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Betting Exchanges

If you're considering betting with a betting exchange, there's really only one place to open an account - at Betfair.

Betfair revolutionised the whole industry over in the UK when it released it's exchange product in 2000. It's expansion has been epic, to the point where it is now the largest online betting company in the United Kingdom. The good news is Betfair is also available in Australia!

What's all the fuss about?

To put it simply, better odds. That's the main advantage of betting on an exchange, over the traditional method of betting with a corporate bookmaker.

You won't be winning from the actual company, you'll be betting against other punters who've laid bets (basically backing to lose). You'll then take their odds and stake, and get paid out from their money. Betfair takes a small commission on every bet.


Another major advantage is that Betfair want you to win. With the larger corporate bookmakers, you're taking money directly out of their pockets when you win. This can lead to betting accounts being restricted, or even closed down completely. Betfair won't do that, the more you bet (and win), the more they make.

Understanding Betfair


Let's take a look at an example market. Below is a screenshot from a tennis match, Marin Cilic v Kei Nishikori (US Open, 2018).

The figures in the middle, in blue and pink, are the important ones. If you're just interested in backing a selection, look at the number in the blue box for that player. In this case, Cilic can be backed at $1.65, and Nishikori $2.50.

Betfair Tennis Screenshot

One of the first things to notice with this, is the overround (book percentage). It's a pretty epic 100.6%. Not something you'll ever see with a corporate bookmaker, as they are more likely to operate at 110%+.

Betfair Bet Slip

Placing a bet on either outcome is as simple as with a normal bookmaker - simply click the odds and it will be added to your bet slip.

You'll notice there is a label for your liability on this bet. If you're backing a selection, that's just the amount of your stake. If you're laying a selection, it will be slightly different.

The alternative that Betfair offers is to lay, rather than back. This means you're essentially betting on an outcome not to happen.

This is best explained with a market containing more than two selections. Let's take a look at the market for AFL Premiers.


When you're laying on Betfair, you're betting on that outcome not to happen. You'll need someone else who thinks it will happen, to take your bet. Once they do, it is known as "matched" - meaning your bet is on.

Betfair AFL Premiers Market

So, you're not a fan of Richmond this year, and don't think they will go back to back. Simply click the pink odds this time, to lay the selection.

Betfair lay Richmond AFL Premier

Now your liability for a $100 stake will be $150. This is because you'll have to pay out the person who matches your bet. Imagine they bet $100 for Richmond to win at 2.50 - they would get $150 profit if it's a winner.

The best way to think of it is, when you're laying, the stake you input is the amount you will win. The amount you could lose is then calculated according the the odds.

Should your bet win, you'll get paid of $250 total, so $100 profit. Betfair shows all of these numbers before you place a bet, so you know exactly how much your outlay is and how much you can win.

Give Betfair a Try

Betfair Informational Videos

Betfair.com.au's Hub section contains tons of very useful information including videos. Below are a couple of introductory videos offering a good explanation on how Betfair works.