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Online Betting in Ireland / Best Betting Exchanges for Irish Players

Rating the Best Betting Exchanges for Irish Players: Full Guide for 2024

Last Updated on 26/01/2024
Fact checked by: Aisling Byrne

Bookmakers exist to make a profit from bettors, but you can bypass their commission by signing up to one of the best betting exchanges, and cutting out the middleman altogether.

A betting exchange lets you place back bets and lay bets, making it easy to find someone taking the opposite position, so there’s no need for a traditional bookmaker. It might seem quite complex when you’re first starting out, but as this guide explains, it’s all relatively easy to understand once you get to grips with how it works.

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Compare the best betting sites in Ireland for 2024

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BoyleSports
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Betway
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Pros and cons

  • Select your own odds.
  • Potential for larger stakes.
  • No maximum bet limits.
  • Low fees.
  • Complete transparency.
  • Bets aren’t guaranteed to be matched.
  • Few niche market opportunities.

What is a betting exchange?

When you place a bet at a traditional sportsbook, you’re wagering on who you think will win, which is pretty straightforward. Get it right and the bookmaker will pay out your winnings - minus their own cut, which is known as ‘vigorish’ or ‘vig’. But at a betting exchange you’ll be matched with another bettor taking the opposing position.

Many bettors are put off exchange betting by what they see as a complex method of wagering, but once you’ve explored your options you’ll soon discover that it all falls into place. Like so many things in life, it can seem daunting at first, but with the potential to select your odds and place bets of unlimited size, this is a type of wagering that could quickly become a valuable resource in your sports betting armoury.

Understanding back bets and lay bets

To fully understand the concept of a betting exchange, you’ll need to get to grips with back bets and lay bets:

  • Back bets: You’ll be backing who you think will win, which is the traditional method used by sports betting sites. If your selection wins you’ll be awarded your payout, with the bookmaker taking their commission, having taken the opposing position in the wager.
  • Lay bets: This is where you bet against an outcome, which is traditionally the role of the sportsbook. But exchange betting allows bettors to decide whether to place back bets or lay bets, with no need for any involvement from a third party.

Let’s take a match between Arsenal and Liverpool as an example. At a traditional bookmaker you’d bet on either Arsenal or Liverpool to win, so you’d be placing a back bet. Your sports betting platform would automatically take the lay bet, adopting the position that your selection won’t win.

At a betting exchange you have the option to place either a back bet, or a lay bet. The platform matches up bettors who are then effectively wagering against each other. If your prediction proves to be correct, you’ll receive a payout from the opposing bettor, with the exchange taking a small percentage - usually around 2%, which is considerably less than any traditional sports betting platform.

How betting exchanges work

Using our theoretical match between Liverpool and Arsenal as an example, let’s imagine that you and another bettor are both intending to place a wager. The other party believes that Liverpool will win - although you disagree and offer odds of 2.00 (which is 1/1, or evens) that they won’t. With both of you placing a £10 stake, you’ll pay them £10 if Liverpool wins, and they’ll pay you £10 if Liverpool loses.

This is the most simplified version of exchange betting, but let’s not forget that you also have the option to select your own odds. They don’t have to align with the odds available at sports betting sites, but you’ll need to keep in mind that there’s no guarantee you’ll have any takers if you’re too out of kilter with the prevailing trends. But if nobody matches up with your bet, you won’t lose anything, so there’s nothing much to lose by experimenting.

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The big advantages of betting exchanges

One of the biggest advantages of signing up to a betting exchange is the low commission fees. That means you’ll receive almost the full amount of your wager, with exchanges generally charging around 2% - 3%, which is considerably lower than traditional sports betting platforms. But that’s far from being the only advantage, particularly for serious bettors who are determined to reap the maximum benefits possible.

Sports betting sites are ultimately there to make money, so they can take against bettors who win too much. The most successful bettors often find themselves barred from online sportsbooks, with betting exchanges stepping in to offer an alternative option. Better still, betting exchanges let you set your own odds - if another bettor is prepared to match your bet, you have the potential for a win, and often at odds that no sports betting site would be prepared to offer.

Lock in profits with arbitrage betting

Traditional sportsbooks don’t like arbitrage betting, or ‘arbing’ as it’s sometimes known. This is when you back all outcomes, guaranteeing a payout - and it’s a sure-fire way of getting yourself banned from a betting site as it diminishes the sportsbook’s profits. But it’s not an issue at a betting exchange, where you can place any type of wager as long as you can find someone to pair up with.

Many bettors like to use a combination of sportsbooks and betting exchanges to cover all eventualities. Simply place a regular bet to back your selection at a sports betting site, then switch across to your exchange betting platform to place a lay bet, guaranteeing a positive outcome for you regardless of the outcome.

Table of bet types at sportsbooks and betting exchanges

PlatformBack betsLay betsParlay betsArbitrage bets
Sportsbook
Betting exchange

How to get started at a betting exchange 

There are new betting sites launching all the time, and here at betting.co.uk we set to reviewing and rating them straight away. So once you’ve browsed through your options, it’s simply a matter of picking out the one that feels right for you and signing up for an account. It’s worth noting that bonuses don’t tend to be as forthcoming on these platforms as at more traditional sites - but that’s more than compensated for by the reduced fees you’ll be required to pay.

