A Complete Review of Betfair Ireland
With millions of customers, Betfair is one of the biggest betting companies in the world.
Betfair even has a headquarters in Ireland - it is based in Clonskeagh in Dublin - which makes the site a particularly popular choice with Irish sports fans who want to have a bet.
Previously just a betting exchange when it was first set up, Betfair now has its own sportsbook as well as offering a range of other games such as bingo, poker and live casino options.
For those considering joining, this is our complete review of Betfair for players from Ireland.
Betfair: A Brief History
It was in June 2000 when Betfair was founded, so the company has more than 20 years of experience in the online gambling industry, making it somewhat of a veteran of the sector.
Andrew Black and Edward Wray set up the company and just a couple of years later the duo were sharing the Ernst & Young emerging entrepreneur of the year award due to their success.
Betfair was a hit from the start, giving players a chance to get more value out of their wagers by betting against each other, rather than a traditional bookmaker who retains their own margin.
After a few years, Softbank purchased a 23 per cent stake in Betfair, which gave the company a stunning valuation of £1.5 billion. This helped to announce Betfair as a global force.
By now, Betfair was already something of a household name, having become the first betting company to be a shirt sponsor for an English football team - West London-based side Fulham.
Betfair launched its own sportsbook in 2012 as part of a diversification of its offering, a move that continues to this day as the company continues to offer more types of betting products.
As a powerhouse of the industry, Betfair was attracting a lot of takeover talk and following a lengthy period of speculation, Paddy Power and Betfair agreed terms for a merger.
The deal went through in February 2016 but it would not be too long until there was another big change of ownership at the company.
An acquisition of The Stars Group - which runs a range of betting sites such as PokerStars - led to a rebrand as Flutter Entertainment, which instantly became one of the world's biggest gambling companies.
As well as Betfair, Flutter owns brands including FanDuel, Full Tilt Poker, Sky Bet, Sportsbet.com.au and TVG Network.
Although for the first decade of the company's existence Betfair only ran an exchange, the company now has a range of betting products that users can access through their accounts.
Among the top Betfair products that can be used on the company's website and apps are:
- Live casino
Next up in our complete guide to Betfair from players from Ireland, we will review each product.
Betfair Exchange Review
Sports fans might be used to logging into betting sites to have a wager on the big game or race of the day, but the Betfair Exchange might be a better alternative for some punters, especially if you are looking for the best odds available.
The Betfair exchange has grown from being a niche part of the online betting industry into an absolute juggernaut that is by far the most dominant site in its sector.
Working in a different way to traditional bookmakers and sportsbooks, the Betfair exchange is a good way for sports fans from all over Ireland to get some extra value out of their bets.
However, those Irish sports fans who have not used the Betfair exchange before are likely to be unsure about how to get started on the site.
In order to help out, we have put together this complete guide to the Betfair exchange, which explains how it works, how users can sign up and the benefits of using the exchange to bet.
What is the Betfair Exchange?
Let's start with an obvious question to answer - what exactly is the Betfair Exchange?
An exchange is an alternative way to bet on sports. But instead of the odds being set by a bookmaker - the house, in online betting parlance - prices are instead set by Betfair users.
This means that when a bet is placed on Betfair, the odds come from another user on the site. The bookmaker is not involved in the process at all, with the value of odds set by the market.
The upshot of this is that the odds that are available for a variety of top sports events on the Betfair exchange tend to be higher than those that are found on more traditional sportsbooks.
In fact, Betfair also has a sportsbook area on its website. This means users can log in to both the Betfair sportsbook and the Betfair exchange to compare the odds that are available.
Both the exchange and the sportsbook can be used through the same Betfair account, so it is quick and easy to see the differences in the prices that are offered for the very same bet.
On the Betfair exchange, people can also opt to set their own odds for a bet - essentially acting as the bookmaker themselves. This means other users bet against the odds they choose to set.
A bet can be placed on the exchange as long as both parties are able to agree on the odds. It might help to think of the Betfair exchange as a sports betting equivalent of the stock exchange.
But how do users who sign up to the Betfair exchange actually use the site to place bets?
