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Betting Exchanges

What Is A Betting Exchange?

Betting exchanges allow customers to bet against each other as opposed to betting against a bookmaker. As there is no bookmaker involved, you will generally find better odds at a betting exchange. This is because bookmakers generally offer odds which are slightly below the true odds so that they can make a profit regardless of the outcome.

Betting exchanges have become increasingly popular since Betfair Exchange launched back in 2000 as customers seek the best value for their bets.

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How Do Betting Exchanges Work?

One of the main attractions to betting exchanges is that you’re able to place both back bets and lay bets.

A back bet is when you are betting on something to happen.

A lay bet is when you are betting on something not to happen.

Back bets are the type of bet you would place at a standard bookmaker. For example, you may bet on Liverpool to beat West Ham and your bet would win if Liverpool won and lose if West Ham won or if the match ended in a draw.

On a betting exchange, you could place a lay bet on Liverpool to win. This would mean that your bet would lose if Liverpool won the match and win if they didn’t win (if West Ham won or if the match ended a draw).

You’re able to place lay bets as you are betting against other users.

For example, if you wanted to place a £10 back bet on Liverpool to beat West Ham at odds of 2/1 which would return a profit of £20, you would need another user to lay Liverpool for a risk of £20 at odds of 1/2 to make a profit of £10.

This means that you have staked £10 and if you win, you win the £20 that the other user risked on their bet.

The other user risked £20 and if they win, they win the £10 which you staked.

The Benefits Of Using A Betting Exchange

1. Better Odds

As mentioned, bookmakers are able to make a profit by offering customers odds which are slightly below the true odds. For example, there is a 50/50 chance that a toss of a coin will land on heads. Therefore, the true odds for this bet would be evens (2.0). However, if you were to bet on this with a bookmaker, it’s likely that you would be offered odds of around 1.95 so that the bookmaker has a 5% edge.

2. More Choice

On a betting exchange, you can place both back and lay bets whereas you can only place back bets with a bookmaker. Also, provided that there is enough liquidity in the market for your bet, you can bet as much as you want on a betting exchange whereas a bookmaker may limit your stakes for certain markets.

3. Trading Opportunities

Betting exchanges allow users to trade their positions. If you have placed a back bet and the odds shorten, you may be able to lay your bet to lock in a profit regardless of the outcome. This can also be useful in-play when things aren’t going your way. You can trade your position to reduce your losses. Some bookmakers allow you to cash out or partially cash out your bets which can be used in a similar way but cash out amounts are usually very poor when compared to trading out on a betting exchange.

The Disadvantages Of Using A Betting Exchange

1. Less Betting Offers

Bookmakers tend to run a number of betting offers and promotions on a regular basis in order to attract customers and to keep them betting. Some of these offers can have great value and help you generate additional profit. You’ll notice that although betting exchanges do run promotions from time to time, they are nowhere near as frequent compared to with bookmakers.

2. Less Markets

Although you can place both back and lay bets with a betting exchange, you will generally find more markets which are available to bet on at a bookmaker. For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a lay market for ‘Harry Maguire to make over 3.5 tackles’ and if you did, it’s likely that the liquidity in this market would be extremely low.

3. Fluctuating Odds

Odds can change very fast on a betting exchange. This is especially true when the event is in-play. This can sometimes make it difficult to have your bet matched at the odds you want depending on which way the odds are moving.

However, fluctuating odds can also be seen as a positive given that they allow trading opportunities which can result in locking in a profit.

Betting Exchange Commissions

As betting exchanges offer truer odds and don’t have an overround, they make their money by charging a commission on bets. Commission charges vary between betting exchanges and individual plans but you can expect to pay around 2% on net winnings on individual markets.

Despite having to pay commission on winning bets, betting exchanges generally provide a lot more value than betting with bookmakers.

The Best Betting Exchanges

There are a handful of betting exchanges online and far less than the number of bookmakers. The main advantage of using an established and popular betting exchange is that there is likely to be more liquidity in the markets which will allow you to have your bets matched without any issues.

Betfair Exchange is the biggest online betting exchange in the world and is used by millions of customers around the world. Other popular betting exchanges include Smarkets, Betdaq and Matchbook.

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