List of betting exchanges
Below, we list all betting exchanges that are considered reputable and worth trying. Our list of all betting exchanges includes only platforms we have explored in detail and which are operated by trustworthy companies.
One of the first betting exchanges to hit the market was Betfair in 2000. It is available for betting exchange in USA since 2011 and completed a merger with Paddy Power in 2016. It leads the pack among the exchange betting sites in the UK and is considered a leading global betting exchange as well.
It is not a legal betting exchange in Canada, as they do not hold license to operate there, however. In contrast, you can use only their betting exchange in Australia because their bookmaker service is unavailable following the merger with Paddy Power.
Back in the 2000s, another global betting exchange was founded – Betdaq. Bookmaker Ladbrokes acquired them it in 2013. At the time of the acquisition, Betdaq was considered the main competitor to Betfair but they are smaller in terms of turnover.
Matchbook entered the market a few years after Betfair and Betdaq. In 2011, a group of investors entered the company to make it a global player. They are the only operating betting exchange in Germany, for example, which is quite a large market. Matchbook are also one of the popular exchange betting sites in the UK due to their low commissions.
Smarkets is a new kid on the block, setting their foot on the market in 2008. They are considered one of the fastest growing exchange bookies and one that bets heavily on technology. They did not have the chance to even enter certain markets, however. You cannot find a betting exchange in France after the government banned all betting exchanges in 2009, thus preventing companies like Smarkets to enter this lucrative market.
Other online betting exchanges you can explore include Fairlay, BookiePro and BetBTC, which complete the list of smaller betting exchanges.
Find the best exchange betting sites
You have basically two options when placing a wager online. You can bet against a bookmaker or you can bet against other bettors trough an online betting exchange. There are certain differences between exchange betting and betting through a bookmaker, which we explain in detail in the exchange betting guide below.
You should also know that unlike bookmakers, where we have tens and hundreds of reputable sportsbooks, the best betting exchanges are limited to a few well-known names. Exchange sports betting, however, is gaining popularity among punters worldwide by providing a different betting experience and encouraging the use of different betting strategies.
How does exchange betting work?
As we said, the main difference of a betting exchange vs bookmaker is that in exchange betting punters bet against each other. A gambler can offer odds to other bettors or can request odds using a betting exchange platform.
Thus, a betting exchange is actually a betting exchange software that enables gamblers to offer and request odds to and from other customers of the online platform. All current betting exchanges worth mentioning are providing also a betting exchange app, which enables placing wagers on the go.
Betting exchanges do not provide their services for free. Exchange bookmakers, or betting exchanges, charge a commission fee on winnings made through exchange betting.
Exchange betting websites are actually acting as an intermediary and do not take any risk as opposed to offline and online bookmakers that offer odds at their own risk. A bookmaker can lose but a betting exchange cannot lose, as they are not betting against anyone in the process. A bookmaker makes most of their profit through lost bets by gamblers, while exchange bookies meet ends by charging fees on their intermediary service.
What does exchange mean in betting?
So, what does “exchange” really mean in betting? Simply put, it is a person-to-person betting where all the odds and corresponding bets are placed and executed by individual people, not by a bookmaker.
Many experts believe that one of the main reasons for the success of betting exchanges is that they create a sense of fairer betting among punters. You compete against fellow living persons and not a wealthy bookmaker who is in the business just for the profit.
Another distinguishing characteristic of betting exchanges is that they do allow lay betting as opposed to online and brick-and-mortar bookmakers. What it means is that a bettor can place a wager on a selection to lose rather than win.
Let’s explain this concept through a sample how exchange betting in horse racing works. Two gamblers must “exchange” bets i.e. one places a bet of 10 for a horse to win at odds 10/1 but another punter should place a bet of 100 at 1/10 to match the first bet.
Types of bets on betting exchanges explained
In essence, you can make two types of bets through a betting exchange – you can back a selection and you can lay a selection. What it means is that gamblers are actually acting as an exchange bookie that can accept bets.
By backing a selection, you in fact place a wager on that selection to win. It is the very same wager you would place with a bookmaker or an online sportsbook.
By laying a selection, you are actually covering a bet by another gambler and you expect their bet to lose. This way you act as a bookmaker.
What it means in reality is that you should know your staff pretty well and that you should have the skills and knowledge to calculate the best odds for a particular selection. Using a betting exchange calculator may help but you still know your trade.
On the other hand, exchange betting gives you the freedom to place wagers on events or selections that no bookmaker is willing to take the risk for. You just need to find another punter who is willing to take that risk. And, unlike placing wagers with a bookmaker, odds are relatively fairer as layers need to offer better odds for someone to match their bet.
Trading your bets on exchange betting sites
Every bet sees its price drop or increase during a sporting event and even before the actual game starts. Any news, good or bad, concerning a team influences the price of a bet on that team’s next game. Thus, your bet can get up or down depending on various factors. Betting exchanges allow you to trade your bet and make almost guaranteed profit under certain circumstances.
This is possible under two conditions: if you lay a selection and the price gets longer afterwards and if you back a selection and the price contracts. You can then combine lay and back bets on a selection to make a profit whatever happens although your winnings may vary depending on the outcome.
Advantages of betting exchanges
Exchange betting is a growing market and while we still have no betting exchange in Nigeria or betting exchange in Kenya, even these countries are aware what a betting exchange is and local punters take advantage of global betting exchanges to trade bets.
As betting exchange software and betting exchange apps come to more countries around the globe, more and more bettors are making profit by placing back and lay bets on the same market. Furthermore, most of the exchanges on our list of the best betting exchanges do not charge a commission in excess of 2%, which is a good deal compared to charges a punter incurs through bookmakers’ services.
The greatest advantage of exchange betting is that you can lay bets i.e. you can act as a bookmaker, which is not available with traditional betting services. By backing a selection to lose, gamblers get access to tones of opportunities that only an online betting exchange can offer.