Joining Betfair and Logging Into the Exchange
Those without an account on Betfair will need to sign up before being able to use the exchange.
Luckily, this is one of the most user-friendly sites out there and it should only take a few minutes to get up and running. New users should take time to see if they are able to claim a welcome bonus for signing up. Betfair is known in the industry for very generous promotions and offers.
To join Betfair from any page on the site, hit the join now button, which is located in the top-right.
This brings up the form that needs to be filled in to register for an account on Betfair's exchange and sportsbook. Users will be asked to fill in details like their gender, name and date of birth.
This is also where users can set a password and a security question that will be used in the event of that password being forgotten. Email details and an address also needs to be provided.
Deposit limits and the preferred currency are also chosen during this part of the process. Users can also add a promo code, if they have one, in order to claim a Betfair welcome bonus.
The form is quick and easy with players then having to verify their account through an email that will immediately be sent into their inbox. From there, users can log in with their account details.
How to Use The Betfair Exchange
There are two types of bet that can be placed on the Betfair exchange: backing and laying.
To back a bet is the same as placing a wager on a more typical sports betting site in Ireland. What this means is that you are betting on an event to happen - for example, a team to win a match in the Premier League, let's say Chelsea v Manchester United.
Laying is essentially the opposite move. To lay a bet is to gamble against it happening. Laying Manchester United in the above example is betting against them. It would mean the bet wins if it is a draw, or if Chelsea takes all three points on the day.
In this example, laying is essentially the same as a double chance bet, but it is also possible to lay bets in markets with large numbers of potential winners, like in golf or in horse racing.
Laying the favourite in horse racing would be betting against them winning the race. If the horse wins, the lay bet is a loser. But if the favourite fails to cross the line in first place, the lay bet wins.
There are various ways that people choose to use the Betfair exchange. It can be a handy tool for betting tactics such as dutching, which we will explain later on in this guide. Many people who use matched betting in order to make a guaranteed income also rely on Betfair's exchange.
Backing and Laying on the Betfair Exchange
People who are used to betting on a sportsbook may initially be quite confused about the Betfair exchange, due to the fact its layout is so different.
While the ability to find bets is the same - the left-hand menu provides a list of sports to select from - the market is presented in a different way on the exchange compared to a sportsbook. A bar at the top of the screen can also be used to navigate to popular options such as football.
Let's go back to the previous example we used of a Premier League game between Chelsea and Manchester United. There will be a lot of markets to pick from on the Betfair exchange, but to keep it simple we will stick to the basic match odds, for which team will win the game.
Chelsea are at home so they are listed above Manchester United, followed by the draw. The heart of the Betfair exchange is the grid of numbers, which can be impenetrable for newbies.
But it is easier to understand that it looks. Prices in a shade of light blue are the back bets. The lay bets on the Betfair exchange are shown in pale pink. The middle numbers of the six, which are highlighted, are the most important as these are the best prices that are currently available.
To back a selection, users would just have to click the price that they want to take. Then, the process is exactly the same as on a sportsbook. Set your stake, then confirm the wager. As with traditional sportsbooks, the Betfair exchange will show the potential profit from the bet.
In order to lay a bet on the Betfair exchange, the process is similar with one subtle difference. Instead of profit, the site will default to showing the customer their liability for the bet.
On the Betfair exchange, liability means the amount of money the customer will lose if the lay bet is not a winner. The more money that is staked, the higher the liability of the bet will be. There is also an option to see the potential profit for a lay bet placed via the Betfair exchange.
Things get a little more complicated once an event is ongoing, whether this is a Premier League football match, a game of cricket or a major golf tournament. This is due to the fact that the prices will shift all the time depending on what happens in the live-action.
Once the odds have changed for a particular bet, it might be possible to use the Betfair exchange in order to lock in some profit by covering all of the potential outcomes in bets.
Let's say you placed a back bet on Chelsea to beat Manchester United. If the Blues were to take an early lead in the match, their odds to win the game will naturally be reduced. It might therefore be possible to lay Chelsea and guarantee some profit.
The Betfair exchange will always automatically calculate the potential winnings and liability for the total bets that have been placed by a customer on the same betting market.
