Betfair Sports Exchange Review

Betfair Sports Exchange
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Betfair was a pioneer in developing the idea of an online sports betting exchange – cutting out the bookmaker and making it possible for punter-to-punter bets on a massive scale. Using a betting exchange requires learning some new concepts, because it’s a little different than regular betting with bookmakers. It doesn’t take too much learning just to make simple bets, but there are also more advanced betting options available to smart punters.

For a start you should understand that individual privacy is maintained with all bets – nobody sees any details of the other betters, or even the details of individual bets. Instead, the bets for each event are combined into a single ‘pool’ based on the odds that the punter has chosen. For example if 2 people are betting £10 on the outcome of an event at 1/3 then you’ll see a combined pool of £20 available to bet against.

This brings us to the 2 primary terms of a betting exchange : backing and laying. To Back a selection is just like a regular bet with a bookmaker, it just means that the punter is betting that the selection (team/horse/etc.) will win. Laying is the opposite, this is the position that bookmakers usually take : to Lay a bet means you believe the selection will NOT win. In this way the bets of backers and the bets of layers are ‘matched’ against each other automatically by the Betfair Exchange system.

Since no bookmaker is involved, the odds being offered are almost always better than you’d traditionally receive – usually 20-40% better, but in some cases you could even see odds 200% better than at a bookmaker – that’s the beauty of punter-to-punter betting. Of course Betfair takes something in return for offering this service, and this is usually a commission of 5% of net winnings. That means there’s only a commission if you win, there’s no fee if you lose the bet, and the winner will usually find the final take-home amount to be substantially more than at a regular bookmaker even taking into account Betfair’s minor commission fee. Frequent betters can take advantage of discounts on the commission rate, down to 2%.

Of course there is one obvious disadvantage of a betting exchange in comparison to a regular bookmaker – since an exchange is punter-to-punter you may not find someone to take the opposite side of every bet, in which case your bet is ‘unmatched’ and can be changed if you wish, or cancelled and refunded to your account at any time. On popular events there will be plenty of ‘liquidity’, in other words a lot of cash both backing and laying at a range of odds, but on less popular events you may still need the services of a traditional bookmaker, especially if you want to put up a big stake.

Betfair Exchange has a minimum stake of £2 on most bets. You can also make bets over the phone with a minimum stake of £50. Usually you’ll only see odds on the site being stated in Decimal style – Decimal odds are widely used throughout Europe and are quite different than the regular Fractional odds that are commonly used by traditional UK bookmakers. Fortunately it doesn’t take long to figure out Decimal odds and you’ll find that they’re actually easier to calculate and more practical to use than Fractional odds. Betfair have a good explanation on their site about the different odds types, as well as an odds chart and calculator so you can instantly see the difference. In the rare case that you don’t see a selection or market that you want to bet on, you can suggest it to the Betfair team and where possible they will add it to the betting options.

Loyalty Program : ‘Betfair Points’ are earned with every bet on every market. The main advantage of these ‘Betfair Points’ is that they lower your commission rates on winning bets.

Sports : Of course you’ll find virtually every football match covered at Betfair Exchange, not to mention tennis matches, cricket, golf, and greyhound racing… That’s just for starters, we’d be surprised if you don’t find every other sport you’re interested in – Formula 1, rugby, boxing and basketball are other popular markets, but you’ll find every other sport too, even including more unusual choices like chess and fishing championships, as well as the ability to bet on special events like politics, Big Brother and X Factor…

Popular Markets : Betfair Exchange has a great feature on their site called ‘Where is the Money’. This allows punters to quickly see all the most popular upcoming events at a glance, including the total cash amount of matched bets (i.e. bets already matched between backers and layers) and the total cash amount of unmatched bets which are awaiting punters to take the opposite side. On big events you’ll see millions of ££’s of bets being matched with plenty of opportunities to stake your own bets.

Horse Racing : Apart from a wide range of racing betting options, you can also make Tote bets, and create your own custom multiple bets for ‘accumulator’ bonuses. The race details give quick access to see information about each horse’s last run and recent form, and a nice touch is the jockey’s jackets – great if you’re going to be watching the event. Betfair’s SP (Starting Price) system is revolutionary in that it’s not based on profit like the SP provided by regular bookmakers, instead it’s calculated based on regular punter’s backing and laying so it’s completely fair and realistic. You’ll also want to check out Timeform, this is Betfair’s free horse racing form service where you’ll find detailed information about each race, as well as results, analysis, news and tips. You’ve never seen this much detailed information and statistics freely available and quickly accessible, covering both horses and courses, as well as jockeys and trainers. You can even download colour race cards for quick reference. There’s also live updates so you can check on non-runners and jockey weight changes, and Timeform Radio gives you audio commentary and analysis at no cost.

Tradefair : The regular Betfair Exchange does have a section for betting on financial markets like FTSE, Wall St and UK interest rate movements, but they’ve also developed a full Financial section called Tradefair that offers many advanced spread betting functions. With fixed bets available every 20 minutes during market hours, spread betting on the financial markets with Tradefair is an exciting and profitable opportunity for those with knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. Betfair even have an offer that gives Tradefair customers a free £100 bonus after placing 5 bets. See the Tradefair site for full details about the spread betting system available.

Live Betting : In-Play options are now available for many events, in fact you can now place a bet after the event begins for well over 1000 events a month at Betfair.

Live Video : Betfair offers live streaming of many events at no cost, including major tennis and football events as well as most horseracing, and some snooker, darts and basketball. It’s also possible to watch more than one live video at a time, so long as your internet connection is fast enough. The live video service is free to all punters so long as you have placed a minimum bet on the day of the event (eg. for horseracing the minimum is £2, and tote bets don’t count). Also note that sometimes restrictions may apply due to broadcasters having exclusive rights, eg. English Championship matches can’t be watched online from within the UK.

Mobile : Betfair Sports Exchange has developed a very functional ability to place bets right on your mobile phone. It’s quick and easy to get the special (free) software on your phone, then you have all the regular benefits of Betfair including in-play betting, all from the convenience of your mobile. Betfair have added some handy features, for example if you tend to bet the same amount then you can set a ‘usual bet’ amount that is automatically used (of course you can also change it to any other amount at any time) which helps to speed up the mobile betting process. You can also change the text size of all the info, which is very useful so you can get the best fit for your phone’s screen. Apart from checking all available betting markets, you can also conveniently bookmark your favourite markets for quick access. You can also check your existing bets and update or cancel unmatched bets, and on many events you can view live scores as the game progresses.

To get ready for using the mobile software, you’ll find full instructions on the Betfair Mobile site including a helpful visual guide showing how to place a mobile bet. Betfair Mobile is compatible with virtually all modern phones, and there’s an option to check your phone compatibility on the Betfair Mobile site – and if your phone isn’t compatible with the software then you can still access a ‘Lite’ version of the regular Betfair website through your phone’s browser (this includes iPhones and Android phones, whereas newer Blackberry phones can use the software). Betfair Mobile uses your regular Betfair account, and there are no additional costs for using the mobile service, so you just need to check your phone network’s tariff for data transfer prices.

Betfair is a very reliable company, having earned the trust of over 2,000,000 clients, and receiving 2 exclusive Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

24 hour support is available by telephone or email.

: Yes, Site Offers In-Play Live Betting
: Operating license issued by the UK Gambling Commission