Smarkets vs Betfair – The alternatives to Matchbook, Which Is Better?

smarkets vs betfair

Smarkets was founded in 2008, and it’s considered the second largest betting exchange after Betfair. The betting exchange opened its doors to public trading in 2010. Since then, it has done what it takes to ensure its customers are happy, giving the best offers and cutting-edge technology. Smarkets have been able to make up €5 worth of transactions with their betting exchange, and the number is expected to grow even further thanks to its huge customer base.

Betfair is the biggest rival of Smarkets, and the competition between the two is very stiff since they offer more of the same services. Betfair started its operations back in 2000, and apart from being one of the oldest betting exchanges in the market, Betfair also takes the map as the largest online betting company. The company boasts of over 5million customers, most of which are based in the UK. Its might in the betting industry was raised even further when it merged with Paddy Power, which is also the biggest player in the betting industry.

What’s this article all about? We’re going to bring the two giants in the betting exchange market head to head to see which one beats the other as far as betting exchange is concerned. We will test the two in terms of the offered commission rates, market coverage, market liquidity, reliability, user-friendliness, welcome offers, and various deposit methods.



Get 0% Commission for 60 Days AND a £/€10 Cash Refund
New customers only. 0% commission rate on all bets settled within 60 days from registration. First £/€10 in losses refunded in cash. Min. deposit £/€20. Payment restrictions and T&Cs apply.
Betfair Review


0% Commission Up To €/£500 on the Exchange
Applies to Betfair Exchange bets & any commission paid within the first 30 days. Refunds occur every Wednesday based upon the activity carried out during the 7 days prior. 2% rate will apply after the promotional period & is offered through the Betfair Rewards Basic package. T&Cs.

Smarkets Vs Betfair – Who Will Come Out On Top?

With up to 5 million customers worldwide, Betfair was sure to earn itself a prestigious title as the largest betting exchange worldwide. But then going back to its history, back when it started there was no much competition. This leads us into thinking that Smarkets can also be in a better position to claim the title only that it came late onboard. Smarkets is leading in terms of technological advancement; it has the best commission rates and is very focused on transparency and simplicity. This betting exchange platform poses a very serious competition for Betfair.

We can’t come up with a conclusion before we dig deeper into these two giants betting exchanges and see what they all have to offer to their massive customers. Now that the talk is done let’s go to war and see who is going to take the crown.

Commission Rates

The difference in commission rates has been the main feature that people use when comparing the two. Smarkets offer a lower commission of 2% flat rate on winning bets. Betfair, on the other hand, charges up to 5% standard commission rates. With a difference of 3%, we’re definitely talking about 60%, which is a big difference financially.

So, how does this translate to a real situation? Assume you place a bet of €10 on any sport of your choice with odds of 6.8. If you win, you stand a chance of getting €58. Smarkets will then charge you €1.6 commission on your win while Betfair will take around €2.90 commissions from your win. Do your maths and see how much money you stand to lose.

When it comes to commission rates, it’s clear that Smarkets outshines Betfair. Any person in his right senses will clearly choose a 2% commission which guarantees more money than 5%, which is obviously a big loss. This doesn’t mean that you stop reading and run to sign up with Smarkets because Betfair still outshines it in other areas and we must look at those to have a final verdict.

Winner: Smarkets


When choosing sports and the betting markets, you’re surely going to love Betfair. Log in to your account, and you’re greeted with over 30 sports to choose from. You can either choose to bet on mainstream events like football, racing, and tennis or go for less popular events like pool and chess. It’s only in Betfair that you’re also going to find greyhound racing. The betting markets offered by Betfair are also quite impressive. For instance, if you’re betting on football, you can choose main markets such as match-winner, the first team to score, over/under, number of scores half time or full time, etc.

Smarkets is still lagging behind as far as the range of sports to bet on, and the betting markets are concerned. At least you’ll be able to find the most popular events such as football, cricket, handball, baseball, and horse racing. Smarkets is doing its best to add more sports and markets so they’ll probably be available soon.