Setting Odds on the Betfair Exchange
When laying through the Betfair exchange, one of the key things to think about is setting the odds. The Betfair exchange will automatically set a lay bet at the best price that is available on the market right now.
But users can also opt to set a shorter or a bigger price for their chosen lay bet if they choose to do so. The price that is set will have a big impact on whether the bet can be 'matched'.
What this means is that each lay bet on the Betfair exchange has to find a taker on the 'back' section of the market. This is as Betfair itself does not take any bets through the exchange, it merely facilitates how people are able to bet against each other through the market.
Offering a less appealing price for an event might therefore make it unlikely the bet will be matched, especially if there is a lot of money elsewhere in the market at a better price.
Betfair exchange users can see how much money is in the market easily. This is known as the liquidity and is shown in the smaller number that is displayed under the price.
Incidentally, all odds on the Betfair exchange are shown as decimals by default, but hovering over them will automatically convert them into fractions, which some people find easier to use.
Popular events are likely to have a lot of liquidity, which means it is typically a lot faster for a lay bet to be matched. More niche events might not have as much money in the market, which means less liquidity in the market and usually results in less appealing prices all round.
The less liquidity there is in a market on the Betfair exchange, the bigger that the gap between the odds for a back and lay bet is likely to be in most cases.
Matches in the Premier League, as an example, always tend to be very popular on the Betfair exchange. This results in the back and lay prices for a match having a minimal difference.
To set different odds for a lay wager on the Betfair exchange, users should select the lay option shown in the pink colour, then change the number shown in the backer's odds box.
Add a stake and this will show the potential liability should the bet be a loser - as long as it is matched, of course. Users can also see their potential profit from a bet here.
Newcomers to the Betfair exchange might find it takes some time to get used to how backing and laying works. But it usually does not take too long to get used to the system.
There are a lot of benefits to using the Betfair exchange for sports betting, so the next section of our ultimate guide to the Betfair exchange will take a look at some of these advantages.
Betfair Exchange Commission
As noted above, the commission is one of the key things to keep in mind when using Betfair.
The commission is only charged by Betfair on winning bets that are placed through the exchange, so those whose wagers lose do not have to worry about paying this fee.
On the Betfair exchange, a commission is charged at a standard market rate of 5%.
What this means is that a bet through the Betfair exchange that results in total net winnings of £400 would mean that £20 would be taken by Betfair as its commission.
It might sound like a lot to those who are not used to betting through an exchange, but five per cent is a small cut in the grand scheme of things when compared to the benefits of such sites.
The best way to think about the commission is that it replaces the margin bookmakers with traditional sportsbooks retain in order to ensure they can make large profits every year. By charging a commission, Betfair is able to run the betting exchange that so many people love.
As a bookmaker usually has an edge of about the 5% mark, this is comparable to the commission that is charged on all winning bets that are placed at the Betfair exchange.
With the Betfair exchange tending to offer much better value when it comes to odds, players will usually still find that better value is available here than using a traditional bookie for sports bets even once the 5% rate of the commission has been taken into account.
Losing wagers on the Betfair exchange still qualify for Betfair points, which we will explain next.
Betfair Exchange Points Explained
Like traditional bookmakers with sportsbooks, there is a rewards scheme on the Betfair exchange. Betfair points can be earned by customers every time they bet on the exchange.
Whether or not customers win or lose, they will earn Betfair points. The more money that is staked by someone with an account on Betfair, the more rewards points that they will earn.
The key benefit of earning Betfair points is that it reduces the commission that needs to be paid.
Earning more points means players can cut their commission rate, meaning they are able to retain a greater percentage of the winning bets that they place through the Betfair exchange.
Benefits of Using Betfair's Exchange for Betting on Sport
The Betfair exchange is popular for a number of reasons, but here are some of the most vital:
- Better odds - higher prices mean more value for customers on the exchange
- Flexibility - backing and laying offers many more betting options for sports fans
- Guaranteeing profit - the exchange can be used to bank money in-play
Downsides of Using Betfair's Exchange for Betting on Sport
However, it is important to note the downsides of using Betfair's exchange, including these:
- Commission - Betfair charges a fee on all winning bets placed on the exchange
- Relying on liquidity - niche markets may not have a lot of money in the market
- No accumulators - one of the most popular sports betting types is not available
Betfair Exchange App Review
Mobile betting is huge these days, so it is no surprise that there is a Betfair exchange app.
