Betting exchanges are an increasingly popular way for people to have a bet on sports, and they work in a different way to using a bookmaker or Irish betting sites to place a wager. But with benefits such as better prices, it is clear to see why people like betting exchanges.
Getting started with betting exchanges can be a challenge for newcomers, though. It can be confusing to know where to start with placing wagers on a betting exchange. This is where we come in to help, with this complete guide to betting exchanges in Ireland.
Betting exchanges are an alternative way to place wagers on the big sporting action of the day.
Instead of a bookmaker, which offers punters a price on a range of markets, users bet against each other on a betting exchange.
Sites such as Betfair allow people to both bet on an event happening - and against it happening. This means there is a lot more flexibility to using betting exchanges compared to bookmakers. A good comparison is to think of betting exchanges in a similar way to internet auction sites.
On websites such as eBay, buyers and sellers are matched up for a range of types of product.
At a betting exchange, bettors are matched up in a similar way. Due to the lack of overheads associated with bookmakers, betting exchanges tend to offer better value to their customers.
But how does a betting exchange work? Let's take a look at their inner workings in more detail.
As we have touched on, betting exchanges allow sports fans to bet against each other. This is through a process called backing and laying, which we will come on to a bit later.
At a standard bookmaker, they set the odds of a certain event happening. It is then up to the player to decide whether or not they want to take that price.
But at a betting exchange, the process does not involve a bookmaker. Instead, players set the price and other users can make up their mind whether or not it represents good value.
Betting exchanges then take a cut - known as a commission - of each winning wager. This is how they make their money. The commission is still usually less than a bookmaker's margin.
After placing a bet on the betting exchange, it is also possible to effectively cash out through using the laying mechanism on such sites. So what does backing and laying actually mean?
Using betting exchanges involves understanding two key terms: backing and laying.
A back bet is to gamble on an event happening. For example, betting on Manchester United to win a game in the English Premier League would be a back bet.
But if you did not think United were going to win, you could opt to place a lay bet. This means the wager is a winner if the result is either a draw, or United lose.
To place a back bet on a betting exchange, another user must have agreed to lay the bet. This is how the betting exchange works in practice.
Some markets will have a lot more money in them than others. This makes it easier to place a back bet. On markets without a lot of interest, the matching process might take more time.
Users may opt to use a betting exchange to lock in profit from a back bet at a bookmaker. By laying the same outcome, it would be possible to guarantee winning cash whatever happens. Backing and laying bets on a betting exchange is also sometimes referred to as trading.
Betting exchanges cannot profit in the same way as bookmakers, so commission is what they use in order to make sure they can bank some cash.
Commission levels differ by a significant margin across the various betting exchanges that are available to use on the internet.
The commission is a cut of each winning wager and is usually set somewhere between zero and five per cent. Sometimes, power users of betting exchanges may need to pay a slightly higher commission level as a result of the number of bets they are placing on the platform.
There is no way to get out of paying the commission, with players simply needing to treat this figure as if it is the equivalent of the betting margin that is retained by traditional bookmakers.
As with using a traditional bookmaker, there are pros and cons of using a betting exchange. It is vital to take these into account when deciding whether or not to sign up to an exchange.
Pros of using a betting exchange include the fact that the betting odds available tend to be better. For those who are placing a lot of bets, even a small difference in price can be very important.
Other pros include the fact it is possible to lock in profit from other bets on the exchange. This is for more advanced bettors but is certainly a useful way to make the most of a betting exchange.
In-play bets on a betting exchange are also a solid route to profit for players who know what they are doing and have plenty of experience in this area.
However, there are some cons to take note of too. When laying a bet at large odds, the liability - the amount of money that could be lost - is likely to be very significant. As a result, laying big bets on the exchange should be treated as a betting method for serious players only.
Commission being charged on your winning wagers is a disadvantage too. It is important to keep the commission rate in mind when considering what moves to make on the exchange. On the flip side, there are no bookmaker margins to worry about, which might balance this out.