But before they do the additions, it’s clear Betfair beats Smarkets with a huge margin when it comes to betting markets and the range of sports to choose from. You should, however, not give up on Smarkets yet because they are doing all it takes to address this area.

Winner: Betfair

Market Liquidity

Matched betting relies so much on in liquidity and without it; it will be difficult to place bets. Betfair boasts of great liquidity ranging from their main markets like football, racing, and tennis to less popular events. It works with a lot of traders, so it has a lot of money available in its markets than Smarkets.

Even though Smarkets had issues with liquidity at first, it has made great efforts to improve in this sector thanks to the competition it gets from Betfair. The majority of lay bets on Smarkets now have the same prices as that of Betfair. Betfair gets ahead of its competitor by having great liquidity in advance with odds coverage, but Smarkets catches up as the event gets closer.

Betfair still outshines Smarkets when it comes to liquidity though not by a huge margin. Both exchanges have more than enough liquidity to cover events with the same odds.

Winner: Betfair


In its amateur years, Smarkets had a hard time with reliability. This was mainly caused by the rapid growth of their customers, which was almost becoming difficult for them to control. Years into the market, they have made a lot of improvements and can now hold up to huge traffic when the sporting market becomes too busy. They are also quick to rectify any server mistakes and get back to work.

Betfair is reliable as well, and their customers do not have a hard time using the website during very busy days. On big events like football leagues, Betfair is more reliable as they have better servers and tech support, enabling them to cope better with traffic. Generally, all the sites are reliable exempt for occasional hitches which happen to every other website, and they ensure they rectify these as quickly as possible.

Winner: Betfair


The exchanges come with different kinds of layouts which you can get used to with time. For new players, Smarkets is easier to use. They have a very simple user interface, and you can also find what you’re looking for in their search bar. Betfair, on the other hand, can be challenging for a new user since it has many links that redirect you to different markets. The great technology, as well as a neat and tidy layout, makes Smarkets easier to use than Betfair.

Winner: Smarkets

Welcome Offers

As much as other players don’t consider this as an essential factor when choosing a betting site to sign up with, this still becomes a major consideration when comparing Betfair vs Smarkets.

The latest offer by Betfair is the 0% commission deal for their new customers. If you happen to pay any commission within the first 30 days, you’ll get a refund of up to a maximum of €500 in cash.

Smarkets is not left behind either. They are running an impressive welcome bonus to their new customers of up to €10. You’ll get a refund of up to €10 into your account if you make a minimum of €20 in your first deposit and lose the bet. Betfair’s offer looks appealing due to the numbers, but considering this offer is only here for a short period, we’ll be better off choosing Smarkets as the winner.

Winner: Smarkets

Deposit Methods

When it comes to making deposits for your bets, both exchanges are incredible. They offer various deposit methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and direct bank transfers, Skrill, Paypal, and Neteller.

Smarkets gives you an extra deposit method called Trustly. With this method, you can easily make instant bank transfers that go directly to your Smarkets account. While all the deposit methods are reliable, easy to use, and offer more than enough options, an extra and more reliable alternative that Smarkets offer gives it an advantage over Betfair.

Winner: Smarkets

Overall Winner

After all the tests, it becomes a little challenging to decide the winner. Both exchanges are great in their own ways. The 2% commission rate offered by Smarkets is mouth-watering, and you’ll easily want to sign up with it. Their technology and usability also make it stand out from Betfair.

However, looking at all the tests from a deeper perspective, there are more than enough reasons why Betopin chooses to side with Betfair as the overall winner. Betfair has many years of experience in exchange betting, and you’re less likely to meet petty issues such as website errors. When it comes to a range of sports and markets to place your bet on, Betfair is no doubt the king. Their liquidity is also higher, and even though Smarkets is working hard to improve in these sectors, it’s still going to take them some time to reach the standards of Betfair.

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Andrew Halligan
Andrew Halligan
Andrew is our lead sports writer. He covers all the latest news in sports and excels in football and horse racing. Andrew is also the presenter of YouTubes horse racing podcast - The Finishing Line, where he gives the week's best betting tips on horse racing. His in-depth knowledge of betting on sports and online betting has become renowned in the world of horse racing and further afield.