Best Betting Exchange in Ireland

Updated: 3928 Betting

We take a look at the betting exchanges available to Irish Punters. Whether you are backing, laying or trading, we offer insight on alternatives to Betfair

Best Betting Exchange in Ireland

There are currently 4 betting exchanges and we feature them all on OLBG and OLBG Ireland. Betfair and Matchbook have Irish facing offers.

4.0 / 5 2 Ratings

Matchbook is a peer-to-peer betting exchange designed for smart bettors who want more value. A low commission alternative to Betfair

Matchbook Review

  • 2% Commission Rate
  • Best Alternative to Betfair
  • Great Odds, Sometimes Better Than Betfair
4.2 / 5 10 Ratings

Irish Horse Racing, GAA betting and more with fixed odds and exchange betting they cater to every level of sports betting enthusiast across Ireland. With Betfair SP outstripping industry SP amounts regularly.

Betfair Review

  • One account for Exchange and Sportsbook apps
  • Win more on Horse Racing with Betfair SP
  • Enormous range of in play markets

This is your best guide to betting exchange comparison, as we have compared the market leader which is Betfair directly with each of the other exchanges.

We have checked the range of markets, liquidity, prices, commission rate, bonuses, ease of use…. well everything really. 

If you are new to betting exchanges this Betting Exchange Ireland guide will be all you will need. 

Betting Exchange Commission Rates Comparison

Betting Exchanges make their money by charging users commission. 

Betting Exchange Site
Basic Commission Rates

You can see that three of the exchanges offer a 2% commission rate whilst Betfair the market leaders charge 5%.

To help understand these rates more completely before deciding to open a new betting exchange account, and who with, we offer fuller explanations on betting exchange commission rates in the next sections.

Betting Exchange Commission Comparison Example

Let's compare a simple football bet on the exchanges to see how the commission rates affect your nett return

The table has changed as on 7th August 2019 Matchbook changed their commission structure to match that of Smarkets and Betdaq

This table used to be far more entertaining with different commission rates for each exchange but all but Betfair have standardised their model now

We are 'back' betting on an outcome in a betting market to win at odds of 3.00 with €50 stake to win €100.

Exchange Bet Wins - Profit
Betfair* €100 - 5% = €95.00
Matchbook €100 - 2% = €98.00
Smarkets €100 - 2% = €98.00
BetDaq €100 - 2% = €98.00

* The Betfair Commission rate can be lower than 5% depending on the discount rate you have earned through your betting activity with them. Explained in Betfair section below

Every bet you make will earn you Betfair points. These add up and equate to a commission discount rate.

This discount rate is then set against the standard 5% in calculating the commission you pay on winning bets only.

If you win €400 with 5% commission you will be charged €20 commission on that bet.

If you have earned a 10% discount rate you will be charged (€400 x 5% = €20) - 10% = €18

It's quite simple to understand but worth reading up on. Simply, the more you bet on Betfair the more points you earn and the bigger discount you receive. 

Be aware that there is a 15% reduction of your discount rate on a weekly basis, you can freeze this for one week every three months, but unless you are betting huge amounts, it's probably not worth spending too much time on figuring out the minimal benefits.

I would be of the opinion that most long term users pay minimal attention to Betfair points and that they should introduce a simpler system. 

Matchbook in August 2019 came in line with its rivals by scrapping their more complicated commission rate to a flat 2%. 

Betting Exchange Liquidity Compared [Football]

We read a lot about a team being a big price on the Betfair Exchange, what is not considered is how much you can get on at the big price. 

In many cases, you can only get €2 or €5 at that big price and that comes under the “liquidity” umbrella. 

If there is little liquidity then the prices are meaningless and you should stick with a traditional bookmaker.  

This is especially true in ante-post markets, and markets that are a few days out from the kick-off. 

Choosing the Nations League Semi-Final between the Netherlands and England as an example and looking specifically at the £ price to bet on the Netherlands we find the following price and liquidity comparison information.

Exchange Site
Back Price
Back Liquidity
Lay Liquidity
Lay price
Information correct at 14:45 on 5/6/2019 (29hrs before kick-off)

BetVictors price for the Netherlands is included for fixed-odds comparison purposes.

Betfair v Smarkets

Exchange Commission

Paying 2% on Smarkets is obviously better than 5 % so in this regard Smarkets win hands down. You get more of your winnings with Smarkets. 


Exchange prices are disappointingly similar, you would have hoped that competition between the 4 players would give us a wide range of prices, but this is not the case. 


Here there is only 1 winner and that is Betfair, if you do want to get matched quickly and for bigger amounts then visit Betfair. 

Maybe in time, the other exchanges can compete on liquidity but it's a catch 22 situation, fewer players mean less liquidity, less liquidity means fewer players. 

Design and User Experience

As you would expect there are plenty of new features on such a new company.

