Best betting exchange sites in 2020 – The top sites reviewed

By The Sure Bettor   |    Updated April 3, 2020

A betting exchange account is a must have in 2020. They offer a huge range of benefits including lay betting, great value odds and much more…

But which are the best betting exchange sites? Let’s check them out…

Best betting exchanges

So the best betting exchanges available in 2020 are:

  • Betdaq
  • Betfair
  • Smarkets
  • Matchbook
  • Betconnect

Before selecting your favourite betting exchange, it’s important to consider what you want to get out of your betting. The betting exchanges mentioned above all have different advantages and suit different bettors. The best betting exchange is very subjective so just bear this in mind when making a decision.

There are smaller, less popular exchanges like Ladbrokes Exchange but I’ve stuck to the larger outfits in this article.

What is a betting exchange?

For those of you that aren’t sure, a betting exchange is an online platform that matches gamblers looking to place opposite bets. They allow you to play the part of a traditional bookmaker.

Here’s an example to help explain.

If punter A wants to back Chelsea to beat Leicester City, punter B can bet the opposite and back Chelsea NOT to win. This is called a lay bet, a type of betting that isn’t available at traditional bookmakers.

Different business model

Betting exchanges work on a different business model compared to traditional bookmakers. They charge a commission on winning bets rather than building a profit margin into the odds like bookies do. This has various benefits as we’ll look at later.

Aspects of a great betting exchange

There are many different aspects to consider when picking the best betting exchange. Here are some of the things you should bear in mind:

  • Range of markets
  • Commission rate
  • Amount of liquidity
  • Quality of odds
  • Customer service
  • User experience
  • Reliability

Let’s check out each of these in more detail.

Range of markets

One of the most important aspects of a betting exchange is the range of markets on offer. The more markets available, the more opportunity you have to place your bets. This is especially the case for any matched bettors out there.

The best betting exchange should have a wide range of sports categories and markets meaning there’s always something to bet on. Some betting exchanges even offer markets on chess matches…

Commission rate

As I mentioned earlier, betting exchanges work differently to traditional bookmakers. They charge a commission on winning bets rather than building a profit margin into the odds. If you lose a bet at a betting exchange, you don’t pay any commission.

The commission rate is one of the key aspects that differentiates the most popular betting exchanges. Obviously the lower the rate, the more profit you keep on winning bets. Commission rates vary but anything below 2% is great value.

Amount of liquidity

Another aspect that you should consider is the amount of liquidity at a betting exchange. When I refer to liquidity, I’m talking about the amount of money waiting to be matched on a given market. In simple terms, this is the number of people wanting to place a bet. The liquidity of a market is shown beneath the odds at a betting exchange.

The higher the liquidity the better, as it makes it easier to place your bets. The popularity of a betting exchange directly ties into the amount of liquidity in a market. The more popular the exchange is, the more punters there are waiting to place bets.

Quality of odds

Quality of odds is another aspect that you should consider when picking the best betting exchange. As with all betting, you should look to take advantage of the best odds possible as it means more profit on winning bets.

Carrying on from the point above, the odds at an exchange are directly affected by the number of punters placing bets. So the more punters there are placing bets, the higher value odds you’ll receive.

Whilst odds are generally fairly similar across the majority of markets, it’s worthwhile checking for the best value by using a process called line shopping.

Customer service

You should expect great customer service from the best betting exchanges. At some point you’re going to run into a few issues. Whether it’s a dispute over winnings or a questions to do with lay betting, you need to resolve any issues promptly so you can get back to placing your bets.

In this scenario, the more support options a betting exchange provide the better. FAQs, live chat and phone/email support are all features a quality betting exchange should offer. If required you should also be able to speak to helpful, friendly staff with little stress.

User experience

The user experience of a betting exchange is another important aspect to consider. The entire process from depositing funds into your account to placing lay bets should be easy to do and completely stress free. Markets and categories should be easy to find whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned pro.

With so many punters placing bets on the move these days, it’s also important that betting exchanges work well on various devices and platforms.

Reliability

Our final consideration when it comes to picking the best betting exchange is the reliability of the platform. It’s vital that you use reputable and trustworthy betting exchanges and only enter your personal details once you’re 100% satisfied.

You don’t want to place your bets only to find out they didn’t actually get accepted.

All the betting exchanges in our list use high-quality technology that is continually updated and maintained.

More about betting exchanges

Since their creation back in 1999, betting exchanges have had a major influence on the betting industry. They offer punters far more flexibility and value than traditional bookmakers. They allow you to trade bets like you would on the stock market and allow you to lock in a profit before an event has even started.

Betting exchanges have facilitated matched betting and are one of the key ingredients to making a risk free, tax free profit online.

