Comparing UK Betting Exchange Sites

Tony Hammonds
June 18, 2015
Comparing Betting Exchange sites

Betting exchange sites are a relatively new way of bookmaking. For punters though it could be the future of online betting. This is because both the bookmaker and its clients can make huge profits compared with the traditional style of wagering.

It’s also known as a player-to-player betting.

This is because the bookmaker only serves as a mediator between the clients from either side of the market.

This type of betting offers many advantages to punters. It is no wonder it has become very popular over the last few years.

How Do Betting Exchanges Work?

You can either “back” or “lay” at betting exchange sites, meaning you can either place a bet as you would normally or you can “lay” a bet, acting as the bookmaker.

The former requires you to place money equal to your stake with the exchange.

The latter requires you to cover the liability of the other individual’s wager should they win.

Therefore, if you lay 10 pounds (like accepting a bet of 10 pounds from someone else) at odds of 3.0, (both Betdaq and Betfair use decimal rather than fractional wagering odds) then you need 20 pounds to cover your liability.

Back, Lay or Offer

When you plan to place a “back” or a “lay” bet you will see the back odds in blue and lay odds in pink (at Betfair) and below it you will see the amount of money that’s presently available.

Since a betting exchange links up people on opposite sides of a wager you can only place your bet if there is someone willing to take the other side.

Conversely, if there is nobody presently available to match your bet with or not at odds you are willing to stake, you can put up an offer.

Understanding How to Bet on the Betting Exchange sites

BACK BETTING – When you “back” a selection (a horse, team, an individual, dog or other) you are predicting that it will win. This is just like wagering with normal sportsbooks or bookies.

LAY BETTING – When you “lay” a bet, you are the bookmaker. You are taking the betting stake and hoping the selection loses.

CHOOSE ODDS – There’s always a choice of what odds to accept. In the event that you want better odds than are presently available, you can place an order for a much bigger price.

Take a good look at the odds before a horse race or a game and you will see them change as betting exchange clients “back” and “lay” their wagers.

The odds usually improve nearer to the off, as the amount of money being matched increases.

PRIVACY – Your privacy and confidentiality is maintained as nobody ever knows who they are gaming against.

Guarantee a profit whatever the outcome – Betting exchange sites also gives you the opportunity, in certain situations, to make an assured profit.

The idea is the same as an “arbitrage” in spread betting or share trading.

The Arbitrage opportunity arises in two situations:

One, when you “lay” a selection and the price consequently gets longer.

Two, when you “back” a selection and the price consequently contracts.

The idea is best explained by an example:

  • A pony is “layed” at 1.67.
  • You have taken a 500 pounds wager to lose 335 pounds if the horse wins.
  • The horse subsequently drifts to evens 2.0 on Betfair.
  • Now you can “back” your horse on Betfair at 2.0 staking 400 pounds and you will guarantee a profit whatever happens.
  • In this example, you will make 100 pounds profit if your horse loses and 65 pounds profit he wins. It’s always a good idea to take a guaranteed profit.

What is Lay Betting?

Lay betting has been a popular transformation in the last few years.

Lay betting isn’t like the traditional bookmakers, where you are wagering on someone or something to win.

A lay bet is wagering against someone or something winning.

In simple terms, laying Team A is betting against Team A winning, so if they draw or lose, you win your bet.

Betting Exchange Sites Compared

The Commission rates can be lowered depending on your betting volume.

Betfair's rate can be reduced to as low as 2%. Although you would need to be turning over a large amount of bets and in return earning Betfair points to lower your rate.

A better way to go would be to opt for Betdaq who offer 50% commission back in the first 3 months of betting activity.

Betfair Betting Exchange


Betfair betting exchange is the most popular online betting site in the planet and it’s amazing.

The Betfair betting exchange software is fantastic and, because Betfair is rightly the number one betting exchange site, the volume on the betting markets is great.

The huge volume is ideal for bettors and layers. This is because it provides the choice of bets punters are looking for.

Betfair is regulated by the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission and their headquarters are in London.

There also exists a Betfair sportsbook section where you can gamble with them like any traditional bookmaker.

Betdaq Betting Exchange

Betdaq Exchange

The Betdaq exchange has its offices in Ireland. Betdaq runs a good business and their betting exchange software has closed the gap on Betfair in recent years, but it needed to.

The site comes a distant but respectable second to betting industry giants Betfair.

It’s hard to imagine anyone honestly doing their selections on Betdaq and not the industry leaders Betfair.

It’s therefore advisable to open an account with both Betfair and Betdaq. This allows you to constantly check the odds of your chosen bets, whether it’s a bet or a lay on Betdaq before you commit to your wager on Betfair.

I suggest checking both exchange sites in case you see options that would appeal to your style of betting at Betdaq compared to Betfair.

It’s free to open an account with Betfair and Betdaq, Both sites have an easy to follow help section which is particularly useful to familiarize yourself with exchange betting.

Smarkets Betting Exchange

With the current hike in the premium rates at Betfair, bettors across the planet are now seriously seeking viable options.

In the current online betting climate to fill the gap however Smarkets betting exchange is not well placed to fulfil the task.

Founded in 2008 and opened for business since 2010, the company consists of a small multinational team that runs its marketing operations out of offices in Clerkenwell, London.


The firm is also financed by a number of private investors. Smarkets doesn't have the same range of betting markets compared to it's main rivals.

It is not considered to be a viable alternative for serious bettors.

As such we would suggest giving Smarkets a miss and rather concentrate on the main players in the betting exchange field.

There's also a doubt in security and safeness of funds on playing with a smaller startup.

Punters have been stung in the past with winnings not been paid out or even confiscation of funds. Our verdict – stick to Betfair and Betdaq and you won't go wrong.

Are betting exchange sites safe?

Betting exchange sites have had to develop exceptional systems to ensure the safety of clients account details.

They understand that safety is one of their clients’ key concerns.

For example, Betfair and Betdaq Exchange encode your full debit card details and send them online just once, when you first register a card.

Your account details are then kept in coded form on the company’s secure servers.

Betfair betting exchange is a fully regulated, licensed betting company not only in the UK but in a number of other nations too.

They give full details of their secure server credentials online. If you would like more detailed re-assurance and name DataCash and the Royal Bank of Scotland as their secure payment providers.

Author Tony Hammonds

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