Betfair Exchange is by far the biggest betting exchange online. Launching back in 2000, they have attracted millions of customers and have become the most well known betting exchange for matched bettors, traders and punters. However, although they are the biggest and most well-known betting exchange, Betfair does have some downsides which may cause users to look to alternative betting exchanges to better suit their needs.
why choose betfair exchange?
As mentioned above, Betfair Exchange is the biggest betting exchange online and are an established and trustworthy brand. One of the advantages of having so many customers is that there is generally high liquidity in Betfairs available markets. For matched bettors, this means that there is a greater chance of having your bets fully matched even for less popular events or markets.
Another advantage is the number of markets Betfair exchange offers. Again, as there are so many users looking to bet on various markets, you will generally find more markets available on Betfair Exchange compared to some of the alternative betting exchanges.
why not to choose betfair exchange
The biggest reason most people look for alternatives to Betfair Exchange is their high commission rates. Betfair Exchange charges customers 5% on winning bets compared to some other exchanges charging as little as 2%. This may not seem like much when you look at the difference inprofit from a single winning bet but most matched bettors place a number of lay bets each day and those little differences can add up to a big difference over the course of a month or year. As matched bettors, we're always looking for ways to increase our profits and if we can pay less commission elsewhere, why choose to use an exchange where we return less profit?
Alternatives to Betfair Exchange
Thankfully, people who are either unable to use Betfair Exchange for one reason or another or who would simply prefer to use a different betting exchange due to the high commission charges at Betfair, do have alternatives. A number of other betting exchanges have emerged since the launch of Betfair Exchange and below is a selection to consider.
Smarkets is a popular choice among matched bettors as an alternative to Betfair Exchange and they offer a few good reasons to choose them over other betting exchanges. Smarkets charge just 2% on winning bets compared to Betfairs 5% meaning users can save a considerable amount of money in fees over time.
For example, say you were placing a £20 qualifying bet at odds of 3/1. Your qualifying loss on Betfair Exchange would be £0.76. However, if you used Smarkets, your qualifying loss would only be £0.30, saving you £0.46. You then place your £20 free bet at odds of 5/1, giving you a profit of £15.96 if using Betfair but a profit of £16.40 if using Smarkets. Therefore, you would make a total of £0.90 extra profits from this one offer by using Smarkets over Betfair Exchange. If you did 5 offers per day, you could make an additional £27 per month or £328.50 per year!
Since launching in 2004, Matchbook have gained popularity and are an excellent alternative to Betfair Exchange. Unlike Betfair and Smarkets who only charge commission on winning bets, Matchbook commission is applicable to both winning and losing bets. However, their standard commission rate is lower at 1.5% which reduces even further to 0.75% if you post the offer yourself. Their commission structure can make things a little more complicated when determining which exchange to use but generally, they will work out better value if the odds are the same.
Matchbook have partnered with a number of matched betting services such as MatchedBets.com in the past to offer matched bettors special rates on commission. For example, members of MatchedBets.com could take advantage of 0% commission across all bets throughout the year which is an excellent deal. They also occasionally run similar promotions for new members signing up direct and these offers are worth keeping an eye out for as they can increase your profits significantly.
The number of markets offered and the liquidity in the markets aren't as fruitful as those on Betfair Exchange but for the majority of big events and leagues, users should have no problem getting their bets matched.
Betdaq launched around the same time as Betfair in 2000 and although they are a popular betting exchange, they haven't been able to reach the levels of customers Betfair have. However, as such, to increase the number of customers through their doors, they offer a lower commission rate at 2% which is applicable only to winning bets. Their commission rates are in-line which that of Smarkets and so they are definitely another exchange to consider when looking for Betfair alternatives.
Similar to Smarkets & Matchbook, the liquidity on Betdaq isn't as much as available on Betfair but the majority of bets for major events should have no trouble getting matched. Betdaq also run a number of promotions including cashback on all commission for the first month after registering up to £1,000 which may appeal to high-volume bettors & traders.
To summarise, there are pros and cons of each betting exchange and as such, there is no reason to be tried to just one. Betfair is generally the best choice in terms of available markets and liquidity for placing your bets although their high commission fees put people off. Therefore, it is advised that every matched bettor has accounts at as many betting exchanges as possible. By doing so,not only will you have a greater choice of odds, markets and liquidity, but you'll also be able to take advantage of the range of new customer offers the exchanges offer.
Putting the commission fees aside, you will often find differences in available odds between betting exchanges and so you should determine which betting exchange is the best one to used based on this along with commission rates. A matched betting calculator takes the back odds, lay odds and commission rates into account when calculating the potential profit and so determining which betting exchange to use should be made on a case-by-case basis.