Downloading this app on to mobile devices can make it faster than ever before to be able to place bets, or to lay wagers through the exchange.
Betfair has various different betting apps that are available to use for both iOS and Android devices.
Exchange Betting for iPhone and Exchange Betting for Android are the two that will be the most helpful for those who plan to use the Betfair exchange via mobile devices on a regular basis.
Among the benefits of using Betfair exchange apps is that they have live streaming included. This means users can place wagers on the race of the day then watch live to see how much profit they are going to make from the bet.
As well as sports, users of the apps can also place wagers on everything from TV shows, award ceremonies and even on politics. The number of markets is absolutely vast.
Customer support is also available 24/7 through the apps for anyone who is having an issue with their account on the Betfair exchange.
Deposits and withdrawals are quick and easy to process when using Betfair's apps as well. Some of the banking methods that are available to use on the Betfair exchange apps for mobile include PayPal, bank transfer and Paysafecard, as well as e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill.
The betting process is seamless on Betfair's apps, with bets accepted rapidly on the software. Payouts also come quickly, which is good news for those who want to get their winnings back in their pockets as cold hard cash as soon as possible.
Free bets and promotions that are offered to Betfair exchange users can also be accepted through the app, which is another big plus point for those on mobile devices.
All in all, the Betfair exchange apps can be fully recommended to anyone who plans to use the markets for backing and laying via a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone.
Betfair Sportbook Review
While for most people the Betfair exchange is still the prime reason to sign up for an account on the site, the sportsbook has been a popular addition since its arrival back in 2012. Not everyone wants to use a betting exchange, with the Betfair sportsbook offering a simpler experience.
The most popular sports to bet on at Betfair feature at the top of the page, making it easy to navigate to the latest markets for football, horse racing, golf, greyhound racing and cricket, as well as American football, basketball and tennis. Live markets are also presented in a prominent position to make it as fast as possible to place a wager on the action that is ongoing right now.
There are around 25 different sports to bet on at Betfair, so most people will find what they are looking for at this site. Current affairs and politics bets can also be found on the sportsbook, while Betfair is among the gambling companies now allowing users to bet on esports.
In terms of the markets offered, the depth at Betfair is absolutely fantastic and ranks this betting company at the top of the tree. In football, for example, the typical Premier League match at Betfair will have countless bets to pick from - and the same is true in-play as well.
Competitions around the world are featured but Irish betting fans will be happy to see strong representation for the League of Ireland too. Odds on the Betfair sportsbook are typically solid and it only takes a couple of clicks to compare the prices to those offered on the exchange.
Cash-out is available on the Betfair sportsbook, so it is possible to lock in a profit while the action is ongoing. This is a standard offering at most betting websites these days, but the cash-out feature at Betfair certainly works well compared to the competition. Partial cash out is also offered for those who want to take a proportion of the profit while letting the rest of the bet ride.
Live streaming is one of the key selling points of the Betfair sportsbook. A massive amount of horse racing and greyhound racing is available to those who have a Betfair account, while there is plenty of global tennis and football to pick from on the site as well. Streaming games while betting live works well at Betfair, so those who like in-play gambling will appreciate this option. Betfair Live Video is currently free of charge, but in some cases account holders will have to place a bet on the event they want to watch in order to be able to access the live stream.
Mobile betting is big business for the industry nowadays and Betfair has always been at the forefront of the industry in this regard. Not only does the Betfair mobile website work smoothly and provide a seamless betting experience while on the move, but there are also betting apps available to download on to iOS and Android devices too. We will have more on the Betfair apps later.
Betfair Casino Review
Betfair might primarily be known as a sports betting company, but its online casino is an increasingly tempting option for people who have an account on the site. Users can log in to the Betfair casino with the same account details that they use to bet on the sportsbook and the exchange, so switching between the products could not be easier.
