What is a Betting Exchange?


Difficulty: Medium Read time: 2 mins
Graphic illustrating how betting exchanges work

Betting exchanges are very similar to bookmakers, there’s just one key difference.

Instead of betting against a bookmaker, we bet against other people.

That’s why it’s called a betting exchange; people are exchanging bets.

Betting exchanges explained

Before betting exchanges came along, our only option was to place a bet at the odds set by a bookmaker.

Betting exchanges allow us more freedom in that we can choose what odds we want to place a bet at. If another user is happy to take (‘lay’) the bet, the bet becomes matched.

So, you have one user playing the role of punter and another user effectively playing the roll of bookmaker.

Commission rates

Betting exchanges make their money by charging a small commission on our bets. It’s basically their fee for providing the platform for us to trade bets.

Commission rates vary between exchanges but are typically between 2% and 5%.

It’s an important factor to bear in mind as the more commission we pay, the more it will eat into our profits.

Best betting exchange?

Being able to bet that something won’t happen is what makes matched betting possible, so you’re going to need a betting exchange account.

Betfair and Smarkets have long been the best exchange options, equally viable in their own ways.

Betfair is probably the better option if you’re new to matched betting and they’re offering new customers 0% commission for 30 days, which is a pretty good starter.

Smarkets have a lower standard commission rate and they’re offering £10.00 risk-free each week on the Premier League, which again is pretty good.

Ultimately, you’ll need to sign up to both if you want to maximise your profits long-term.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what betting exchanges are and how they work.

Things should become even clearer in my next guide as I walk you through your first matched betting offer!

Next Step
Matched Betting Guide

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