, so we will look at each one in turn. All Welcome bonuses are available to Irish customers as Euros even though the graphics may say £s. If you see T&C, £20 it is also 20:

Smarkets icon

Smarkets Welcome offers

Trade with 0% commission for 60 days or get a 20 cash refund

The promotional betting exchange commission rates are 0% for 60 days.

The promotional betting exchange commission rates are 0% for 60 days.

Option 1:

If you deposit with code "COMMFREE" then you will have to pay 0% commission for the first 60 days of your account activity. This can be worth a great deal, or very little, it depends on how much you intend to use the betting exchange in your first two months. We would suggest that if you are experienced in online betting and using betting exchanges then this could be the best option for you.

Option 2:

On the other hand, if you are new to online betting and specifically using betting exchange sites then the second option of a €20 cash refund is perfect. To get this you need to use code "SMK20" and deposit €20 with a debit card because payment restrictions apply to almost all welcome bonuses. This offer is perfect because you are free to back as normal or experiment with laying bets for the first time and there are no minimum odds or other restrictions on what betting markets you can use. You just use your account in any way you want but when you lose it does not come from your real money balance, instead it comes from your bonus credit. The only thing to be wary of is that you only have seven days to use this credit before it expires.

Betfair

Betfair Welcome offers

Bet 20 on the exchange and if it loses get a Free bet refund

The Betfair exchange offers a €20 refund as a Free bet if your first bet looses.

The Betfair exchange offers a €20 refund as a Free bet if your first bet looses.

New customers can bet €20 on the Betfair exchange (it must be all on the same market as one bet) and if it wins, then keep the winnings but if it loses get credited with a €20 Free bet. Only bets placed and settled within 7 days of account opening count as a qualifying bet for this offer. You must deposit with either a debit card or Apple pay but they are really the only restrictions. There are no min odds or anything else to worry about, what you bet on is entirely up to you.

Betdaq logo

BETDAQ Welcome offers

Bet €10 and get a €10 Free bet

Betdaq have a €10 Free bet for anyone opening a new betting exchange account.

Betdaq have a €10 Free bet for anyone opening a new betting exchange account.

BETDAQ has a welcome bonus of a €10 Free bet after you place a €10 bet on the exchange. It is important to note that there are min odds of Evens (Decimal 2) and the usual payment method restrictions apply. Your first qualifying bet can be either by backing something or by using lay betting, but once you have the Free bet it must be used on a back bet. A positive thing to note is that you are granted the Free bet whether you win or lose, which is better than only getting it if you lose your first bet.

Matchbook logo png

Matchbook Welcome offers

Remarkably at the time of writing Matchbook have a choice of five different sign up offers!

Matchbook Welcome offer promo code

Matchbook Welcome offer promo code

Option 1: Up to €60 in Free bets - World Cup offer

This offer applies to all eligible Matchbook customers who create an account using the bonus code “MATCHBOOK60” between 09:00 on the 10th of October 2022 until midnight on the 19th of November 2022.

This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other sign-up offer. Participation in this offer will exclude you from being added to any “0% Commission” promotions.

The five weekly periods are:

  • Week 1 - Get 10 (Oct 10th-16th)
  • Week 2 - Get 10 (Oct 17th-23rd)
  • Week 3 - Get 10 (Oct 24th-20th) 
  • Week 4 - Get 10 (Oct 31st-Nov 6th)
  • Week 5 - Get 10 (November 7th-November 13th)

If you stake 25 or more on Soccer betting markets during the selected weekly periods, Matchbook will award you with a 10 free bet token to bet on the Soccer World Cup.

If you qualify for all €50 you will be awarded with a further 10 Free Bet to use on the World Cup Final.

The stake is defined as the amount you stand to lose on either Back bets or win on Lay bets.

You can place bets as a single bet of 25 or smaller value bets that total 25 or more.

The qualifying bets must be placed with minimum odds of 1.8.

You will receive a 10 Free bet for each week that you qualify.

The maximum total Free bet balance that can be accrued overall is 60.

The free bet bank will be credited to your account as individual 10 tokens.

The 10 free bet token will be credited to your account on the following days and be valid for 24 hours. 

  • Day 1 - Sunday 20th November 2022
  • Day 2 - Monday 21st November 2022 
  • Day 3 - Tuesday 22nd November 2022
  • Day 4 - Wednesday 23rd November 2022
  • Day 5 - Thursday 24th November 2022
  • Day 6 - World Cup Final - 18th December 2022

The Free bet token will be added at 10:00 GMT each day.

The Free bet token will expire after 24 hours if they are unused.

The Free bet token will be credited in the currency of the customer’s Matchbook account. €1=£1=$1

The Free bet token(s) must be used at odds of 1.8 or more on betting exchange markets.

