Betting Exchange in UK

Betting Exchanges Explained

A betting exchange, as the same suggests, is a marketplace where bets are exchanged. The unique characteristic of a betting exchange is that individuals will exchange bets with one another. There is no bookie. In a betting exchange, you have the option of buying (referred to as “back”) and/or selling (referred to as “lay”) a certain outcome. Furthermore, these exchanges can occur during an event as it progresses. This aspect allows punters to secure profits or minimize losses. Below, you’ll find a detailed overview of the betting exchange in UK and the best betting exchanges around.

Key Takeaways 

  • Betting exchanges have become prominent in the online gambling world.
  • Try to use an exchange in tandem with another platform.
  • Individuals will match bets against one another on a betting exchange in UK.
  • The best betting exchanges provide a transparent platform with great odds.
  • Prices on the markets are set by thousands of bets instead of one entity or person.

Betting exchange terminology 

Back and Lay: The former refers to the act of betting on something or someone to win. If you back a team, you’re betting that they will win. You’ll have come across this if you’ve ever betted with a sportsbook. If you decide to ‘lay’, it means you want to take on the stake that someone has else has wagered by backing, and you’re hoping the selection or bet will lose. If you ‘lay’, you become the bookie in essence.

Place betting: If you enjoy betting on horses, this is a great term to know and utilise. Place betting means you’ll bet on a particular individual (usually a horse), to finish within a certain range. For instance, you’ll bet that your chosen horse will finish in the top 3. If it finishes anywhere within the top 3, you’ll win your bet.

In-play betting: This kind of bet will allow you to bet after an event has begun.

Once you’re familiar with these terms, you should feel more comfortable.

Advantages to betting exchanges 

There are many advantages to betting on an exchange rather than making use of the services provided by operators. As stated above, you’ll receive better odds than those advertised elsewhere. As you’ll come to see if you decide on entering the betting exchange world, there are no added profit margins – usually the case when dealing with a bookie. Due to this absence, the odds and possible value derived from these bets are bound to be higher. If you’re interested in reading up more about odds, you should find our guide to how betting odds are calculated interesting.

Seeing as though you’re also able to lay a bet, you’ll find there are more opportunities to win on an exchange site. This is particularly true for events where there are multiple participants.

You’re also able to react to sudden changes within an event and go against your original bet. This allows you to ensure a profit or reduce your possible losses thanks to the ability to use in-play betting. Find this option on any of the best betting exchanges.

Disadvantages to betting exchanges 

As is the case with most things in life, there are a few drawbacks. The liquidity on the best betting exchanges is not as high as what you’d expect. Although exchanges have seen an increase in traffic over the last couple of years, it’s not as high as a normal bookie, for the most part. For mainstream sports, you shouldn’t have an issue finding a match. However, for niche sports and subsequent bets, you might find it difficult finding a match. Even if you do, the odds might be rather skewed. If you’re one for sign up bonuses and rewards, then you might also find yourself feeling disappointed. The availability of these added incentives is not prevalent on betting exchanges. If you want to look at an overview of bookies check out our bookmakers for beginners starting guide.

How to place bets 

Now that you know the basics of a betting exchange, you might want to try your luck or test your expertise. On a betting exchange site, you’ll decide on an event – let us use a football game as an example. There will be three options. Choose team A to win, choose team B to win, or choose a draw. You’ll be able to see the odds for all these outcomes. Now you decide whether you’d like to back a certain team, which proceeds in much the same way as it does with a conventional bookmaker, or place a lay bet. If you decide on the latter, you’ll find a notice quoting your “liability”. If your chosen bet loses, the liability amount will be deducted from your balance.

Betting options on a betting exchange in UK 

As with ordinary betting sites that are run by bookies, on an exchange you’re able to bet on pretty much all the same things. However, betting exchanges favour sports events and more traditional races – horse and greyhound racing. Which sports? Anything from football, motor racing, golf, to darts. There are many other sports you’re able to bet on. There are also options to bet on events that have nothing to do with sport, such as politics. Certain popular competitions will be advertised on betting exchanges and odds provided on different selections of winners.

The best betting exchanges in UK 

If you’re curious or convinced to join a betting exchange, you’ll find a list of recommended exchanges:

Betfair is a company that saw the opportunity early and now runs the biggest betting exchange in the world. They’re continuously rated as the one of the best gambling websites online. Reviews state that Betfair has impeccable customer service and a wide range of markets.

Smarkets is another well-renowned exchange which has consistently good reviews. At 2%, they also have a lower commission percentage than the standard Betfair commission rate of 5%.

Betdaq is another sound betting exchange. Interestingly, Betdaq was one of the first exchanges. They provide a generous welcome bonus and good odds.

What’s the catch? 

Does it seem too good to be true? Well, not really. Above you’ve been given the pros and cons of using a betting exchange rather than a bookie. The fact that you’re entering into a transaction with another individual means there are no profit margins to contend with. As betting exchanges do not take on any risk, they don’t add fees. However, they do take a small commission for providing the marketplace for such activities to occur. You’ll obviously need to pay something for the services provided. The fact that the commission on each winning transaction, relative to the amount wagered, is rather small, means this should not raise any alarm bells. You’re guaranteed to pay more on a bookmakers site, as they have profit margins included in their prices. This is a great reason to check out a betting exchange in UK.

On a side note, the fact that so many people are operating in this market, you’d be forgiven if you are hesitant to provide your financial or personal details. The licensed betting exchanges have ensured full anonymity and buffed up security measures that encrypt all relevant data. Your information is safe and secure on these sites.

What other betting guides & strategies are available? 

There are many other guides out there just like our one about the betting exchange in UK. We provide detailed insight into the gambling world. If you’re interested in betting on sports, take a look at our Asian handicap guide. For an overview of the online gambling world, check out our guide to legal gambling, and if you’re interested in a form of betting which provides low risk then take a gander at our matched betting guide. We also have many other great guides for you to choose from. Don’t miss out on a potential option!


Over recent years, the use of the best betting exchanges in UK has really taken off. Increased measures of security and anonymous betting transactions have paved the way for a formidable alternative to how betting operations take place. Punters are able to back and lay bets in a market which provides fairer odds and better chances for success. It is quite possible that such a system will supersede the more traditional gambling arena of operators. People like to have more control over their betting and the best exchanges allow for this. If you haven’t tried a betting exchange in UK, there’s not much stopping you. Enjoy the transparent experience and the ability to back and lay prior to, and during, an event.

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