Pretty much everyone knows what a bookmakers is. Even if you’ve never placed a bet in your life there’s a real chance that you’ll know how it all works. Bookies offer odds on certain events happening, you place a bet based on those odds and if your bet wins you get rewarded for your success. When it comes to sportsbooks that’s exactly what happens only the events that you’re betting on are sporting events, as opposed to the winner of a talent competition or the name of a royal baby.
But what about betting exchanges? Even some seasoned bettors who have spent years placing bets on horse racing or the dogs might not know much about that. How do betting exchanges work? How do they differ from standard bookmakers odds and offers? How do you place bets through them? Perhaps the most important question of all is which bookmakers offer betting exchange services and how do they differ from each other? If you’re interested to know the answers to these questions then you’re (hopefully) in the right place.
Bookmakers With Betting Exchanges
What Is A Betting Exchange?
In actual fact, betting exchanges aren’t all that different from betting with a normal bookmaker. The difference is that it is essentially person-to-person betting rather doing it with a company.
The big difference is that with a typical bookmaker they offer odds and take the bet, whilst with betting exchanges you can essentially be the bookmaker. Some punters will bet in the traditional method and place a normal bet, whilst others will ‘lay’ the bet by playing the role of the bookie.
The placing of a traditional ‘win’ bet in the betting exchange world is known as a Back Bet. The best way to understand this is to think that you’re ‘backing’ a certain event to happen. So, for example, you’re backing Liverpool to win the FA Cup. The bet is essentially the same as a ‘win’ bet with a bookmaker.
If you go against the bet, or ‘play the part of the bookmaker’ if you like, then you’re Laying the Bet. Using the example above, Laying the Bet would mean that you want Liverpool to not win the FA Cup. Let’s say we’re talking about a normal match and you Back Bet Arsenal to beat Chelsea, that means you want Arsenal to win. If you Lay the Bet then you want Chelsea to win or for the match to end in a draw.
The beauty of exchange betting is that you can lay specific outcomes. Say you don’t think there’s any way that the Arsenal v Chelsea match is going to be a draw, well then you can lay the draw. That way if either team wins then you’ll get a return. The only way you’ll lose money is if you were wrong and the match does indeed end in a draw. It might seem confusing but in actual fact it’s really not once you get your head around what’s going on.
Trading is where you bet on two different outcomes on the same event in order to ensure you always make a profit. Let’s say that you have placed a Back Bet on Manchester City to beat Spurs in the Premier League. You’ve placed £100 on City at 2/1, meaning you’ll get £200 profit if they get the three point but you’ll lose £100 if they don’t. As kick-off approaches the odds shift and you place a Lay Bet of £110 on City at Evens. If they win you lose that £110, but if they lose then you win £110.
In the scenario where City win you win £200 from your Back Bet but lose £110 from you Lay, meaning that you end up with £90 profit. If, on the other hand, Man City lose the game then you lose your £100 stake from the Back Bet but you’ve made £100 from the Lay Bet, meaning that you still end up £10 to the good. That is Trading and is a handy way of ensuring you don’t lose money, though the odds have obviously got to line up for you to be able to do.
What Bookmakers Provide Exchange Betting?
Smarkets were founded way back in 2008 and have grown themselves into an exchange that not only now competes with the Betfair, frankly it is now much better.
The real beaty of Smarkets is the site is very much like a conventional betting site, it looks like a sportsbook but the main difference is you are backing and laying bets with other people not with a bookmaker.
With a lower commission rate than Betfair too it is hard to justify why you wouldn't now choose Smarkets over Betfair. Their market liquidity is fantastic and for most events there is enough available for most punters, from low stakes to higher stakes.
While those that bet on smaller events might find limited options it will suit the majority. The site is also exceptionally strong for political markets.
BETDAQ were owned by Ladbrokes for a while and went a bit stale but in 2021 were bought back by their original owners and they have really made up ground since.
If you mainly bet on fixed-odds and occasionally on the exchange overall you would still be better with this brand as their fixed odds markets are just as good as any other. If, however, you bet more than half of the time on the exchange then BETDAQ is much better as this is where the focus is, you can also claim a welcome offer unlike with other brands.
One of the big selling points of BETDAQ is they have a 2% flat commission rate on all Exchange Net Market Winnings and on all Virtuals Sports Markets. For lower stakes bettors this offers much better value than Betfair, where you need to reach a high loyalty level to achive a similar rate.
BETDAQ liquidity is good too, they have been around for a similar amount of time (trading since 2001) and are the only other major player in the sports betting exchange market.
In 2019 BETDAQ introduced a fixed-odds sports book, making it a more complete site for the typical bettor.