If you’re a fan of sports betting but fancy a break from traditional bookies, listen up. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can back and lay bets online using something known as a betting exchange sites.
In this guide to betting exchange sites, we’ll explain how these platforms work, why they’re different from traditional online bookmakers, and how you can get free bets, 0 commission, and a whole lot more!
Best Betting Exchanges Sites
What are the best exchange betting sites online? Let’s take a look…
£50 Free Bet on Exchange
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Max £20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Payment restrictions apply for the promotion. T&Cs
£30 Money Back If Your First Bet Loses
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New Customer Only. Sign up using the bonus 'Matchbook30'. Place your first bet, if it loses, we will refund your first bet stake as a free bet. The first bet must be placed within 7 days of registration and at odds of 1.8 or more. The max refund is a single £30 free bet and will be applied to your account with 72 hours of qualifying bet settlement. 18+ only. T's and C's apply. Be Gamble Aware.
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When it comes to betting exchanges and the best overall user experience, Betfair is the original and, in many ways, still the best. Launched back in 2000, Betfair Exchange has become the biggest betting platform of its kind with thousands of wagers taking place on a daily basis.
As you’d expect, this industry leader offers safe payment options in the form of Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, bank transfer, and a variety of other methods. It also offers all new customers up to £100 in free bets. This deal is only available outside of the exchange (i.e. inside the Betfair Sportsbook) and to newbies that use our Betfair promo code ZBBC01. However, it’s still a great bonus.
Those are great attributes but they’re not the best reasons to use the Betfair Betting Exchange. In our opinion, this is the best betting exchange site because it has more customers than anyone else. Unlike traditional bookies, exchange betting relies on customers swapping bets. Therefore, if a site has more customers than anyone else, it stands to reason that you’ll get more action.
The other reason Betfair is worth using is its commission policy. The standard rate is 5%. However, you can reduce that by up to 60% with loyalty points. You’ll earn one point for every £0.10 you pay in commission. These points can be used to buy bonuses that reduce the amount of commission you pay for a certain period of time!
Smarkets is based in the UK and went live in 2008. It currently brands itself as one of the lowest-commission betting exchanges online. Its standard tariff is 2%, which is lower than Betfair. Also, these charges only apply to winners. In other words, you’ll only pay a commission at Smarkets if you have a net profit on a betting market.
Finally, just to prove that this is one of best the exchange betting sites for commission, Smarkets has offers that can reduce your fees even further. There are 0 commission welcome bonuses for newbies and the chance to cut your standard tariff to 1% if you’re a loyal customer. This focus on low commission rates doesn’t come at the expense of your overall sports betting experience.
Smarkets is fully licensed and regulated in the UK. This means it offers secure payment options via debit card, eWallet, and bank transfer. It also offers markets on 22 sports/events, including politics and TV. Finally, the software allows you to favourite certain events, get live updates and review graphs/stats before placing a bet.
Considered one of the original online exchange betting sites, Matchbook went live in 2004 and is still going strong today. As per the company’s PR team, the reasons it remains one of the best betting exchange sites are “better odds, better insights, and better backing and laying options”.
In terms of the basics, you can make deposits and withdrawals using Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Skrill, and Paysafecard. There are exchange betting markets for 17 sports and extra ones for current events and enhanced odds wagers. Finally, Matchbook is fully licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
In terms of selling points, the commission rate at Matchbook is low. In fact, it’s one of the lowest in the business when you take into account the 0 commission bonus offers. By clicking here and using the Matchbook bonus code COMMFREE, you’ll pay zero commission on all sports for your first 30 days on the site. That’s a fantastic offer. To make this exchange even more attractive, you can get expert insights via the Matchbook podcast and its tipping tools.
New Betting Exchange Sites
Alongside industry veterans like Betfair and Smarkets, there’s a flourishing crop of new betting exchange sites. Although most people will opt for established brands with big reputations, there’s a lot to be said for using the newest betting exchanges. The sites listed below are a great example of why you should never discount the newbies.
BetDaq isn’t technically a new betting exchange. It originally launched in 2000 and was known as the Global Betting Exchange Alderney Limited. However, the company was bought by Ladbrokes in 2013 and, since then, it’s undergone something of a transformation. Today, BetDaq is the second largest betting exchange online with approximately 7% market share. It also has a micro-sister site called BetDaqNFL which focuses on American Football.
In terms of the main sports betting site, it handles more than £75 million in wagers every week. In layman’s terms, that means there’s enough action for just about every type of bettor. Indeed, even if you’re a highest of high rollers, there will be someone that’s willing to take your action. Naturally, you’ll need to get money into and out of the site to sample this plethora of betting activity. Fortunately, BetDaq makes it easy for you. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Skrill and Neteller will all get the job done.
From a betting perspective, BetDaq covers 23 sports, including horse racing, football, and boxing. It also covers exotic options such as eSports, virtual sports and current affairs. The final string to this betting exchange site’s bow is promotions. New customers can get up to £1,000 worth of commission back when they use the BetDaq promo code DAQBACK. There’s also free bets, 0 commission, and a lot more. Naturally, T&C apply to all bonuses. However, you’ll be able to get more value here than almost any other betting exchange.
