Exchange Betting Sites

Best Exchange Betting Sites

exchange betting sites

Placing a bet on a betting exchange is something that many punters have been doing since early 2000s. This was a completely new concept back then, but now it is seen as something that many would do on a daily basis. 

The best exchange betting sites act as a platform for punters to bet against each other, matching those who want to back a selection with those who want to lay it. With people on both sides of the bet, and odds being offered and accepted by those involved, the bet is agreed and accepted. 

The first big name in the world of exchange wagering was Betfair. They began life as an exchange-only website before opening their own sportsbook to give the service they have today. Since then, we have seen companies like Betdaq, Matchbook and Smarkets join the world of exchange betting to give punters options. 

One thing that is vital for exchange betting is liquidity, which is why there isn’t much choice on offer. To be successful, each site needs to have a large number of people placing bets, and a good spread of those looking to back and lay so everyone can get the bets on that they need. 

Betting Exchange Guide

When you head onto exchange betting sites you are going there not to place a bet with them, but to use their site to place a bet with someone else. This is why liquidity and customer numbers are important, the more people on there betting, the more chance of everyone getting what they want and being happy. 

When you place a bet, you may be doing so with just one person, or it could be with a number of different people. For example, a £10 bet could be played to you by two separate people who both accept £5 of the bet, or it could just be one person. You will never find out who you are betting against. The only thing you will know is whether your bet is on or not at the odds you have chosen, or if you choose to accept the odds someone else has offered, you will get instant confirmation the bet is on. 

An Exchange Compared to Traditional Bookmakers

The best exchange betting sites have positives and negatives when compared to bookmakers. Here are a few things to consider if you are looking at exchange betting: 

Advantages of a Betting Exchange

  • Choose to either back or become the bookmaker and lay bets
  • Better odds available than with the bookmakers
  • The best exchange betting sites offer a great service, including mobile and in-play wagering

Disadvantages of a Betting Exchange

  • Liquidity may be an issue on smaller markets, to bet you need someone who will lay you
  • Lack of promotions and boosts compared to the traditional bookmakers
  • Laying at big odds is a dangerous game that could cost a lot of money in payouts 

If you like to take advantage of the best odds on offer and you want to both back and lay selection then the best exchange betting sites are going to be good for you. However, if you like the promotions on offer with traditional bookmakers, or you use smaller, unpopular markets then you may find yourself leaning towards sticking with a bookmaker. 

Back vs Lay Odds

Whether you are backing or laying on the best exchange betting sites. You can choose whether to accept the odds someone else is offering or create your own and see if someone else takes them. This works with both backing and laying. For example, if you are backing, then you can either take the 4.00 odds that someone is offering to lay at that moment or put up your own bet with 4.20 odds and hope someone accepts that. 

When laying, the same principle applies, you can choose to agree to the bet someone is wanting, or set up your own bet with the odds you want to offer and see if someone is happy to take them. As an event approaches the start, the action on a betting exchange moves fast, with price changes taking place on a regular basis so you need to be quick, whatever you choose to do. 

Something to keep in mind if you are comparing the odds on offer at your chosen exchange with those on offer with bookmakers is that you have to pay a commission when using an exchange. This is a percentage fee, which varies depending on the site and the sport, so look into this before you decide where you are going to bet. If a bookmaker is offering the same price as you see on an exchange, then unless this is a 0% commission market, the better price after commission will be with the bookmaker. 

Traders vs Arbitrageurs 

Trading and arbing are two different things although you need both if you are interested in joining exchange betting sites. Trading is backing at a higher price and then laying at a lower price to lock in a guaranteed profit for yourself regardless of the outcome. 

For example: 

Bet £10 at 6.00 if the selection wins you win £60 if it loses you lose £10

Lay the same selection for £15 at 3.00, if it wins you pay out £45 if it loses you win back £15

When you combine the two bets, this is what happens:

If the selections win, you win £60 and lose £45, so have a net profit of £15

If the selection loses, you lose £10 and win £15, giving a net profit of £5

Arbing has the same outcome to guarantee yourself profit on every outcome of the event, but instead, when arbing you do this by backing every possible selection in the event to cover all bases. 

The exchanges are where you will often find the best prices, while you also need a bookmaker to have a different view to most others to try and find your arb. By piecing together the very best prices possible from the exchange and bookmakers combined, you may be able to find a market that is less than 100%, which means if you bet at the best prices you can gain guaranteed profit. 


Exchange betting sites have had controversy surrounding them since the start of their existence. Not because they have done anything wrong, but more because of what you can do on them. With the ability to lay a horse to lose, for example, those involved with the horse could intentionally lose the race. 

This opens almost every sport on the planet up to those who want to try and cheat and make a lot of money. Every sport is working hard to maintain a clean reputation. The exchange betting sites now have an agreement where they will report unusual betting patterns surrounding specific events in an attempt to prevent anyone from doing this. 

Both the sports involved and the exchange betting sites realize that they need to be above water for people to enjoy watching and betting on them. That is now something everyone strives to offer.