The Free bet token stake will not be returned on a winning bet. This will be reflected in the Profit/Loss figure for each bet in the bet slip and bet reports.

The full value of a Free bet token will be used when placing a bet.

Option 2:

Matchbook bet exchange 20% boost promo

Matchbook bet exchange 20% boost promo

€200 Euro (20%) boost if you win money on the World Cup Winner Market.

This promotion is available to new customers only, who register using the promo code ‘WCOUTRIGHT’.

The promotional period begins at 10:00 10th October 2022 through to November 20th November 15:00.

Applies the first bet on the World Cup 2022 Outright Market winner only.

If you have made a net profit on this market at the end of the tournament which can be from either back or lay betting, then Matchbook will add a 20% bonus on your winnings as cash to your account up to a maximum of €200.

You will be charged 2% Net Win Commission on this market if your selection wins. The 20% boost will be calculated based on your winnings after the commission has been applied.

The maximum refund that can be paid is €200 and will be paid in the currency of the customer's account. £1=€1=$1

This offer only applies to back bets only on the World Cup 2022 Outright Winner market.

The user cannot back and lay the same selection. This will exclude them from the offer.

The user cannot cash out. This will exclude them from the offer.

Any bonus due will be paid within 72 hours of the market settling.

Option 3

Matchbook Bet & Get offer for NFL betting markets

Matchbook Bet & Get offer for NFL betting markets

Sign-Up Offer - Bet 30 Get 30 On NFL

  • Sign-up to Matchbook today with bonus code: "MATCHBOOKNFL"
  • Deposit funds and place €30 worth of bets on the NFL at odds of 1.8 or more.

  • You will get a €10 Free bet for each of the next 3 NFL gameweeks. A total of €30 in Free Bets.

Option 4

Matchbook Money Back offer promo code

Matchbook Money Back offer promo code

Sign-Up Offer - Money Back If Your First Bet Loses

  • Sign-up to Matchbook today with bonus code: "MATCHBOOK30"
  • Place your first bet at odds of 1.8 or more.

  • If it loses, we will refund your stake as a single free bet.
  • Refunds will be applied to your account within 72 hours of the qualifying bet being settled.

Option 5

Matchbook gives 0% commission for 90 days

Matchbook gives 0% commission for 90 days

Sign-Up Offer - 0% Commission For 90 Days

  • Sign-up to Matchbook today with bonus code: "COMMFREE90"
  • Deposit funds using a credit or debit card. E-wallets are excluded from this promotion.

  • You will get 0% Commission on All Sports for your first 90 days.

Betting Exchange websites compared

All betting exchange websites have different qualities and there is no one that is the best betting exchange at everything. They all have strengths and weaknesses and we compare and contrast the key features of the four betting exchange options in the table below:

Header

Welcome Offer (Bonus amount)

Existing User Offers

Sports Covered

Number of payment methods accepted

Live Streaming

Highest Total Matched

Smarkets

€20 (Risk free credit)

No

22

6

No

2018: England vs. Sweden World Cup quarter-final (€22.3 million)

Betfair

€20 (Free bet refund)

Yes

28

9

Yes

2020: US Presidential Election (€564 million)

BETDAQ

€10 (Free bet)

Yes

19

5

Yes

No info

Matchbook

€60 (Free World Cup bets)

Yes (Emailed to selected accounts)

14

3

No

No info

Pros & Cons Of Sports Betting Exchanges Compared To Sportsbooks

Betting Exchange Positives:

  • Your bets are anonymous on an exchange* - Nobody else knows what you bet on or how much you bet, so you can be someone who makes a long run profit at betting sites and still get decent sized bets on because it is not possible to limit your account just for sports betting profitably which a regular betting site will do.

    *Interestingly this was not always the case, and before Betfair merged with Flutter at Flutter you could see who had matched your bets and who you were winning money from, or losing it to!
  • The odds are better at an exchange - It is no great secret that you will get better odds at betting exchange sites than at traditional sports betting bookmakers. There are several reasons for this but the main one is probably that the betting exchange will always trend towards a 100% book (perfect market with no margin) and you will just have to pay commission if you win. This leads to much, much, better betting odds on outsider events where traditional sportsbooks may offer considerably less value because they consider that anyone betting on it will do so regardless of the odds.

    If you are online betting on horse racing then the best betting odds will be at an exchange.

    If you are online betting on horse racing then the best betting odds will be at an exchange.