What are Betting Exchanges Sites and How Do They Work?
Online betting exchanges are platforms where customers can back and lay bets against each other. To explain what this means in context, let’s first explain what a traditional bookie is. Sportsbooks are companies that lay bets. This means they offer odds on a particular outcome and you can make money if your prediction is correct. For example, a typical sports bet might be X team will beat Y team. If you agree with this proposition, you can back it.
Betting exchanges also allow you to back bets. However, when you do, you’re doing it against an individual instead of a bookmaker. This is possible because exchanges allow customers to lay bets. In other words, you can make your own bet.
So, if you join Betfair, you can set the bet “X team will beat Y team”. People that agree can wager money with you. If X wins, you have to pay out. If Y wins, you keep their money. So, in this sense, you’ve always got the opposite side of the bet when you create it.
To make sure you fully understand the process of exchange betting, here’s a full breakdown of backing and laying:
Back bets are when you agree with the proposition. These are what you make at traditional betting sites as well as betting exchanges. An example of a back bet is:
Manchester City will win the Premier League = 2.50
Back bet odds are typically displayed as decimals and, moreover, they’re highlighted in a specific colour. For example, at Betfair, back bets are highlighted in blue. In this instance, odds of 2.50 mean that you’ll win £2.50 for every £1 you stake. Therefore, if you made this bet, you’re saying that you believe Man City will win the Premier League.
Laying bets is where you take the opposite side of a proposition. In reality, there isn’t really a proposition, you’re simply going against whatever the “back” side is. So, if we use the example from above, you’ll see the following listed as a betting market:
Manchester City will win the Premier League = 2.50 (back) / 2.10 (lay)
By choosing the “lay” option, you’re saying that Man City won’t win the Premier League. In this instance, the odds refers to your liability. So, if you stake £10 at 2.10, your liability is the value of your bet multiplied by the odds, minus your stake:
(2.10 X 10 = £21) – £10 =11
In simple terms, if Manchester don’t win the Premier League, you’ll win £10. If they do win the Premier League, you’ll lose your stake + £11. As you can see, laying bets has it’s ups and downs. By going against the proposition, you’re covering a lot more possible outcomes. If you back a bet, one specific thing has to happen. However, for the privilege of covering multiple outcomes, you stand to lose your stake plus the additional liability of laying the bet.
What is Match Betting?
Match betting is the process of using free sports bets to cover both sides of the proverbial coin. In other words, you make a back and lay bets on the same proposition. This strategy eliminates almost all of the risk associated with sports betting. So, if we go back to our Manchester City example, you would back the bet and lay it, thus covering all potential outcomes.
Of course, if you used your own money for both bets, you wouldn’t make a profit. This is where free bet bonuses come in. Once you’ve collected a free bet by backing something, you can use these credits to make the lay bet. Then, other than potential commission payments, you should make a profit. So, if you want to use a match betting strategy, you can join our recommended exchanges, collect the free bet bonuses and use the credits to back and lay whatever you like.
Betting Exchange Sites vs. Traditional Betting Sites
We’ve already explained how the best betting exchange sites differ from traditional bookmakers. The one you choose will always be a matter of preference. However, to help you decide which is right for you, here are some benefits of each and, in turn, how they can be used for different sports.
Reasons to Use Traditional Bookies
- Simple i.e. you only have to think about backing bets.
- Odds are good but may not always be as generous as exchanges.
- Typically offer odds for more potential outcomes and have more bet types.
Reasons to Use Online Betting Exchanges
- Can often find better odds.
- Can back and lay bets.
- Can get 0 commission which means you make more profit.
- Can be used for match betting strategies.
- Alongside these benefits, let’s look at three popular sports and which mediums they’re best suited to.
Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing betting is best at traditional sportsbooks for the simple reason that they cover more races and, at the top online bookies, there are best odds guarantees. This isn’t to say you can’t find some great value at exchanges. However, horse racing is a competitive market. Therefore, horse racing betting sites are often fighting for your attention with enhanced odds offers, cashback deals, and acca insurance.
Betting exchange sites are great for football fans because there’s a lot of market liquidity. Indeed, many of the biggest betting exchanges are built off the back of football. Therefore, you’ll find plenty of great odds across a wide range of leagues and markets to back and lay.
Using betting exchange sites for tennis can be great if you want to try match betting. This is because there are only two players (unless it’s doubles) and, if you’re a fan of the sport, it can be easier to predict the outcome than for sports like football. However, it’s also fair to say that sportsbooks offer a greater selection of tennis bets.
Join the Best Betting Exchange Sites Online
If you’re a fan of sports betting, exchanges are great. Even if you’re a complete novice, this guide, in conjunction with our other resources, should help you get the most value possible. Once you’re ready to start exchange betting, check out our recommended operators, use the sign-up links and enjoy the process of backing and laying bets on dozens of sports.