Compare the Best Betting Exchanges in the UK
The top betting exchanges have much better odds than traditional fixed odds bookies so you can win much more for single and straight bets. There are quite a few around now, but we've put a table together of the top online betting exchanges so you can see what welcome offer and bonus to expect as well as their best features and if they are suitable for your betting style.
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What is a betting exchange and how do they work?
A betting exchange is not actually a bookie, it is a match making service that matches bets from backers and layers. this is great for punters because there is no conflict of interest between you and the company. Traditional bookmakers want you to lose. Betting exchanges take a commission on bets so it actually works in their favour if you win as you bet more.
When you are placing a bet you will be doing it against another individual or a market maker, which means that your odds when you place a bet on a betting exchange will be better than with a normal bookie. They basically operate like a stock exchange showing orders (or bets) of gamblers that are either positive or negative about an event.
Betting and winning on losers
The best thing about betting exchanges (even more so than the better odds) is that you can bet against a losing outcome. This could be a horse not winning or a football match not scoring enough goals. You do this by laying bets on a betting exchange, which means you are essentially acting as the bookie accepting bets from people.
Regulation and financial security
Of course you can't lay bets as a bookie as you need to be regulated, but through a betting exchange it is structured as a lay bet so you can win from losing. The major betting exchanges are all regulated by the relevant gambling commission and have strong financial backing. You should never place or lay bets on an exchange that is not regulated or financially backed.
Range of markets and speciality bets
Online betting exchanges offers some of the broadest ranges of markets to bet on. It's possible to bet on pretty much anything there is a market for from the major sporting events to reality TV.
Betting on non traditional markets is only possible if there is significant demand from market makers and those prepared to lay bets. The exchange takes no risk on the best, so can provide the platform to match interests.
Multiple bets and best online odds
The top betting exchanges in the UK have very good liquidity and odds on straight bets, and the bigger ones have good placed and outside bet categories. However, if you are looking for multiple bets this is not really possible as finding a market maker or layer that is prepared to offer such long odds will be rare. For multiple bets you are better off going with a traditional fixed odds bookmaker. For normal to win or place betting, betting exchanges still offer the best odds around.
In play and live betting
If you compare betting exchanges to stock exchanges you can see why live and in play betting is so popular. The odds most change with demand based on what is happening at the underlying event. They are a very good indicator of what is actually happening in the market because it is driven by crown consensus rather than firm odds.
As placing a bet is so fast on exchange you can bet during a race or int he last few minutes of a football match. This also means you can use betting exchanges to hedge other bets, take betting profits early to to shut down a losing bet before it gets any worse.
Risks and rewards
It is clear that the rewards of betting with the top betting exchanges can be better than with traditional bookies. But punters should be aware that there are considerable risks to laying bets on exchanges.
If you lay a bet and the odds are long you can potentially lose many many times more than the stake. Always ensure you fully understand the risks involved with laying bets as they can be large.
Best bookies for specific sports
If your focus is on a single sports take a quick look at our comparison tables for these sports.
- Best bookie for betting on horses
- Best bookie for betting on cricket
- Best bookie for betting on golf
- Best bookie for betting on greyhounds
- Best bookie for betting on tennis
- Best bookie for betting on football
How Online Betting Exchanges Work
These offer by far the best odds around because you are not actually betting against the bookie. You are betting against other players. You can also bet on something not happening, so if you think the favourite doesn’t stand a chance of winning you can “Lay” them. Let’s look at Brazil as an example here. They are currently 4.2 on Betfair which means if you “Back” them to win with £10 you will win £32 (£10×4.2 = £42 less your stake of £10 = £32). But, if you think they will lose, you don’t need to bet on every other team, you just “Lay” them. You essentially become the bookie and accept a £10 bet at 4.2 from someone else. What this means is that if you “Lay” them for £10 to win and they do not you get the £10 someone else staked on the bet. However, as the odds are 4.2 if you loose you end up paying out £42 to the person who bet against you (£32 win liability and the £10 stake). So you stand to make £10 but lose £32.
The key to winning with betting exchanges is finding the best odds.
There are three main betting exchanges which we have listed below. Each of them offer a welcome bonus once you have deposited funds. It is always worth opening accounts with all three and funding will a token amount of £50 to get the welcome bonus. The betting exchanges give new customers extra money to bet with as part of their strategy to increase business as they assume you will come back for more after your initial bet. This is fair enough and a good way to increase your betting budget.
- Betfair – the biggest and best – Claim your £10 welcome bet here
- Smarkets – new kid on the block – Claim you free £20 World Cup special bet here
- BetDaq – a well established player based in Ireland – Claim your £25 no lose bet here
Free Betting Exchange Bets
Betting Exchanges are wonderful things. They add a competitive edge to gambling that you just don’t get with traditional bookies. The best betting exchanges have fantastic liquidity on all the major and most of the minor markets that enable you to bet against other gamblers, not the house. The house takes a commission on winnings so the odds are always better. Because betting exchanges don’t make more money when you lose the welcome offers are not as good as fixed odds betting sites, but they still have some good incentives for new players to open an account.
MatchBook - Free £50 cashback when you join.
Founded in 2008 Matchbook is one of the fastest growing betting exchanges. Because of it's more international approach there is often better liquidity on major events. Customers can also bet in the majority of major currencies including USD. Read Matchbook betting exchange reviews here.
Betfair – Free £10 bet when you sign up.
The best overall gambling website by far. In all aspects and games. I have always loved the Betfair customer services and they treat customers more like clients. Some of the best functionality and range of markets too. Get £10 Betfair welcome offer when you sign up and deposit funds into a new account.
Get started with Betfair here
Smarkets – Free £10 bet for new players
These guys offer a slightly lower commission to Betfair, currently 2% so are worth a look. Major markets provide pretty decent liquidity so a good place for casual gamblers to try a bit of arbitrage. The Smarkets free £10 welcome offer is good way to test the platform. Which is probably the most user friendly of all through exchanges.
Get started with Smarkets here
Betdaq – £25 no lose bet
Once of the original exchanges and because the customer base isn’t as large as Betfair they offer a pretty decent welcome offer to entice new players. Once you have deposited some funds you get a £25 BetDaq welcome offer no lose bet and some pretty decent odds and markets.
Get started with BetDaq here
Is there a list all betting exchanges?
Yes, but it's not very long, there are only four. Smarkets, Betfair, BetDaq and Matchbook. They are all basically the same, but some charge more commission, some have better liquidity. Others focus on US sports and one is the best bookie in the world. Check out our betting exchange list with the comparison tables one the site.
What are the best betting exchanges in the UK?
The best betting exchanges in the UK depend on what sort of sports trader you are or if you are a matched bettor. Betfair is the most established betting exchange, followed by Betdaq, with Smarkets and Matchbook nipping at their heals by the increase in matched bettors looking to lay off bets. Both exchange are improving in terms of liquidity and markets on offer.
Is Ladbrokes betting exchange and good?
Don't bother, the ladbrokes betting exchange is just a white label of BetDaq, who they now own. Just go direct to BetDaq.
Does Betway have a betting exchange?
No, Betway exchange for matched betting or sports trading. Just straight betting. If you're a Betway customer you can compare alternative bookies to Betway here.
Is there a betsson exchange?
No. You can view alternative betting exchanges to open an account with here.
Betting exchange explained: How do they work?
Instead of betting against a greedy bookie who wants you to lose and take your money a betting exchange matches bets of punters who think something will or won't happen. You get better odds because of this. Betting exchanges make money by charging a commission on winning bets.
smarkets review: Are they any good?
Pretty good actually, for more information read our Smarkets review here and see what we and actual customer think.
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