Betting Exchanges: What Are They And How Do They Work?

betting exchanges how do they work

It’s predicted that the overall spend on sports betting every year is around $70 billion worldwide. Such a substantial figure is a clear sign that sports betting is not only popular but a highly profitable market. For bettors, it gives the opportunity to win a bit of cash from a carefully-calculated bet and for bookmakers, the chance to make money from bettors. However, betting exchanges have been rising in popularity as of late, giving bettors the chance to go against one another and match bets, rather than betting against the bookmaker directly.

Here, we’re taking a closer look at just what betting exchanges are and how they work.

how do betting exchanges differ from bookmakers?

Simply put, betting exchanges are websites that offer bettors the opportunity to place bets against one another. Despite working in similar ways to a standard bookmaker in terms of deposits, withdrawals and the range of sports they have available to bet upon, placing wagers on any one outcome is a little different. Generally, you’ll need to submit a bet or ticket listing the amount you wish to wager, the odds and the spread or total.

When this bet is initially placed, it will be listed as unmatched. This is because one of your peers will need to accept the wager  and go against it, causing the bet to become a matched one. Once the wager has been accepted, you’ll be unable to cancel the bet or alter it in any way, so it’s important that bettors are careful about what they are wagering before submitting the ticket. While the ticket is unmatched, however, you can usually cancel it. Similarly, if the bet is never matched, you’ll be refunded.

Generally, betting on an exchange works out more profitable for the player, but it’s important to remember that there is still a commission that will be charged in most cases. Some exchanges have better rates than others, but typically this is around 0.5-1% of the overall bet. Some exchanges may also only charge the winning bettor, though be careful to read any terms and conditions, as some exchanges will charge all who place and match bets.

what kind of bets can you place?

Unlike bookmakers, betting exchanges give you the opportunity to not only bet on winning outcomes, but also on losses. These are known as Win and ​​​​Lay bets:


A win bet is the most common kind of bet available and is the core betting type when utilising bookmakers. This is essentially any bet placed to ‘back’ an outcome, such as a certain party to win a match or a race, a final score and similar. It’s likely that you’ve seen these kinds of bets based off of odds, but while sportsbooks typically put these together themselves for bettors to wager against, a betting exchange sees the odds created by a bettor willing to go against your wager on a winner.


While bookmakers will often only give you the chance to bet on a winning outcome, an exchange gives you the opportunity to place a bet that a certain outcome won’t happen. For example, if you’re sure that the favourite won’t win, you can place a bet on that outcome and someone can bet against you depending on the wager you place. The odds for a lay bet are backwards, however, and hold a higher risk at having to pay out larger amounts than you would make.

Betting exchanges offer a unique way for punters to place the bets that they want to place without having to adhere to the odds and regulations of traditional bookmakers. By going up against peers, you reduce how much input a sportsbook may have on your bet and the result, with the same ease of withdrawal and deposit. For those wanting anonymous, simple and controlled betting experiences, betting exchanges can offer exactly that.