History of betting exchanges

The first betting exchange, Betfair, was founded in May 1999 and completely changed how the betting industry functioned. Since then, there have been a number of competitors enter the marketplace: Betdaq, Smarkets and more recently Betconnect.

Betfair remains the biggest and most popular betting exchange but they are facing increased competition from the likes of Smarkets and Betconnect who are introducing innovative ideas.

Back and lay betting

At a betting exchange, you can back (buy) an outcome like you would at a traditional bookmaker or you can lay (sell) an outcome. Let’s check out this in more detail.

What is back betting?

Back betting is the most common and popular type of betting. This is the concept most bookmakers are built around. With a back bet, you are betting on an outcome to happen, Chelsea beating Leicester for example.

Let’s say you want to stake £20 at odds of 2/1 (3.0 in decimal format) on Chelsea to win.

If Chelsea did beat Leicester, you’d win £40 from your bet and you’d also get your stake of £20 back. Overall, the bookmaker will return £60. If you lost the bet, the bookmaker would keep your £20 stake:

Back Bet

Winning Bet:   £20 x 3.0 = £60

Losing Bet:   – £20

What is lay betting?

So what about lay betting? This is simply the opposite of back betting. You are betting that an outcome will not happen. Betting on Chelsea NOT to beat Leicester for example.

Let’s say you place a £20 lay bet at odds of 3.0 on Chelsea NOT to beat Leicester. If Chelsea don’t win, your return will be £60. If they do win, you’ll lose £40 as this is your liability. If the game ends in a draw, your lay bet would win.

Lay Bet

Winning Bet:   £20 x 3.0 = £60 

Losing Bet:   – £40

A common question when it comes to lay betting is why you’d lose £40 in the above example. Your probably thinking this is double my initial stake… In simple terms, the losing gambler pays the winnings to the successful gambler. Therefore in this example that is £40.

Placing bets at a betting exchange

Placing your bets at a betting exchange is pretty much the same as at a traditional bookmaker.

Simply find the market you’re looking for and click on either the back or lay market. The colour depends on which betting exchange you’re using. For more information check out the betting exchange reviews above.

If you’re happy with the odds, you can go ahead and enter your stake. If you want to create your own odds, you can change them accordingly and wait for someone to match your selection.

Once you’re happy with your bet, press confirm and you’re all done.

Note: If you’re placing a lay bet you’ll need to make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the liability (the potential loss in your exchange account).

With the online betting industry continuing to grow at unprecedented rates, more and more betting exchanges are popping up all the time.

Traditional bookmakers are also getting in on the action. For example, Ladbrokes now have their own betting exchange which trades alongside Betdaq, which they acquired in February 2013. However, I suggest you stick with the big players mentioned above for the time being.

Betting exchange controversy

Since the first betting exchange was created these platforms have received a lot of criticism from traditional betting companies, specifically Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill. They argue betting exchanges are corrupting sports betting as it’s much easier to ensure a horse will lose a given race than it is to ensure it will win for example.

Traditional bookmakers don’t want punters to be able to bet against an outcome as they’re losing customers. Their argument is based around their own commercial interest rather than for the good of the industry.

Make money with betting exchanges

As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to make a guaranteed profit using betting exchanges and bookmakers free bets.

The bookies are constantly offering promotions to entice punters to keep betting. There are hundreds of offers you can take advantage of on a daily basis and you can easily make up to £1000 each month with this method.

With the online betting industry continuing to grow at unprecedented rates, more and more betting exchanges are popping up all the time. Traditional bookmakers are also getting in on the action. For example, Ladbrokes now have their own betting exchange which trades alongside Betdaq, which they acquired in February 2013. However, I suggest you stick with the big players mentioned above for the time being.

Betting exchange controversy

Since the first betting exchange was created they’ve received much criticism from traditional betting companies, specifically Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill. They argue betting exchanges are corrupting sports betting as it’s much easier to ensure a horse will lose a given race than it is to ensure it will win for example.

However, you can see that this argument is solely revolving around the bookmakers. They don’t want people to be able to bet against an outcome as they’re losing customers. Their argument is based around their own commercial interest rather than for the good of the industry.

This has caused bookmakers to improve their services and implement new ideas to gain customers back. Concepts such as price boosts and cash out have all been created for this very reason.

Make money with betting exchanges

As you’ve probably learnt from reading this article so far, we can use betting exchanges to make a guaranteed profit from bookmakers free bets and promotions. We place our back bets at the bookmaker and our lay bets at the betting exchange.

The bookies are continually offering promotions to entice customers to keep betting. There are hundreds of offers we can take advantage of on a daily basis and you can easily make up to £1000 every month with this method.

Best betting exchanges

Whilst there aren’t hundreds of online betting exchanges to choose between, I still recommend you take your time and use the criteria discussed above in order to make your decision.

Having said that, I’m confident you’ll be happy with any of the betting exchanges listed above.