Anyone who is ready to start using a betting exchange should spend a bit of time researching some top tips, tricks and strategy for these sites if they hope to make a solid profit.
First up, there is nothing wrong with signing up to a number of different betting exchanges. In fact, this is likely to be an advantage and you can use the high-value free bet sign up offers. Just like with betting sites, having many options makes it easier to find the best possible price for a particular bet. Remember to factor in commission.
Most betting exchanges these days have a sportsbook attached, so this can provide an ideal opportunity for backing and later laying bets in order to lock in some guaranteed profit.
Keeping a close eye on how odds and prices is key to trading success on the exchange. Odds tend to move a lot faster on the exchange than at a traditional bookmaker. This means those who are plugged in and watching with a beady eye can spot opportunities to profit rapidly.
Key to success at the betting exchange is not really about predicting the outcome of a game. It is more about being able to accurately guess whether odds on an event will rise or fall. Markets tend to work in predictable ways - odds shorten when a lot of people back a particular wager.
Among the various advanced strategies that can be used on a betting strategy is a tactic known as dutching.
This involves covering a number of different outcomes, for example backing two or three of the top horses in a race. By doing this, players can lock in some profit - as long as one of their selections does win.
Another common betting exchange strategy is to back a favourite a few days before the game or race. The price will usually come down before it starts, giving a chance to lay it and lock in profit. This means money can be made regardless of whether the favourite wins or loses.
The aim of the game when trading is the same as playing the stock market. The goal is to buy low and sell high. Simply by backing and laying at the right time, it is possible to win money regardless of the outcome of a particular sporting event.
Most people who have success on a betting exchange opt to focus on one sport. By doing this, it is possible to build up a large knowledge bank that ensures it is easier to make profit.
Those who play several sports on the betting exchange will find it harder to develop this expertise, which could result in it becoming more of a challenge to bank cash in this manner.
Those who want to try using a betting exchange have a good amount of choice available although not all are available in Ireland:
Next up, let's take a look at each of those betting exchanges in more detail.
The biggest betting exchange in the world, the Betfair Exchange is synonymous with this type of betting.
A huge range of sports and markets makes Betfair arguably the best place for trading.
Betfair also has a sportsbook attached, which is ideal for those who want the best of both worlds when they are browsing for winning wagers ahead of the big game.
Founded by Andrew Black and Edward Wray in 2000, Betfair is the market leader in the world of betting exchanges
The company went through a merger with Paddy Power in 2016 that made Betfair even more powerful - this is the place to start for those who are new to betting exchange play.
Claiming to be the leading online betting site in Asia, Dafabet's creation of its own exchange is likely to be a popular move with sports fans across Asia.
Like a lot of betting companies from Asia, Dafabet has used sports sponsorships in order to increase its public presence.
While the firm has sponsored snooker events, it is probably best known for linking up with major football clubs including Sunderland and Celtic.
Dafabet's exchange was launched in April 2018 and offers a variety of sports including cricket, football and horse racing, as well as basketball and tennis.
A good thing to point out here is that Dafabet's exchange is also fully optimised for mobile. This means it is possible to check all of the latest odds while on the move through the betting app on your smartphone.
Usually referred to as the second biggest betting exchange in the world - behind Betfair - Betdaq is another site of interest for those looking to get into trading.
One of the reasons a lot of people opt to use Betdaq over Betfair is that the site offers a lower rate of commission on the exchange.
While Betfair charges a standard commission rate of five per cent, this drops to just two per cent at Betdaq. While it might not seem a big difference, those who use betting exchanges a lot will see a significant amount of extra profit if they are able to use a site with a lower commission.
The last betting exchange we have picked out here is 1xbet, which is another good option for players from Ireland.
While there is a low rate of commission at the 1xbet betting exchange, the lack of sports and markets compared to some of the other sites is a considerable downside. As a result, there might be better picks out there than the 1xbet betting exchange.