  • Should be more secure - In theory a betting exchange should be a more secure place for your funds to be because betting exchanges should never lose money. They do not care if someone wins or loses because they take a cut of commission regardless. The expenses they have are known in advance, which are the staff wages and office rent, hosting the website, etc, etc, but they can not be caught out by a punter suddenly winning a huge ten leg Acca for €1,000,000! When you look at it like that a betting exchange should never go bust and it is true that far, far more bookmakers go bust every year than betting exchanges, betting exchanges have folded before (SportingOptions) and punters only got their money back up to a £1000 limit!
  • Much more flexibility when you can lay bets - Being able to lay (bet against) something happening gives you a huge amount more flexibility. It is a more efficient way of betting and opens up a huge amount of extra options. When you "cash out" bets at traditional bookmakers what you are doing is laying the bet that you have previously backed. Using a betting exchange allows the exact same thing only with much better odds.
  • Much more in-play betting options - When an event goes "In-Play", at a betting exchange there are much more competitive odds than the same thing at a bookmaker and you can bet on a larger range of markets. If it is horse racing, the market won't suspend until the horses have crossed the line unlike at a bookmaker who will end betting much earlier. In fact, at a betting exchange if the finish was close the live betting market will reopen which enables punters to bet on the result of the photograph!

Betting Exchange Negatives:

  • They have fewer existing user promotions - Betting exchanges will as a rule have far fewer concessions and Free bet promotions than sportsbooks. The most notable one of these is "Best Odds Guaranteed". This offer is pretty much the only reason why a traditional sportsbook can be considered a value bet when compared to betting at the exchange but only if you are betting a few hours before a race while the market is forming.
  • They are not always the best odds - You must factor in commission which can make the exchange odds not as good as they appear. At 2% the exchange is still probably better but regular betting sites will be competitive on the favourites for both horse racing and football as these feature odds are used to draw in customers.
  • You can not place accumulator bets - Smart bettors would not be doing that anyway but many people like to and if you are someone who likes to bet on an Acca, you won't be able to do it at any betting exchange. You can place multiple bets one after the other and roll up the winnings each time but you can not place an Acca as one bet. For a short period of time betting exchanges did introduce the functionality to do it but it never took off and you can not do it anymore.
  • You have no protection from a "Palpable Error" - A palpable error is when a sports betting contract between a customer and the bookmaker can be canceled because there has been an obvious mistake. This can work both ways, sometimes to the benefit of a customer and sometimes for the bookmaker, it is usually when for example the odds at all other betting sites are 1/8 on the heavy favourite to win but one bookmaker has it at 8/1. Someone at the betting site has typed the odds in incorrectly and it is obvious that has happened and those bets are voided. This is not the case at an exchange, when you submit a bet and it is matched then that is that. There have been occasions where people layed horses at 1000/1 by accident and the horse went on to win, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds losses in minutes. That was just tough for the unlucky layer and good news for the backers who got such fabulous odds. At regular betting sites in the case of a palpable error the customer support will cancel the bet.

Football Exchanges

There is no such thing as a football betting exchange, however, all betting exchanges allow bets to be placed on football using a range of markets. We have gone into great detail above explaining how to place a bet on the exchange, from both the perspective of a backer and as a layer. Please refer to these step by step explanations to help you.

Horse Racing Betting Exchanges

There is no such thing as a betting exchange for horse racing exclusively, however, all betting exchanges allow bets to be placed on horse races. A major thing that becomes obvious when using an exchange to bet on horse racing is how much fluctuation there is in the odds just before the off. It is not at all uncommon to see a horse's odds swing about from perhaps 5/1 out to 7/1 and then back into 4/1 (for example) in the space of ten minutes. The timing of your bets can be just as important as the bet that you place.

Tips from Match.Center on how to exchange bet

  • What is great about betting on an exchange is the flexibility you have over the odds you get, so it is a great idea to decide what bets you want to place (stake amount and odds) BEFORE you look at what is available. Then go to the exchange and if the odds are higher than you wanted then you just get the higher odds as a windfall, if the odds are lower then submit your bet anyway and leave it. If at any time the odds rise to your desired level then you get the higher odds, but if they do not then your bet is canceled. You will never have to take a bet at odds lower than you want, instead you either get your desired odds or simply do not bet.
  • When comparing odds to a traditional bookmaker remember that an exchange has no extra promotions to boost the value of the bet, it is what it is and (usually) there are no refunds or cashback under any circumstances. There is also commission to take into account, which can be as much as 8%! Although exchanges are normally the best value odds they are not always. So step back and look at the bigger picture.
  • If you have placed a reasonably long odds bet what you can do is then lay your stake amount at 1.01 (or anything up to 1.2 works) and tick the box to make it go live in-play. There are two reasons why, and both of them revolve around the fact that at some point your bet might look incredibly likely to win. Firstly by laying at 1.01 if this is matched then you instantly free up this money to bet again with, you do not need the event itself to end and the bet settle, you can use your stake again straight away. Secondly, the bet might not actually win, and you do not want to have been so close to winning and then have victory snatched away and lose money right at the end, so this way at least when it is very likely you will win, you can rest assured that you will no longer lose no matter what. Placing a low odds lay bet in this way is a bit like "cashing out" a bet at a traditional bookmaker.