How to Choose the Best Betting Exchange Sites

Interested in different types of bets? We provide you with betting exchange offer updates from the best UK operators.

Betting exchanges have completely changed the landscape for online betting. They differ from traditional sportsbooks in that, for the very first time, they allowed punters to ‘play bookmaker’ and ‘lay’ bets (essentially betting on something not to win) as well as back in the normal way.

Remember, with betting exchanges you are not betting against a bookmaker but against other punters who take a contrary view. They also allow you to trade and alter your positions in-play. Betting exchanges make their money by taking a small commission from all winning bets, so, unlike the bookies, you will not be restricted for winning too much on a bet exchange.

The first betting exchange, Betfair, was an instant hit and rival betting exchanges quickly popped up. Interested in these different types of bets? We provide you with betting exchange offer updates from the best operators…

Best Betting Exchange Sites




  • Betfair – The best betting exchange with the most ‘liquidity’ and number of markets on offer, Betfair’s main markets are football, horse racing, tennis and golf for which they offer ‘in-running’ exchange bets.
  • Betdaq – The first sports exchange to challenge Betfair’s mantle, Betdaq was founded by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond who had, ironically, made his fortune by trading international currency markets. In terms of turnover Betdaq sits in second place of all the betting exchange sites and probably the best place to ‘trade’ Irish horseracing.
  • Matchbook – Matchbook may have joined the party late but it is making enormous strides in the betting exchange UK race with horseracing recently joining its stable of sports in which it offers markets. Horse racing betting ‘in-running’ is reportedly about to be introduced by the company who have traditionally majored in US sports such as Basketball and Baseball.
  • Ladbrokes – Ladbrokes exchange betting can be found at a tab on the Ladbrokes.com sportsbook homepage.  Ladbrokes added this feature after buying the Betdaq sports exchange in 2013 and so people who exchange bet at Ladbrokes are essentially trading against Betdaq customers.

What is a Betting Exchange?

A betting exchange differs from bookmakers betting offers in that you are betting against other people and not a traditional bookmaker or sportsbook. Therefore, on an exchange, you can ask for a higher price that what is currently being offered and if someone else gives you your asking price (lays the bet) then your bet is ‘Matched’.

Due to their low overheads, you can often obtain much higher odds on the exchanges particularly on the outsiders in a contest which can be way higher than bookies offers. It’s always worth looking at the betting odds on the exchanges if you are betting on a long shot.

On the betting exchanges people can set their own betting odds about runners and participants in any sporting event so you can attempt to obtain even higher odds that what is currently being offered.  In the example of horseracing they can seek to back a horse at odds of 9/2 – which will be displayed as a decimal 5.5 on the exchanges – even though that horse is only available at 4/1 with traditional bookmakers. Similarly they can attempt to take bets on another horse by offering a price which competitive or attractive to punters.

As these prices fluctuate on sports exchanges before and during a race or contest there are great opportunities to ‘trade’ and long before an event’s conclusion there is plenty of opportunity to profit simply from market fluctuations. The “Cash-Out” options we now see available on most traditional sportsbooks has always been available on the exchanges by simply being able to lay (bet to lose) a selection. Laying off on Betfair still provides better value than bookmakers cash-out functions.

For more advanced punters, the exchanges also facilitate arbitrage opportunities, that is covering all possible outcomes and guaranteeing a profit no matter who wins.

A bet exchange charges a small commission on winning bets to make their profits and, remarkably, a site like Betfair has to accommodate more trades per-day than the London Stock Exchange.

Back Betting

Betting ‘in running’ was revolutionised by bet exchanges and the ability to ‘cash-out’ or ‘consolidate’ positions make exchanges the preferred place for professional punters to do their business.

‘Back Betting’ is one such system which exchange players and even on-course bookmakers like to employ.  And why not? Exchange bet sites make it possible for people to lay off potential losses and guarantee profits.

For example, if you have laid a selection on a sports exchange at 2/1 (3.0 in exchange odds) and that selection is later trading at 5/1 (6.0) you can ‘back bet’ by placing some funds on the selection at the bigger price meaning you are guaranteed a profit regardless of if it wins or loses.

Lay Betting

Possibly, as a result of people being accustomed to traditional ‘betting’, it is a fact that more bet exchange players ‘back’ as opposed to ‘lay’ selections.  Life as a ‘layer’ is not all bad.  Traditional bookmakers have made a living from laying horses, greyhounds, golfers, tennis players and football teams for decades after all.

But this is the 21st century and new-age bet exchange sites offer far more than the ability to trade.  Graphs help players check the betting trends and just like stock markets traders can ‘play the trends’ when making trading decisions.

And vitally, unlike traditional bookmakers, no bet exchange player is forced to lay any selection.  This ability to be selective makes exchange trading far more attractive than buying a bookmaking permit and becoming an on-course bookmaker.

Pros and Cons of Betting Exchange Trading

Once you use a bet exchange it is unlikely you will place your day-to-day wagers anywhere else.  There are too many advantages to simply list them all but to name a few:

Pros

  • Ability to back & lay selections
  • Near 100% betting margins
  • Close down bets before an event’s conclusion
  • Find arbitrage opportunities by backing & laying at shorter prices
  • Low commission rates
  • Hundreds of sports covered
  • Thousands of markets
  • Quick settlements
  • Unique betting markets

Cons

  • Cannot benefit from ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’
  • Reduction factor for non-runners
  • No ‘First Past The Post’ payouts