Best Betting Exchanges UK - Full List of Sites, Comparison & Sign Up Offers

If you are interested in exchanges then the chances are you already have a Betfair exchange account. If not then see our Betfair review here and read why they are clearly the No.1 Betting exchange. 

Ranked #1 alternative to Betfair Exchange

4.0 out of 5
based on 12 reviews
Best alternative exchange to Betfair, Matchbook have established themselves in the exchange market
  • 4 stars out of 5 (at time of writing from 12 reviews)
  • Great odds, sometimes even better than Betfair
  • Low commissions
  • Excellent account opening offer

A new exchange which we recommend you add to your portfolio is Matchbook because 

  • Matchbook are highly rated by OLBG users with 4 stars out of 5 (at time of writing from 12 reviews)
  • Great odds, sometimes even better than Betfair 
  • Low commissions 
  • Excellent account opening offer 


In this guide...

List of All Betting Exchanges

  • Betfair
  • Matchbook
  • Smarkets
  • BetDaq/Ladbrokes Exchange


Betfair were the original betting exchange and by far the most popular available today. 

The competition is there though, There are other betting exchanges.

Betdaq were the alternative for a long time but for whatever reason have never grown to the size of Betfair and have never been able to provide the liquidity either. They are now, of course, the Ladbrokes exchange too

Smarkets and Matchbook are the newest betting exchanges available and well worth a look as you can see from our current recommendation



How To Decide on the Best Betting Exchanges?

If you are ready to sign up to a betting exchange this guide will assist you in deciding which of the exchange companies is the best fit for you as an individual. 

At the time of writing Betfair are the market leader and the original betting exchange, however in recent times newer companies Betdaq, Matchbook and Smarkets have started to eat in to the market leaders dominance, by delivering innovative concepts for customers.  

These new exchange firms now offer the bettor, trader, layer a real alternative. 

All the exchanges offer a signup bonus, or free bet, or cash back, you can check the current sign up on any of the links. These offers help the new exchange player get to grips with exchanges. 

How Do Betting Exchanges Work?

The concept of an exchange is that it brings opposing customers together in one marketplace. You are not betting against a bookmaker but against other customers of that exchange. 

You decide on a bet for or against a selection, the exchange then matches your bet with a customer or customers with an opposing view. 

Because there is no bookmaker margin you can get bigger prices, especially away from the favourites. 

Once signed up to a betting exchange you as a customer have the ability to act as a bookmaker and take bets from other customers, by laying their bets. 

You have three opportunities on an exchange, you can back, lay or trade your bets. Which of these will you use? Which are the best methods for betting on the exchanges? 

How Do Betting Exchanges Make Money?

All the exchanges take a commission on winnings, the amounts vary between the exchanges which is why it is important to check their changing percentage rates. 

Back Bets on An Exchange

Imagine the scenario where you are talking to a friend and you decide that England are going to beat Belgium in an international football match, your friend thinks you are talking tosh and that England have no chance. 

So we have two opposing views, this is the essence of the exchange, you are backing against someone else’s opinion, he or she will not be a friend just an opposing customer who disagrees with you. The price you receive is decided by the opposing customer. 

Back Bets on An Exchange

Imagine the scenario where you are talking to a friend and you decide that England are going to beat Belgium in an international football match, your friend thinks you are talking tosh and that England have no chance. 

So we have two opposing views, this is the essence of the exchange, you are backing against someone else’s opinion, he or she will not be a friend just an opposing customer who disagrees with you. The price you receive is decided by the opposing customer. 

Laying Bets on An Exchange

For example, let’s say you thought Manchester United had no chance against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. You could bet AGAINST (lay) Manchester United and if they lost you would win the stake of the exchange customer who supported Manchester United. 

When laying a bet, you can only win the other person's stake. You by laying a bet are in a similar position to a bookmaker who takes bets over the counter, you are taking someone else’s bet. 

Trading bets on an Exchange

On betting exchanges, you can also “trade” selections. This just means you can back and lay the same selection to guarantee you a profit. 

You back Frankel at 3.0 in the morning, by the time of the race the price of Frankel has shortened to 2.5. This new price gives you the ability to trade the bet and bet against Frankel, guaranteeing you a no lose free bet on Frankel. You can back and lay multiple selections always looking to guarantee a profit through betting on exchanges. 

In Play Betting

Betting exchanges and Betfair in particular introduced the concept of in play betting. With events going in play you can make a profit before an event finishes, and profit on all outcomes. 

For Example, if you have backed Arsenal at 3.0 selection to win the game, and Arsenal scores in the first 10 minutes their price will shorten, and the other options of the draw and the away team will get bigger, you may see a scenario as below.