Once your account has been verified you can start browsing through the various selections offered by your exchange. When you find an option you’d like to bet on, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be placing a back bet or a lay bet. These are indicated by coloured columns, often red and blue to indicate the two different options, although it varies between exchanges.

Place your bet

Once you’ve decided on your basic bet type you can set your own stake, which is the amount you’ll accept and what you’ll win if your selection is correct. So going back to our Liverpool vs Arsenal game, if Liverpool wins you’ll pay the other bettor £10, and if Liverpool loses they’ll pay you £10.

That’s all well and good with odds of 2.0, but if they were increased to 3.0 (2/1 in fractional terms), you’ll be responsible for paying out liability, since you’ve adopted the role of the bookmaker in this transaction. It sounds complicated, but you’ll see that your liability is always displayed so you know exactly what you’d have to pay out if you lose. And as an added reassurance, you won’t be able to accept any stakes if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account to cover your liability.

Points to be aware of when using a betting exchange 

There are several advantages to using a betting exchange, but there are a few downsides to be aware of too. The main disadvantage is that there are only limited betting markets to choose from, with no guarantees that your bet will be matched - although you won’t lose anything if there are no takers.

Other points to consider include the following:
  • No accumulator bets: If you want to place sporting bets with multiple legs you’ll need to head back to a traditional sportsbook.
  • Lack of bonuses: Most sportsbooks offer a welcome bonus followed by plenty of other rewards and promotional offers. Even the very best betting exchanges can’t hope to compete with these sorts of bonuses - although the reduced fees could more than make up for it.
  • Limited choice of betting exchanges: There’s a huge variety of online sports betting platforms to choose from, as they’ve been around for so long. Betting exchanges are a relatively new concept, so right now you won’t find the same level of choices - although that could all change as more bettors discover the benefits of using them.

How to track down your ideal exchange bookmaker

Our mission here at betting.co.uk is to provide you with all the information you need to decide which betting site is right for you.  That’s where our insightful platform reviews come in, as they’re packed to bursting with invaluable info to help you determine the options that are most suitable for your specific needs, based on your wagering style, budget and even the type of device you prefer to use. Whether you’re planning on placing your sporting wagers on your laptop or desktop computer, or you’re looking for the very best betting apps, you can count on us to have all the details you need to know.

Other points we cover include:
  • Licence and security: You need to know that you can expect a fair and legitimate betting experience, so we check out licences and security protocols.
  • Customer support: There’s a good chance you’ll have a few questions, or you could run into technical problems, so we always make sure there’s a customer support service on hand - and we tell you the operating hours and how to get in touch too.
  • Payments: We make sure there’s a good selection of deposit and withdrawal options, letting you know about timeframes and limits.

The best betting exchanges in February

Armed with your newfound knowledge, it is now time to find out all there is to know about Betfair -- our favourite betting exchange in February.

Betfair

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Betfair: Pros & Cons
  • Range of credible payment methods
  • Good selection of betting markets
  • Inclusive limits
  • Limited promotions

Betfair is offering one of the most complete betting exchanges around. You can register with ease, online or through the dedicated mobile app, before making a minimum deposit of just €5. A selection of credible methods are available, including PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, and Visa. Once your account is funded, you can then look to bet against like-minded punters on a wide range of markets.

Currently, you’ll find that the busy sports betting exchange is packed with markets for rugby union, football, darts, MMA, and much more. The main focus is on outright winners; however, a quick click on each fixture will open up the doors to betting on over/under and various other opportunities. You can check out tips and previews, review historical data, and even get in contact with support around the clock.

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You’ll find all the best betting exchanges right here

We’re always on the lookout for top betting platforms that we can recommend to our readers here at betting.co.uk. Whether you’re interested in tracking down the best betting exchanges, sportsbooks with casino provision or betting sites with cash out options, we’ve got reviews and guides to make finding your perfect option an absolute breeze.

We’ve always got useful advice to further enhance all your wagering opportunities too, so be sure to bookmark our site and keep checking back to keep up to date with all the latest news and offers.

Check out our favorite online betting sites

kwiff
1.
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Ladbrokes
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Best betting exchanges FAQ

🤔 How does a betting exchange work?

When you place a bet at an online sportsbook you can expect the bookmaker to take a cut, which negatively impacts the amount you’ll receive if your bet wins. Exchange betting allows you to set your own odds and limits and wager directly against another bettor - with much lower fees. We’ve got the full details here at betting.co.uk, so be sure to check out our guide before choosing your new betting platform

🥇 Which is the best betting exchange?

Here at betting.co.uk we don’t believe that any sports betting platform could possibly be the perfect option for absolutely everyone, as so many variables are involved. We’ve put together a guide to choosing and using an exchange betting site, along with reviews and ratings for all our tried and tested recommendations.

🖥️ Is it safe to use an online betting exchange?

Yes it is, provided that you choose a safe and reputable online platform - although it’s not always easy to spot the legitimate sites. Here at betting.co.uk we review and rate all the best betting sites, making sure we present you with all the essential facts so you can easily choose your favourites - and even take advantage of the best free bet offers too.

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