Betting Blog

Betfair Exchange: What is the Betfair Exchange?

In the first of our 10 part educational series on how to use the Betfair Exchange, we answer the burning question on everybody’s mind:

What exactly is the Betfair Exchange?

If you’ve ever stumbled across the Betfair Exchange, the chances are that you saw its series of fluctuating decimal odds and slowly backed away, returning to the traditional, simpler looking bookmaker model.

However, by doing that you’re missing out on some great opportunities that only a betting exchange can offer.

What is the Betfair Exchange?

To put it in the simplest terms possible, it’s a place where you can bet against other bettors rather than against the bookmakers.

You can offer odds or request odds on the platform and wait for them to be taken by other users of the Betfair Exchange, basically allowing you to take on the role of bookmaker against other punters.

And the Betfair Exchange is the biggest and most dominant platform in this market, and that makes a huge difference for a betting exchange. The huge amount of customers means it has the most money in the market, which makes it a lot easier to get your markets and bets matched than on smaller platforms.

It’s been around since June 2000 and has quietly revolutionised the online betting scene through the years. Many of the much-loved features on betting sites simply wouldn’t exist without the Betfair Exchange. For example, the ability to offer prices while an event was being played on the Exchange led to bookies offering in-play betting, and this in turn led to being able to cash-out your bets before they settled.

But to act like a bookie, you first need to be able to take the other side of a bet…

Backing and Laying

That’s where backing and laying come into play.

When using traditional bookmakers, our only option is to Back the bet we want to take. So when we go to the bookies and bet on Manchester City to beat Liverpool, we’re backing that bet. The bookmakers, taking the other side of your pick, are laying the bet.

Laying is simply betting on something not happening. That’s all there is to it!

There are some other aspects of backing and laying though, and we discuss all of those in our article on lay betting.

Playing the bookmaker is far from the only reason to use the Betfair Exchange. You can also use it to find better odds, trade on sports inplay, start matched betting or arb bets for a guaranteed profit, all of which will be discussed in this series of articles.

More in this series
Back and Lay Betting Explained
Advantages of Using the Exchange
Placing a Back Bet on the Exchange
Placing a Lay Bet on the Exchange
How to Set Your Own Odds and Why You Might Want To

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