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TOP 6 Best Betting Exchange Sites in the UK

Betting Exchange Site UK

Betting exchanges are fairly popular in the UK, more so perhaps than in any other part of the world. With a betting exchange, instead of placing your wager against the house, you are competing with another bettor.

What is a Betting Exchange?

An online betting exchange is a platform that allows individuals to bet against each other rather than against a bookmaker. This model is quite different from traditional sports betting through a bookmaker, where the bookie sets odds. In a betting exchange, the odds are determined by the supply and demand dynamics of the betting market itself.

You choose to either back a bet, which is wagering on it to come in, or to lay against that bet, which would mean you’re betting that it won’t happen. To partake in a betting exchange, you’ll require someone willing to take you on. Thus, if you want to bet on Aston Villa scoring 2+ goals in a Premier League match against Brighton & Hove Albion, you’ll need to locate someone willing to take the other side of that action. Of course, you could just as easily go the other way and propose to lay a bet against Aston Villa scoring 2+ goals. 

Whichever route you choose, to make the bet happen is when the betting exchange comes into play. They operate as a sort of betting matchmaker, locating a willing partner to engage you as a foe on your bet proposal. You put forth the bet you want to back or lay in the betting site’s exchange area. The bookmaker sets the odds on the bet. Then you wait for someone to step in and be willing to go against your bet at the same odds. 

Once that happens, the bet is down and the game is on. The exchange will take a percentage of the bet as a commission for arranging the exchange, usually in the the range of between 2-5%. 

Betting Exchange UK Platforms Compared

Betting ExchangeKey FeaturesCommissionUnique Aspects
LadbrokesPartners with Betdaq to boost liquidity.5% standard, down to 2% for larger stakes.Reduced commission on larger stakes.
SpreadExOffers both sports and financial spread betting.Varies with market.Enables betting on financial markets like indices and shares.
SmarketsIntegrates detailed betting insights via its SBK sportsbook.Low at 2%.Features an advanced mobile app for trading.
BetfairRenowned as the world’s largest betting exchange.Standard rates, includes tools like a lay calculator.Known for exceptional odds and a handy lay calculator.
BetdaqHigh maximum win rates and competitive commissions.2%, halved on Super Saturdays.‘Super Saturdays’ with reduced commission on selected sports; up to £1 million max payout in horse racing.
MatchbookExclusively offers exchange betting with robust liquidity.2% for UK punters.Praised for combining high liquidity with low commissions.

TOP UK Online Betting Exchange Websites In Detail 2024

Ladbrokes

On the surface, the Ladbrokes betting exchange is very similar to its counterparts, offering peer to peer competition, connecting individuals looking to make a specific bet with others willing to accept the opposite side of that bet. Where Ladbrokes can prove more beneficial than other betting exchanges is through their partnership with Betdaq, a merger that took place in 2013. This has helped to increase the liquidity and strengthen both exchanges. Another advantage we like about Ladbrokes is that the larger your exchange bet, the smaller the commission they take. The standard rate is 5%, but it can shrink to as little as 2%.

SpreadEx

At SpreadEx, they put a unique twist on the betting exchange operation by offering both sports spread betting and financial spread betting. Unlike a traditional exchange style of bet, with spread betting, it’s similar to playing the stock market. Your profit or loss will be determined by how many goals or points are scored in a particular match. So if you were to back over 1.5 goals in a football match, once the total reaches two goals, your bet would be a winner. Their financial spread betting markets cover indices, shares, FX, ETFs, bonds, interest rates and commodities. You’re basically placing wagers on the movement of prices of stocks and commodities in the financial market. 

Smarkets

Smarkets is the betting exchange arm of SBK sportsbook. They are looked upon as a game changer in the betting exchange segment of sports betting. Smarkets offers a novel method for charting the progress on specific bets, letting you know how much money is coming in on a bet and which way it’s being played. Their low 2% commission makes Smarkets popular with punters who like exchange betting and their outstanding app enables all trading and exchanges to take place easily on your mobile. 

Betfair

Billed as the world’s biggest betting exchange, Betfair certainly lives up to that reputation. They offer exchange markets on all the major sports, enabling you to choose to back or lay bets on football, horse racing, cricket and golf, among other sports. Betfair is known for offering outstanding odds. They even provide a lay calculator to enable you to determine exactly what your take will be on a winning play.

Betdaq

Betdaq is known in the betting exchange markets for the massively high maximum win rate they allow. For instance, in horse racing, the maximum payout is £1 million. They charge a low 2% commission. And every Saturday is Super Saturday, during which commissions on football, horse racing, greyhounds and cricket exchange bets are reduced by 50%.

Matchbook

Matchbook allows you to be the bookie, offering only exchange betting on their site. They draw much praise for their combination of high liquidity and low commissions. UK punters pay just a 2% rate on exchange bets. You’ll be able to back or lay bets on a variety of some 20 sports at Matchbook.

How It Works:

  • Choice of Bets: In a betting exchange, you can either ‘back’ a bet (betting that an event will happen) or ‘lay’ a bet (betting that an event will not happen), essentially allowing you to act as either the bettor or the bookmaker.
  • Setting Odds: Users of the exchange can offer odds to others or request odds from others. This flexibility allows for more competitive and dynamic pricing compared to traditional bookmaker odds.
  • Matching Bets: The exchange matches bets from users who want to back an event with those who want to lay the same event. For a bet to be placed, there must be a matching back and lay bet for the same event and odds.
  • Commissions: Betting exchanges make money by charging a commission on winnings. This is typically a small percentage of the net winnings for each bet and is how the exchange funds its operations.
  • Market Liquidity: Liquidity, or the availability of money in the betting markets, is crucial for a betting exchange. High liquidity means more available money and typically results in better odds and quicker bet matching.
  • In-Play Betting: Many exchanges also allow in-play betting, which means users can continue to place bets as an event progresses. Odds can change rapidly based on what’s happening in the event, providing dynamic betting opportunities.

Betting exchanges offer several advantages over traditional sports betting websites, such as more competitive odds and the ability to lay bets. They also typically offer greater transparency and control over bets.

9 Pros and Cons of Betting Exchanges

  1. Better Odds: Exchanges often provide more competitive odds than traditional bookies. For instance, odds on Premier League matches might be more favourable on exchanges like Betfair.
  2. Laying Bets: Users can bet against outcomes, such as laying against a horse in the Grand National, offering more versatility.
  3. Transparency: Markets reflect what bettors collectively believe, providing a clearer picture of an event’s likelihood.
  4. No Bookmaker Margin: Exchanges earn through commissions, not odds margins, potentially offering better value.
  5. Complexity: Newcomers might find the concept of laying bets and trading odds confusing compared to straightforward betting at bookmakers like Ladbrokes.
  6. Liquidity Issues: Some events, especially niche sports, may lack sufficient liquidity, making it difficult to place large bets.
  7. Commission Fees and Free Bets: Winning bets incur a commission, such as Betfair’s 5% fee, which can impact profits. It is rare for betting exchanges to offer enhanced odds, welcome bonuses and free bets. Instead, they offer 0% commission or similar promotions to new and existing customers.
  8. Limited Market Variety: Compared to bookmakers, exchanges might offer fewer markets for less popular events in football (UEFA Champions League, EFL League One, Premier League), horse racing, cricket, darts, politics, tennis, golf and more.
  9. In-play Delays: Betting exchanges might delay accepting bets during live events, affecting the ability to act on quick changes.