Best Betting Exchange Sites 2021 – Back & Lay Online

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Those looking for a different way of wagering on sports should consider a betting exchange. While traditional sportsbooks offer fixed odds, prices at online betting exchange sites are set by punters themselves. The best exchange betting sites often offer better returns than fixed odds bookies. On this page, we will outline the top betting exchange sites UK. We will also explain how exchange betting works, including which sports markets are available. 

Our Top Rated Betting Exchange Sites 

  1. Betfair – Best exchange for backing
  2. Smarkets – Leading exchange for lay betting
  3. Betdaq – Commission free markets available
  4. Matchbook – 0% commission for first 30 days
  5. Ladbrokes – Generous free bet welcome offer 

The Top 5 Betting Exchanges Reviewed 

1. Betfair: £20 Free Bet for New Exchange Customers

Having been in operation for over 20 years, the Betfair Exchange is generally regarded as being the best in the UK. New customers can claim a £20 free bet upon signing up, while the commission rate on winnings made is 5%. The Betfair Exchange is particularly appealing for those looking to place back bets. Odds on the exchange are often better than on the Betfair sportsbook. Live streaming options are also available at Betfair, while a specific mobile app makes backing and laying on the go simple. 

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What We Like

  • Generous welcome offer
  • Live streaming service
  • Large number of sports found
  • iOS & Android mobile app available

What We Don’t Like

  • Commission rate is higher than some other exchanges

2. Smarkets: £10 Welcome Bonus

Founded in 2008, Smarkets has processed over £3 billion worth of bets since then. New customers can claim a £10 bonus upon signing up, while their “Trade Out” feature allows punters to cash out bets early. Smarkets is fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, while 24/7 support is available via live chat. The Smarkets betting exchange is modern and easy to use, while a blog offers articles on many sports. A dedicated mobile app is available on iOS and Android too. Statistical graphs also help punters in deciding whether to back or lay. One of the main selling points of Smarkets is the low commission, which sits at 2% on winnings. 

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What We Like

  • Low commission rate
  • Easy to use exchange site
  • Mobile app available
  • Trade Out feature

What We Don’t Like

  • No live streaming

3. Betdaq: Up to £1,000 Cashback

Launched in 2000, Betdaq is regarded as the world’s second biggest betting exchange. The platform was sold to Ladbrokes in 2013, retaining its license from the Gambling Commission. The Betdaq exchange features 30+ sports, with in-play markets being found daily. New customers can claim up to £1,000 in cashback. This is because there is no commission over the first 30 days, up to this amount. Commission is 0% on everything apart from football, horse racing, greyhounds and cricket. Odds are particularly pleasing on top sporting events, while a number of payment methods are available, including PayPal.

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What We Like

  • 0% commission on many markets
  • Range of payment methods
  • Excellent sports coverage
  • Live streaming available

What We Don’t Like

  • Liquidity not as good as other exchanges

4. Matchbook: £15 Risk Free Bet

Established in 2004, Matchbook is a betting exchange that offers appealing features such as live streaming and cash out. Owned by Triplebet Ltd, 20+ sports are available to bet on, with commission on winning bets being 2%. Matchbook is likely to appeal to those looking to place Asian Handicap bets in particular. An efficient mobile app is available on both iOS & Android devices, while winning limits are high. Matchbook is licensed by the Gambling Commission. New customers can claim either a £15 risk free bet or 0% commission for the first 30 days.

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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Small number of in-play markets

5. Ladbrokes: Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets

While being better known for its sportsbook site, Ladbrokes also offers an excellent betting exchange. Their commission rate of 5% is the same as Betfair, however higher than some other competitors. Ladbrokes shares its platform with Betdaq, meaning that punters can guarantee an excellent experience. Punters can take advantage of features including live streaming and cash out too. With £20 worth of free bets (4x £5 tokens) being up for grabs too, the Ladbrokes exchange is well worth considering.

