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What Is A Betting Exchange?

If you are venturing into the world of matched betting, the one term you have likely stumbled across is betting exchange. Although these play integral roles in the world of matched betting, if you are a newcomer, you may likely be unfamiliar with them. However, not to worry, as we will be breaking down what exactly a betting exchange is, how they work, what they encompass and the best betting exchanges out there.

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The Definition Of A Betting Exchange

Put in the most straightforward of terms, a betting exchange is a platform in which bettors can bet against one another as opposed to betting against the bookmaker as they would traditionally. Betting exchanges allow bettors to both back and lay bets, both terms we will be directing in the following section, with these options being applicable to a whole plethora of sports events such as horse racing, football, basketball, and so many others. Using a betting exchange can essentially provide a peer-to-peer betting experience in which odds and stakes are determined by users. Overall, this can create a more dynamic marketplace.

How Does A Betting Exchange Work?

Within a betting exchange, there are a couple of key terms you should first familiarise yourself with, with two of the main ones having already been mentioned. Back bets are the more traditional types of bets, in which users place stakes on what they believe will occur during an event. For instance, this could relate to a certain sports team winning or a specific horse finishing within a certain number of places during a race.

On the other hand, lay bets are rather the opposite of back bets, with these essentially betting against the outcome of an event. These offer their own unique odds different to that of back bets and are generally placed on a betting exchange as opposed to a bookmaker. For example, these could involve placing stakes on a team not to win a match or a specific horse to finish outside a certain number of places. These types of bets are especially prevalent in the matched betting strategy, one of the best side hustles used to make money online in recent years.

When using a betting exchange, this matches both the back and lay bets wagered by users. Should there be a match between a backer and a layer with the same odds and stakes, the bet will be accepted. The betting exchange in question will then hold any wagered stakes until the event’s outcome has concluded. Betting exchanges, however, do typically charge a commission in regard to any net winnings, with this being the key way in which they generate their own revenue. However, to find out how you could potentially avoid this commission, continue reading!

History Of Betting Exchanges

Following their conception, betting exchanges revolutionised the betting world due to the new and untouched peer-to-peer betting model. At first, this was pioneered by Betfair, with their exchange being launched at the turn of the millennia in 2000. Due to their success, many other betting exchanges emerged, with Smarkets and Matchbook being two of the most notable. Over the years, these platforms have continued to grow in overall popularity, with now there being more markets than ever before available on these betting chances that range from sports all the way to things like entertainment and even politics in some cases.

What Are The Best Betting Exchanges? 

Nowadays, several betting exchanges are now available to users, each with its own set of features and advantages. Below, we will be breaking down the best betting exchanges you could potentially utilise for your matched betting endeavours.


As we mentioned earlier, Smarkets is one of the most popular betting exchanges out there. They are especially well known for their competitive commission rates in the industry, which are often lower than alternative options. The overall user interface is easy to navigate on this betting exchange, and the overall initiative design has gained the site many plaudits over the years. Not only this, but Smarkets also offers a variety of sports markets and non-sporting markets users could potentially place back and lay bets on.

Naturally, the commission for Smarkets is set at 2%; however, this is where we here at OddsMonkey can come in to help. If you are a premium member of Odds Monkey, the commission for Smarkets users will actually be 0%,  meaning no commission is taken from any of your back or lay bets. As matched betting generally works around fine margins, this Smarkets 0% commission can be a huge benefit as no additional fees will be taken from any of your potential returns.

Even if you are not an OddsMonkey member, there is still a way in which you could claim 0% on Smarkets. This can be done by heading over to their site and clicking ‘Claim Bonus’, completing the registration form whilst making sure your details are correct. In the Promotion Code box enter ‘COMMFREE’ to get the Smarkets current new customer promotion.


As we have already mentioned, Betfair’s exchange is often regarded as the pioneer of betting exchanges due to it being the first of its kind over two decades ago. Like Smarkets, Betfair offers an expansive range of markets, and overall, the company has a strong presence within the sports betting world. Betfair also has its own designated betting exchange app, something which can also be applied to Smarkets.


Finally, Matchbook is another of the most reputable betting exchanges out there. Like the other two we have already discussed, Matchbook prioritises a straightforward experience for its users, with it also providing an easy-to-navigate site and a plethora of betting markets. Although it is not as popular as the other two, it still presents its own benefits, which somewhat rival the alternative options.

Matched Betting Using Betting Exchanges

To conclude, betting exchanges present a number of unique opportunities to betters as a whole, especially those involved in matched betting. If the latter is particularly your forte, then we here at OddsMonkey are your specialists when it comes to this betting strategy.

Sign up for our free trial today, and you could potentially check out the range of matched betting calculators and sports betting guides, which could aid you in your overall experience and help you make more informed decisions.

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About the author:

James OddsMonkey

James OddsMonkey

James' background in IT support and matched betting knowledge is how he's ended up at OddsMonkey updating offer, answering tickets and generally being super helpful.

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