It does take time for older punters to get used to the look, especially the dark theme, I much preferred the white theme. 

The graphs are good and innovative and would like to see more of these, this is a way to differentiate Smarkets from other exchanges. 

It has an excellent help centre, of all the exchanges I rated it the best for those looking to learn about backing, trading, laying. 

One thing to note is that Smarkets has fewer sports on offer, with no GAA sports available. 

Smarkets Positives

  • A company that seems focused on technology that brings new ideas to betting exchanges.  
  • Interesting betting content that comes from a different angle.
  • Betting and Trading for those who love Instagram, Snapchat etc, and who are comfortable in betting in new ways. 
  • If you need to learn about trading then the Smarkets help centre should be your first port of call.

Betfair v Matchbook

Exchange Commission

Now 2% bringing it in line with its rivals, Betfair at 5% is looking expensive. 


Again not hugely different, however, traders are only looking for small ticks between sites and Matchbook offering 1 or 2 tick differences does lead to profitable trades. 

Design and User Experience

The design is more modern than Betfair and easier to navigate than Smarkets, of all the exchanges this is the “cleanest”

The site is not packed with unnecessary features which makes a welcome change, they want you to bet quickly and easily and you can do. 


Matchbook liquidity is growing especially on horse racing and football, they have a way to go on other sports. 

By the same token, I took a quick snapshot of the next available UK Horse race for this Betfair v Matchbook comparison and found the following on the back side with exactly 10 minutes until the scheduled 'off' time.

Horse 1
Horse 2
Horse 3
Horse 4
Horse 5

As you can see Matchbook compared favourably on the back market, the activity on the race was as frenetic as on Betfair. This could indicate that traders are using matchbook to make small gains over Betfair prices. 

Matchbook Positives

  • Comparable liquidity to Betfair on horse racing and major events.
  • Slick and quick platform with a familiar feel.
  • Low commission rates.
  • Brilliant and influential podcast (worth a listen).

Betfair v BetDaq


Many used to flip between Betfair and Betdaq looking for vagaries of price, I did this myself many times.  You can get the odd anomaly but really need to be on the ball and at your screen 24/7. 

Adding a sportsbook indicates that Betdaq is serious about taking on Betfair on all fronts. They have always been seen as a poorer alternative, but they are doing lots of things right, and are worthy of some of your betting funds. 


Another with 2% hoping to shame Betfair into reducing or amending their commission structure. If you bet regularly on exchanges the 2% will make a difference. 

Over a year the lower commission adds up, on a €50 profit you would only pay €1.00, compared to a maximum €2.50 on Betfair.

Design and User Experience

Easy to use but looking a bit dated especially compared to new kids Smarkets. The sportsbook introduction came at an ideal time.

Betdaq Positives

  • Adding a sportsbook indicates that Betdaq is serious about taking on Betfair on all fronts. 
  • Betdaq are doing lots of things right, and are worthy of some of your betting funds when prices are better on their exchange. 
  • Betdaq Exchange multiple options have always been superior with the ability to add multiple bets across sports at exchange prices. 

Why Everyone Needs More Than 1 Exchange Account

We take it as red that you are serious about making a profit from your betting. Having a few exchange accounts allows you to cherry pick the best back and lay prices. 

Now prices do not vary much in the initial show, but traders looking to get in and out of positions can mean that each exchange at different times offers some extra value. 

If you have multiple exchange accounts you can put in different bets out of the money and hope one of them gets matched on one of the exchanges. You can then cancel the bets that do not get matched. 

You may want to back Manchester United at 3.75 but 3.5 is the best price available, just place a bet on different exchanges at say 3.75 and 3.85 and see who matches your bet first. 

By always being matched at the best price in exchange land you are far more likely to come out with a profit.  

Another reason for having 2 or more exchange accounts is the dreaded outage. Betfair does go down at certain times and if you have a liability on the exchange you need another outlet so you can get out of your betfair bet. 

It's wise to keep some funds in other exchanges for exactly this reason. 

Best Alternative to Betfair (Your Needed 2nd Exchange account)

You may already have a Betfair account, if not please check our dedicated Betfair review and read why they are clearly the No.1 Betting exchange. 

The alternative exchange which we recommend you add to your portfolio is Matchbook. Check the Matchbook Exchange review and current sign up offers here. 

Matchbook is highly rated by OLBG users with 4 stars out of 5 (at the time of writing from 12 reviews)

  • Great odds, sometimes even better than Betfair 
  • Low commission 
  • Excellent account opening offer

Are Betfair The Best Betting Exchange?

Yes they are. Having the most customers means there is more variation of prices + you should get your bets matched more quickly. 

Betfair Exchange Pros:

  • More Events Covered
  • Deeper Market Coverage
  • More members = More money in the markets
  • Biggest % chance of being matched.
  • More promotions
  • Betfair SP for Horse racing
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