Betting Exchanges Explained

For many years, those of us who had used betting shops in the physical world only had to grasp the concept of bookmakers. The bookies set the odds, we chose whether or not to accept them and hopefully, we would make a tidy profit.

Even when the rise in internet gaming began to take hold from the late 1990’s onwards, this process dominated but gradually, and thanks largely to the arrival of Betfair, we had to get used to a new phenomenon – the Betting Exchange.

Understanding the Concept

betting exchangeThere is a misguided notion that using an exchange is as complicated as getting your head around the intricacies of the financial markets that trade on the stock exchange.

The reality is a little different however, and in fact, an exchange harks back to the early and very simple days of gambling.

I Bet You Lose

History shows us that the very first bets were essentially gentleman’s agreements – a wager between two individual parties. One would say, ‘I bet this horse will win’ and his counterpart would say ‘I will take that bet’ – effectively backing it to lose.

A betting exchange takes that agreement and brings it into the digital age. Essentially, one customer of the site will set the odds and decide how much money they can accept as a bet. The second account holder then comes along, sees that an offer has been made and they decide whether or not to accept those terms.

Back or Lay

Just as those early wagers allowed you to bet on a win or a loss, the modern day betting exchanges operate in exactly the same way. Therefore, you can chose to take a ‘lay’ bet which means that you’re betting on a horse, football team or individual player to lose.

With two clear options available, it is possible to use a betting exchange to take advantage of an arbitrage bet and guarantee that you can make a profit. For example, you can back a horse to win at 10/1 and then lay it to lose at 6/1 and as long as you calculate your stakes correctly, you can ensure that you walk away with a return no matter what happens.

Markets Available

The range of markets depends on the interest in a particular event and whether any customer from the exchange wants to get involved. Taking football as an example and you should guarantee to see an available result market no matter how big or small the game might be.

Side betting might not be so widespread however but for the big Premiership and international matches, you should expect to see a good selection of side markets including correct score, team goals and individual goal scorer markets. However, in the smaller leagues across the World there may not be quite so many options.
The betting exchange is certainly nothing to fear and it really is very easy to understand. The only difference is that you are betting with another person rather than the company themselves.

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