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What is Exchange Betting?

Exchange Betting

Exchange Betting Guide

With the emergence of betting exchanges over the last few years we have seen something of a paradigm shift in the gambling industry.

Betting exchanges have opened up a world of drastically improved odds for punters, predominantly because bookies have had to slash their odds to remain competitive.

Bookmakers have always enjoyed the luxury of “taxing” punters by 7-10% with their odds as we explained in our how bookies make the odds guide article.

Betting exchanges remove that “tax” because you are betting against another punter.

The bet will only go ahead if you are both happy with the odds, which are almost always “fair” due to the supply and demand nature of the system.

Let’s take a look at some of the perks of using a betting exchange.

No limit bets

Because betting exchanges allow you to place bets with other punters as opposed to a company that are concerned with profit margins and “getting ripped off”, there are no limits on the amount that you can bet.

If you wish to bet £10,000,000 on Manchester United to win against Arsenal then that is fine, so long as there are people out there who (between them) are willing to match it.

Winners are welcome

Bookmakers hate losing. Every time you win a bet you have shaved a little more off of their profits for the year and it’s not uncommon for highly successful punters to be banned from bookies entirely.

Betting exchanges don’t really care who wins the bet, they get their commission regardless of the result.

So, no matter how much money you win you will never be banned from an exchange — so long as everything is above board!

Sure bets allowed

Sure bets, also known as “Greening Up” or “Trading”, are a combination of bets that guarantee you a profit regardless of the outcome of an event.

This is achieved by backing a player or team when you feel the odds of an outcome are at their peak.

When the odds fall and are lower than the price you placed your bet at you lay the same player or team.

In the example below we backed Gabashvili early on at odds of 3.5 for £100. When he broke service and his odds fell to 2.8 we layed him for £125, giving us a £25 profit — regardless of the outcome of the match.

Lowest Commission

Earlier on we mentioned the “tax” that bookmakers place on their odds to make sure they profit from an event, no matter what the outcome.

This is typically between 7 and 10 percent lower than the “true probability” of the outcome actually happening.

Betting exchanges will take a commission on your winnings of around 5%.

That may not seem like a great deal more but when you take into consideration that the odds you receive in the first place are vastly greater than those on offer at bookies, it just becomes common sense.

Example Bet

The image above is the standard betting interface for Betfair, our recommended betting exchange. As you can see we have three possible outcomes, with two bets available for each potential outcome. Backing is essentially the same as betting at a bookmaker, just with (on average) better odds. Laying is where betting exchanges break away from the norm.
If you lay England at 1.98, accepting a backer’s stake of up to £10 then your total liability will be £9.80. If England then went on to either lose or draw the match you would take the backers stake of £10. If England won the game then you would lose your bet and the backer would take your £9.80.


Betfair are by far the best betting exchange around. They have great liquidity in almost every market and better odds than those found on the various bookies online. If you don’t already have an account you can get one by clicking here, which also qualifies you for a £20 signup bonus.

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