Betfair Exchange: Advantages of Using the Exchange

Betfair Exchange: Advantages of Using the Exchange
James Boyle
Monday 16th September 2019

By now we all know what the Betfair Exchange is, so it’s time to move on to discussing the pros of using it over the traditional bookmaker setups that we’re all used to dealing with on a daily basis.

Why do punters forego the comfort of their usual bookmaker in exchange for a different way of betting?

There are actually numerous positives to choosing the Betfair Exchange over one of the online books.

Advantages of the Betfair Exchange

Lay Betting

We have discussed what lay betting is in our previous article, but it’s worth noting again. Laying is one of the biggest advantages of using the Betfair Exchange and opens up a world of possibilities.

Not only can us punters use it to bet against an outcome happening pre-race, but we can also use it as a form of cashout and partial cashout to either lock a profit or minimise losses.

Improved Odds

It’s a bookie’s modus operandi to try and offer bettors unfavourable prices to bet on in order to assure a profit for their business. Fortunately for us, the Betfair Exchange doesn’t rely on that model.

On the Betfair Exchange, other users act as bookmakers. The odds on offer on the Exchange are indeed often superior to those with the bookies, which means more profit for us when we back winners!

Locking in a Profit

The majority of online bookmakers offer the cash-out option, but on the Betfair Exchange you can take cashing out to a more advanced level.

Think about it: When you’re cashing out with a bookmaker, what you’re doing is laying the outcome of your initial back bet to cash your profit or loss out. Now think about the fact that on the Betfair Exchange, you can lay whenever you want for however much the market allows.

That takes cashing out to a whole new level. For example, say you back Enable to win the Arc at 4.0 (3/1) a few days before the race. An hour beforehand, there’s torrential rain you don’t think will suit her but other punters don’t agree and she has already shortened down to 2.50 (6/4), odds at which you can lay and effectively cash out your bet for a profit before the stalls have opened!

You can do this as many times as you want, making locking in a profit regardless of the result a viable approach to betting success.

Neutral Ground

Fancy bookmaker adverts aren’t fooling anybody. They don’t want us to win money off them – that goes against their complete business model. As such, it always seems like we’re fighting to try and extract any shred of value.

The Betfair Exchange, however, doesn’t care whether we win or lose. Because we’re pitting our money against other users there will always be a winner and a loser, so Betfair get commission regardless.

The fact that you’re up against other bettors just makes the whole process a fairer experience. You’re not fighting against the endless funds and professional algorithms of the bookies. It’s just you and the other users on the neutral ground of the Betfair Exchange.

Points to Remember


We’ve already discussed the fact that Betfair don’t care whether we win or lose on the Exchange, and the reason they don’t care is actually down to the biggest disadvantage of the platform: Commission.

Betfair take a 5% commission on all winning bets on the Exchange, and over time that has the potential to eat into your profits.

Reliant on Liquidity

With the Betfair Exchange you need another bettor on the other side of the bet willing to match your money. Generally, this isn’t a problem at all. There are literally millions of pounds matched on big sporting events, so liquidity is never an issue there, any many horse races can have sizable amounts matched on them throughout the day..

That being said, some of the lower classes of racing have low liquidity making it difficult to get your full stake on at the time you might want to strike it but in the hour leading up to those, action usually picks up as more and more bettors become involved in the market.

More in this series:

What is the Betfair Exchange?
Back and Lay Betting Explained
Placing a Back Bet on the Exchange

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