What is a Betting Exchange?

A betting exchange is an online platform that lets its members bet against each other rather than using a bookmaker.

Unlike betting with a bookmaker, you can use a betting exchange to bet against an event happening.

This is called Lay betting and is where you take the opposite position of another member on the betting exchange.

For example, If one exchange member thinks Man City will win the Premier League in 21/22, they can request odds of say 3.10 on the betting exchange.

Then another exchange member who thinks Man City won’t win the league can take the other side of the bet and lay Man City to win the Premier League at odds of 3.10.

What is a Betting Exchange?

How do Betting Exchanges make Money?

In contrast to bookmakers, betting exchanges make their money from the commission they charge to exchange members who place back and lay bets on their platform.

As the betting exchange makes a profit from charging a commission on both sides of the transaction, they don’t care which member actually wins the bet as they make the same commission regardless of the result.

What are the Benefits of using a Betting Exchange?

  1. The most obvious advantage of using a betting exchange is that you can lay selections i.e. bet that an outcome won’t happen. Although you can get a similar result by dutching selections at multiple bookmakers, it is much easier to lay a bet on a betting exchange.
  2. Unlike bookmakers, betting exchanges do not limit winners as they make their money from the commission they charge members for bets placed on their platform.
  3. Odds at the betting exchange are generally higher than you will be able to get at a bookmaker
  4. If you want to cash out your bet on the betting exchange, you will generally get much better value than if you cashed out at a bookmaker.
  5. Betting Exchanges also allow you lay Accumulator Bets which you can’t easily do using bookmaker accounts.

Betting Exchanges available in Ireland and the UK

The main betting exchanges for matched bettors in Ireland and the UK are Betfair, Smarkets, Matchbook and Betdaq.


Betfair is by far the biggest betting exchange in Ireland and the UK which means they have the best liquidity when compared to other betting exchanges.

Liquidity used to be much worse at other betting exchanges but in recent years they have closed the gap between themselves and Betfair.

In my opinion, Betfair has the most user friendly interface on the market and is the best betting exchange to use if you are new to betting exchanges and matched betting as you will find it easier to get your bets matched at good odds at Betfair.

Betfair charges its members a commission that ranges from 2% to 8% on their bets. Most matched bettors go with the 2% commission so that they can minimise the amount of commissions they have to pay.

Betfair is currently offering Irish and UK customers a risk free €/£20 exchange bet for new customers opening an exchange account with them using the promo code VAL225.

Click here to check out our step by step guide to setting up a Betfair account.


Smarkets is a very popular betting exchange with matched bettors as the big three matched betting sites all have a Smarkets zero per cent commission deal for their members.

Depending on the amount you stake each month, this can build up to a big saving in commissions.

If you aren’t a member of Profit Accumulator, Profit Maximiser or Odds Monkey, then you will pay a 2% commission on your bets.

Smarkets have a useful feature that allows you to lay any ACCA of your choice.

This feature is currently not available at Betfair so the Smarkets feature can be a big help when you are laying ACCA boosts that are regularly offered by the likes of Paddy Power, Sky Bet and William Hill.

Click here to check out our step by step guide to setting up a Smarkets account.

Smarkets is currently offering Irish and UK customers a €/£10 welcome bonus, where they will send back the first €/£10 you lose on your exchange account.


The main reason I use Matchbook is that they have an enhanced specials section that lets you easily lay accumulator offers that are offered by the major bookmakers.

Click here to check out our step by step guide to setting up a Matchbook account.

New matchbook customers can benefit from 0% commission for the first 30 days when they sign up for an account and use the bonus code COMMFREE.


Betdaq is another betting exchange that you can use as an alternative to Betfair.

They charge their members a competitive 2% commission rate and have a wide range of markets that you can bet on.

Betdaq also regularly have a deal where no commission is charged on bets that are placed on a particular Saturday.

Click here to check out our step by step guide to setting up a Betdaq account as Betdaq is currently offering new customers €/£10 in free bets when they deposit and bet €/£10 within 14 days of opening an account with them.

What is the Best Betting Exchange for Matched Bettors?

In terms of which betting exchange you should use for your matched betting, the answer is you should use a combination of the four betting exchanges detailed above.

From my own experience, you will probably find that you use Betfair and Smarkets for the majority of your matched betting but there will be times when you will get better odds at Matchbook or Betdaq.