Pre-Match Betting Exchange Odds

Arsenal 3.0

Draw 3.25

Manchester United 2.75

Total Odds Percentage: 100.47%

Arsenal score after 10 minutes

In Play Betting Exchange Odds

Arsenal 1.8 

Draw 3.75

Manchester United 5.5

Total Odds Percentage 100.40%

But remember you have already backed Arsenal at 3.0

So your Exchange odds now look like this

Arsenal 3.0 (price already taken)

Draw 3.75

Manchester United 5.5

Total Odds Percentage: 78.18%

We know that when odds on an event add up to less than 100% a profit can be made by backing all selections, having backed Arsenal at 3.0, you can now back the other options or lay Arsenal to guarantee you a winning outcome on a betting exchange. This is betting heaven compared to 20 years ago. 

In this day and age all bettors should have at least 1 Betting Exchange account, click any of the links to sign up today. 

Below is our take on all 4 major Betting Exchanges

 

Are Betfair The Best Betting Exchange?

Betfair have the most customers of any betting exchange and therefore has the best liquidity of all the exchanges. This liquidity is a major consideration when looking to get a bet matched or looking for a price away from the standard. 

You should also get your bet matched earlier in the day than on other exchanges. If betting in play is a consideration, then again Betfair due to sheer weight of bettors is an account that you should sign up for. Signing up for Betfair account should be a must for all bettors as many do consider them the best betting exchange for liquidity. 

Positives: Most available odds, biggest available prices on most events.

Are BetDaq The Best Betting Exchange Firm?

The Purple one as they are known due to their website colouring are the longest running challengers to Betfairs betting exchange dominance. They are working tirelessly to compete and have introduced a range of innovative concepts. 

Only charging 2% commission, compared to 5% on Betfair gives a decent enough reason for customers to sign up for a Betdaq account. Over a year that lower 2% can make a big difference to your annual profits. On a £50 winning bet you would only pay £1.00, compared to £2.50 on Betfair.

Positives: Low commission rate. Zero commission promotions. The ability to place multiples, doubles and trebles on the exchange. Interesting betting and trading articles, market mover information. 

Why Should I Join Matchbook Betting Exchange?

Matchbook as a newer smaller player are making waves with their hugely generous sign up offer. It is currently the most generous of all the Exchanges and need checking out, at the time of writing they have a £500 cashback offer. Their site also regularly offers zero commission promotions on big sporting events. 

Positives: Becoming an influential voice in betting exchanges through their Matchbook Insights, the Matchbook Betting Podcast and the Matchbook Traders Conference. Low commission rate.

Why Should I Join Smarkets Betting Exchange?

We feel that Smarkets as a company is going places with their distinctive offering making them stand out from their competitors. 

Positives: An open transparent company with new ideas that is trying to bring a fresh approach to exchanges, seems to be targeting the mobile generation and new bettors (Millennials). Quirky and interesting betting content.  

Betting Exchanges Glossary

API

The Exchange API is the platform on which developers build customised betting tools and interfaces to use with the Betting Exchange. 

BOT

The betting term BOT is short for ROBOT. On exchanges bots account for a percentage of bets placed. These computers programmed bots instantly place back and lay bets when certain conditions are triggered. There are advantages for the BOT user, speed and the ability to place bets when away from the computer.  

Cash Out

Cash Out is a feature from Betfair. With Cash Out, you can lock in a profit or cut your losses during a match, race or event. No longer do you have to wait until it’s finished to take your winnings. Betfair make an offer on your live In -Play. However it is always worth doing your own calculation to see if a simple back or lay will return you a bigger amount than the cash out offer.  

Dutching

Dutching is a way of backing or laying multiple selections on an exchange so you have more chances to profit 

Greening Up

This term is used when you are guaranteed a profit on a selection or an event, having backed at a bigger priced and laid at a lower smaller price. It is now more commonly used when rather than the selection being greened up, the whole race or match has been greened up, and that is known as a green book, and maybe quoted as “I am green on the 3.30 at Kempton”

Liability

The amount you will be liable for when laying a bet. The calculation is as follows 

Liability = £10 * (Lay odds of 1.5 -1) = £5.00.  

Liability = £20 * (Lay odds of 1.36- 1) = £7.20 

Liquidity

The liquidity is the amount of money available for you to bet (back/lay) at the corresponding odds on the corresponding selection. Large figures on the back on the back or lay side shows interest in the selection. Total liquidity on an event shows the popularity of an event.  You can compare and contrast meeting or match liquidity, to see how the event ranks compared to other races or matches. 

Hedge 

Hedging is a term used when you make further bets or trades to guarantee a profit, your original expected profit is reduced but you are a guaranteeing a return by hedging or guaranteeing a smaller loss than if you left the bet alone. 

WOM

Weight of Money is an indicator of what money is showing on the back or lay side of a selection. WOM can give an indication on whether a selection is being supported or being opposed. 

Once you have chosen what you think is the best betting exchange for you, click the link to sign up via this page to take advantage of the latest account opening offer and start betting, trading, laying today.