Betting Exchange - What is it in betting

For most bettors, it's no secret that betting on sports and other events is possible not only with bookmakers. The wager can be concluded with other players via the betting exchange. This is what we’re going to discuss in our article.

What is Betting Exchange?

Sports betting exchange is a kind of platform for betting between players on sports and other events. Here you can offer wagers by choosing a specific event, suggest your odds and the stake amount on a certain outcome (in this case you sell the bet, so to speak, act as a bookmaker).

Alternatively, you can agree to the terms of the bet offered by other players, i.e. buy a bet. Thus, you become a participant in the process of buying and selling on a large financial online market, where bets on sporting events are used as goods. In turn, the sports betting exchange acts as an intermediary, providing players with the service to participate in such trades. For this, exchanges take up to 5% of the winnings.

To make a bet, you need to have an account in the betting exchange and an account in any electronic payment system, for example, Moneybookers (we discussed this in the previous article).

There are many betting exchanges, such as Betfair, Betdaq, Betliner, Matchbook, Smarkets, etc. Betfair is the most popular among them. So we will focus on it in more detail to show how to work with the exchange.

"Back" and "Lay" betting

The exchange’s players may enter into two types of wagers among themselves: Back and Lay. Here's how it looks in Betfair:

Blue marker — Back bets, a red one — Lay bets. The highest odds for Back bets are in the column highlighted in blue. Accordingly, the highest odds for Lay bets are in the column highlighted in red. As you may have guessed, each cell contains an odd, and below it the maximum bet amount offered by the player.

Back bet

Everything is pretty clear with Back bets. The player offers you the odds and the maximum bet amount on the outcome of the event in front of which they are specified. If you are satisfied with the terms of the wager, you bet with the specified odds as in a regular bookie. Your stake wins only in case the outcome of which you have bet. That is, if you placed Back bet on a draw, then in order to get a win the teams have to play a draw. The same with the victory of the first or second team.

But you can also offer Back odds on a certain outcome of the event you are interested in. And if there is a second player who is interested in your odds, the bet is made between you.

Basically, issues arise with Lay bets. As it mentioned above, in this case you act as a bookmaker. For instance, the match Bournemouth - Crystal Palace:

Lay bet

What does the Lay bet (blue marker) mean? This means that you are ready to accept a bet against Bournemouth victory with a maximum amount of €130. The equivalent of this wager for you will be X2 stake by the amount of your liability (202.80) with odds of 1.641 (2.56/2.56-1). That is, you win €130 placed by the second player if Crystal Palace wins or the teams play in a draw (green marker). In turn, the exchange will take the percentage of this win (Betfair takes 5%).

And if Bournemouth wins, you will have to pay €130*(2.56-130)= 202.80 (red marker) to the second player, since you accepted a bet of €130 with odds of 2.56. That is, by analogy with the way the bookmaker pays you the winnings. Accordingly, making a Lay bet, it is necessary to calculate your obligations to the second player (red marker), in other words, the amount of your possible loss.


At first glance, it may seem that playing on the betting exchange is quite difficult. But having understood its work, you will be aware of what privileges you gain. According to statistics, in most cases the betting exchanges’ odds are higher than in bookmakers due to lack of margin, which is not less than 10% in bookmakers. This is an undoubted advantage.

In addition, there are no stake limits, so you can wager with other players for quite a large amount. You can also offer the best conditions for you to wager and thereby guide your game policy. The disadvantage is that there should be a player who wants to play on your terms. But in any case, it is very profitable, convenient and interesting to play on the betting exchange.

Artur Polianskyi
For today Artur has 12 years of betting experience, and he kindly shares his knowledge with the readers of our blog. In his articles, you will find many useful tips for different strategies and learn more about all types of bets.
Author profiles
You may also like
Artur Polianskyi
Dec 07, 2015
Artur Polianskyi
Dec 07, 2015
Artur Polianskyi
Dec 07, 2015