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What We Like

  • Large number of exchange markets
  • Live streaming and other features
  • 24/7 customer support

What We Don’t Like

  • 5% commission is high

How We Rank The Top Exchange Betting Sites

While the number of online betting exchange sites is not as vast as sportsbooks, punters must still decide which operator suits them best. Each betting exchange comes with its own set of benefits and limitations. Our experts have taken the time to extensively test the best exchange betting sites around. So, what factors do we consider when ranking them?

  • Available Markets – Regardless of whether it be a betting exchange or sportsbook, there must be a sport that you are interested in. The best exchange betting sites cover a range of leagues and events, ranging from football betting and horse racing to rugby union and cricket. Pre-match and live betting markets will ideally be available. When it comes to available markets, there are few better platforms than the Betfair Exchange. Here, 30+ sports are available to bet on.
  • Commission Rate – Betting exchanges make money by charging a commission on winning bets. As a result, the rate is important. The smaller the commission, the more of your winnings you will take home. For example, the commission at the Betfair Exchange is 5%. This is compared to 2% at Smarkets. With 0% commission on many sports, Betdaq scores highly in this area. 
  • Liquidity – Something else that separates the best exchange betting sites from the rest is liquidity. In simple terms, liquidity is the total amount bet on a particular market, which will determine the maximum stake. As a result, this will determine which bets can be placed. Matchbook generally offers good liquidity across the board, which cannot be said of all exchange betting sites UK. 
  • Other Features – Exchange betting is enhanced by additional features. Online betting exchange sites now offer live streaming and cash out, as well as live chat support. Meanwhile, exchanges also come with useful statistics, graphs, blogs and tips. There are few better sites than Smarkets when it comes to features. 
  • Mobile Betting – The same number of markets and features should be available, whether you are operating on desktop or mobile. As you will have gathered, many of the top betting exchange sites UK are available via mobile browsers. Meanwhile, many brands have taken the step of developing a dedicated exchange betting app. Ladbrokes is one such operator to have introduced an efficient betting exchange app.

The Best Online Betting Exchanges Compared 

For those looking to get into exchange betting, the table below provides a quick breakdown of the sites available. We have focused upon some of the most important areas, such as commission, features and other services.

Feature Betfair Smarkets Betdaq Matchbook Ladbrokes
Commission 0%-5% 1%-3% 2%-4% 0%-10% 2%-5%
Apps available Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fixed odds betting Yes No Yes No Yes
Live streaming Yes No Yes Yes Yes
In play betting Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

What Is A Betting Exchange? 

Exchange betting may well be a new concept to many. Differing to sportsbooks, where punters go up against bookies, exchanges form a relationship between two bettors. At an exchange site, punters can offer odds to other players, known as a lay bet. Here, players are basically wagering on their pick to lose, rather than win. Exchanges are simply facilitating back and lay bets, rather than looking to make a profit from them. Instead, they charge a small commission on all winning bets. 

Liquidity is another important aspect of betting exchanges. Liquidity determines when bets can be placed. There must be enough money on both possible outcomes in order for bets to be accepted. Funds are split into two categories, back and lay. Winnings are paid out to those backing the correct result, from the pool of losing bets. 

Exchange Betting vs Traditional Sports Betting

At betting exchange sites, punters are effectively setting their own odds. So, rather than going up against the bookmaker, customers are pitted against each other. Meanwhile, another major advantage of exchange betting is the possibility of placing lay bets. Betting exchanges also make it possible to trade, something not available at online sportsbooks. In order to help punters decide whether exchange betting is for them, let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons:

What We Like

  • Lay bets available
  • Opportunities to trade
  • Markets often come with better value
  • Clear betting trends
  • No chance of not receiving winnings

What We Don’t Like

  • Takes time to get used to
  • Commission decreases profits
  • Odds move rapidly

What Sports Can I Bet On Using Betting Exchanges? 

Betting exchanges sites offer a variety of markets. Fans of most sports will be catered for, as well as those who wish to wager on events from the world of politics and entertainment. However, there are some sports that attract more interest from punters than others. Let’s now take a closer look at such sports, as well as the strategies adopted by customers:

Football

As the most popular betting sport in the UK, it should come as no surprise that football features heavily at exchange sites. However, the problem with football at sportsbooks is the draw. There are three possible match results, Team A win, draw or Team B win. Punters can use betting exchanges to increase their chances of winning. For example, for an upcoming Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United, punters could lay Newcastle. This effectively means that you are betting on Newcastle not winning, rather than West Ham to win. As a result, your bet will win if West Ham wins or the match ends in a draw. Betting exchanges also offer a range of Asian Handicap opportunities, a market that is a firm favourite with many football fans. 

