Betting Exchange Explained

As you learn more about the ins and outs of gambling, you may have stumbled onto the question, “how does a betting exchange work?” With our guide, we will have a betting exchange explained to you in detail, so that you might make better use of its advantages in the future. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the nuances of how an exchange bet works and what the pros and cons of this type of betting may be.

How does a Betting Exchange work?

The major difference between a betting exchange and your average bookmaker, is that a betting exchange allows for punters to bet against fellow punters. This means to say, that punters can request or offer odds to their fellow punters. Where the bookmaker would usually take on the risk for going head to head with the punter on a wager, a betting exchange sees no risk whatsoever. As such we will have a betting exchange explained by the end of this section.

The betting exchange essentially matches two different bettors against each other, one will be the backer and the other the layer (one bets on a win & one bets on the loss). The layer has agreed to pay-out the backer’s wager should the bet be successful. As such, the betting exchange is acting as a middleman for the two bettors, taking a small commission of completed wagers. So in the case of the backer winning, he/she would receive the stake from the layer and vice versa.

The major point that separates exchanges from bookmakers is the option to wager a lay bet (bet on who you think will lose). Furthermore, where a bookie would offer you the odds, you wager your bet with odds that you would like and then wait and see if a fellow punter wants to take you on with those terms. You can also choose to accept another punter’s wager. The stake and odds on a proposed wager can be negotiated, so to speak, by the other bettor until the two parties come to terms that they both find agreeable. There is essentially no limit to the odds and stakes that can be proposed, however they do still need to be attractive enough to garner the attention of your fellow bettors.

Example of a Betting Exchange

So say, for instance, that you are wanting to bet on a football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa. You decide to do this through a betting exchange and so need to set your own stake, odds and prediction and hope that a fellow punter likes the look of the wager. Or of course, you can choose to enter into a wager that is already up. So for example, you decide you want to bet on Arsenal to lose. The odds show 2.0 to back and 2.20 to lay. Should you not like these odds and choose not to accept, then that person’s wager will likely be void. This is why your bets need to seem attractive enough for the other punter to take an interest in it.

In the case of a lay bet the odds may have been 2.9 to back and 3.0 to lay on Arsenal vs Aston Villa. If you decided to take a lay bet on Aston Villa losing at 3.0 that would mean someone was betting on Arsenal to win at 2.9 odds. So if you wager a lay bet of £50 on Aston Villa and they lost, you would win the backers £50 stake. So essentially, if you lose the wager you pay the backer £100 and should you win you get to claim their £50 stake. As such, you are ultimately wagering £100 to win £50. This should help to have a betting exchange explained in terms of how the intricacies of the wagers work and answer the question “how does a betting exchange work?”

Pros and Cons of a Betting Exchange

There are certain things to look out for when using a betting exchange, some of which are advantages and others that are disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons for you to decide whether you think a betting exchange will be something that interests you:

Pros of a Betting Exchange

There are a few pros to using a betting exchange that you should keep in mind going forward. The biggest pro of a betting exchange is comfortably the fact that you can utilise the lay betting strategy. Your standard bookmakers will not offer you the opportunity to wager a lay bet (betting on a team or competitor to lose) on any event, whereas a betting exchange does. This gives you more avenues to try and make money.

For example, should you bet on three different horses to win a race, and one of your wagers is successful you will have still lost two wagers and probably have just made your money back depending on the odds. Should you use the same strategy but as a lay bet and you choose three horses that lose the race you stand to make a lot more money. Even if one of the horses does win the race you will have won two other bets. So as you can see the advantage of lay betting is quite evident.

Lastly, the odds that are offered on backing certain teams or individuals on a betting exchange are generally better than your average bookmaker. They may not be massively different but they will still be a little better for the most part.

Cons of a Betting Exchange

To fully have a betting exchange explained you will need to know what some of its flaws are. There are a few cons that may dissuade you from using a betting exchange, however they are minor in nature. Firstly, it may be a problem to use a betting exchange if you are a punter who enjoys betting on the more obscure types of sports. When using a betting exchange you need another punter to take you up on your wager, should you be betting on an obscure sport it is far less likely you will find someone else to make the wager valid. As such, you will find more success betting on the more popular sports like Football, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis etc.

Finally, a betting exchange is unlikely to have any bonus offers or rewards and if they do, they will be inconsequential versus an official bookmakers’ offers. If you are looking for quality sign up offers and better rewards, then using a bookmaker is what you should be doing. Aside from this, betting markets can be quite rewarding and should not be lightly dismissed. As you can see, the cons are not incredibly major, and profits can still abound should you wager your bets wisely with a betting exchange.

Tips for A Successful Betting Exchange Experience

First and foremost, in order to try and achieve some success with your wagers on a betting exchange you need your wagers to be realistic and somewhat attractive in order to have your bet matched by another punter. Try to make the odds you propose on the wager be fair for both parties, you do not want to offer a lopsided bet that won’t attract another bettor.

In relation to the first tip, wager bets on the sport you know best. This way, you can wager fair bets with fair odds, but you will know if you are making the right call based on the knowledge you have of the sport. This will help to make sure your bets are getting matched but also that they are still profitable for you as well.

What Other Betting Guides & Strategies Should I Use?

With the betting exchange explained, we would advise you to take a look at some of our other guides and strategies to further cultivate your betting prowess. You may wish to learn about different kinds of bets such as a draw no bet or a multiple bet. Furthermore, having a more advanced knowledge of how lay betting works will only serve you in the long run. To further enhance your betting knowledge, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how free bets work. Lastly, you may want to have a look at our guide for what a classic handicap is.


In conclusion, it is fair to say that to use a betting exchange undoubtedly has the potential to bring you profits and success. The fact that they offer their punters the opportunity to wager lay bets is a big advantage over other standard bookmakers in the gambling world. However, it is important to know how to wager you bets in a way that is both attractive and fair, this knowledge will come with time and practice. Once you are familiar with what fair odds look like, your wagers are more and more likely to be matched by your fellow punters on a betting exchange. With a betting exchange explained, you are now better equipped to make your strategies and decisions when using this betting strategy.

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