Tennis

Tennis is another popular sport at betting exchanges. This is because it is often easier to predict the result when compared to other sports. Tennis is also a popular option due to the fact that there is guaranteed to be a winner. While pre-match odds are not likely to be that appealing, value can certainly be found with live markets. For example, if the no.1 seed goes a set down, it may well be worth placing an in-play back bet on them. 

Horse Racing

Horse racing and betting go hand in hand. With meetings taking place across the UK & Ireland daily, there are almost endless opportunities for fans of the sport. Back bets can be placed on runners, along with lay bets if you believe they have no chance of winning. While no live horse racing exchange markets are available, pre-race odds can be hugely appealing. 

Placing A Bet On A UK Betting Exchange 

Even experienced sports betting customers can become confused by how betting exchange sites work. This is why we have put together the following step by step guide on how to place a bet on an exchange site:

Step 1: Register an Account

Start by taking a closer look at the available betting exchanges in the UK. The list is not as large as with traditional sportsbook sites. However, there are still plenty of appealing sites, which feature on this page. Enter the betting exchange of your chosen operator, before clicking on the “Register” or “Join Now” button. Complete the registration form by entering your personal details. Players may be required to create a username and password at this stage too.

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Step 2: Browse Markets

Login to your account, before depositing funds into your account. This can be achieved by entering your card or e-wallet details. Deposits at the best betting exchange sites are instant. 

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Step 3: Back or Lay

Browse markets, focusing on sports you have a good understanding of. Look at the odds for both back and lay options. It is easy to see how much has already been staked on each market, known as the liquidity. Select an option to add it to your bet slip. Deposit funds and confirm your bet. 

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Step 4: Track Your Bet 

Follow the progress of your pick, whether it be via live streaming or other platforms. Depending on the action, it may be worth taking advantage of the cash out features offered by the majority of betting exchanges. 

Top 5 Exchange Betting Tips

Those new to betting exchanges must remember that they work in a different way to traditional sportsbooks. While exchange betting does not guarantee success, there are some ways in which punters can increase their chances of coming out on top. The following tips will be useful: 

  1. Be Patient – Some punters are guilty of being trigger happy when it comes to placing bets. Those who are successful will be more patient and wait for the right market and odds. Those who are impatient will also provide others with better value. 
  2. Stick to What You Know – Only place bets on sports you have a good understanding of. Jumping into something new simply because the odds are appealing is a quick way of getting into trouble. So, focus on teams and players you follow closely. 
  3. Be Realistic – Many join a betting exchange with unrealistic expectations. The most successful traders put the time and effort in. Meanwhile, as with any form of gambling, exchange betting will come with both ups and downs. 
  4. Do Your Homework – The amount of pre-match and live data available to punters means that failing to carry out research before wagering is almost criminal. So, be sure to check out the form, head to head records and news surrounding the teams or players involved. Such information can either confirm a bet or make punters think again.
  5. Never Chase Losses – When losing a bet, take time to re-evaluate and cool off. Quickly placing additional bets in order to recover what you have lost will often result in further losses. Betting responsibly at all times is hugely important. You may also wish to set yourself a deposit limit in order to guard against overspending.

Final Word on Exchange Betting

Those who regularly bet on sporting events should certainly consider opening an account at a betting exchange. While unique markets are available, the odds available on exchange sites are often far better than traditional sportsbooks. On this page, we have discussed the best betting exchanges sites available to punters today. Some have been around for decades, while others are more up and coming. Be sure to take a closer look for yourself. Having selected your favourite, it is time to start backing and laying! Remember that you can take advantage of promotions along the way too. 

FAQs

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James is a freelance writer who specialises in the world of sports and iGaming, producing engaging and accurate content for online publications, including news articles, reviews, press releases and social media marketing.