Both classic and next-generation casino games are available at the Betfair casino, ensuring there should be something for everyone. All in all, there are hundreds of games to pick from across categories such as slots, poker, table games and the Betfair live casino. Betfair was faster to launch an online casino than a lot of its British and Irish rivals in the betting industry and the vast experience the operator really shines through when using this site, which has a number of exclusive games, including the horse racing-themed Ruby Walsh's Champion Gold.
Most of the top slot games on the planet can be found on the Betfair casino, with names like Gonzo's Quest, Book of Dead and Starburst all positioned so they can be easily found. A special section for new games is handy too, giving Betfair account holders a simple way to find the latest titles that have been added to the library, which is updated on a regular basis. Adding new games often gives Irish users plenty of reasons to check back at the Betfair casino.
The Betfair casino used to mostly feature Playtech games, but this is no longer the case any more. When logging in from Ireland now, users will be able to find titles from a wide range of casino game developers including Pragmatic Play, Big Time Gaming, NetEnt and Play'n GO. Megaways slots have their own page on the Betfair casino and it is easy to find the best jackpot slots on the site too. Those seeking the largest possible wins have plenty of choice on this site and there is even the opportunity to take part in slots tournaments at the Betfair casino as well.
Betfair Live Casino Review
As well as the Betfair casino, account holders can head to the live casino for a slightly different experience, with a good selection of games offered by the operator.
Betfair Live Casino is fully accessible on desktop and mobile and the site runs around the clock too, so whatever the time is it is possible to log in and have a bet on this section of the site.
Classic live card games will be a popular choice for many Irish account holders at Betfair, with plenty of blackjack and baccarat games to pick from at the Betfair Live Casino.
Additionally, modern alternatives like Crazy Time are likely to find an audience, while there are games at the Betfair Live Casino based on Monopoly, Mega Ball and Dream Catcher too.
Age of the Gods Bonus Roulette is one of the best games to pick at the Betfair Live Casino, which offers the chance to bet with both very low and very high stakes. This means the live casino at the site is a good choice for both newcomers and high rollers alike.
HD video streaming works smoothly at the Betfair Live Casino and playing the range of games offered is a very enjoyable experience on the site.
Betfair Games Review
Most sites would be content with a casino, a sportsbook, an exchange and a live casino, but Betfair has its sights set higher. As a result, even more, casino games are available on the site.
Head to the Exchange Games tab on Betfair and users will be able to find even more types of casino games, with baccarat and blackjack likely to be among the popular options.
The only criticism to make here is that the choice of games is quite limited when compared to the massive array of slots on offer in the Betfair casino.
One of the main reasons to use the Exchange Games section on Betfair is the fact that it has its own loyalty rewards.
Betfair is known in the industry for looking after customers with excellent bonuses and promotions and this can certainly be seen in its games offering on the site.
Betfair has even provided a section where account holders can read in-depth about the variety of game strategies that could be used to boost a player's chances of winning on various titles.
Basic poker games can be found in the Exchange Games section on Betfair but the site is also home to a poker room, so let's take a detailed look at that in the next part of our full review.
Betfair Poker Review
Poker is probably not the first thing people think about when they hear the name Betfair. While most poker fans typically play on dedicated sites to the sport, the Betfair poker room will certainly have enough to meet the needs of more casual players.
New Betfair Poker needs to be downloaded in order to play at the Betfair poker room, which like other departments of the site has its own suite of special promotions and offers to use. For every €1 spent at the tables by Irish poker players on the site, Betfair Poker Loyalty Club members earn 25 Status Points. At the 1,250 Status Point threshold, it is then possible to cash them in for a range of special prizes.
Playing poker at Betfair works well but it is a shame software has to be downloaded as this makes the process less seamless for those switching over from the sportsbook or exchange.
At many of the other big betting brands that act as the top competition for Betfair in the UK and Ireland, the poker room is integrated better, so this could be something to improve in future. However, for some people, it might be preferable to be able to keep poker and betting separate.
As with the games section, Betfair has produced guides on poker that are very useful reading for anyone who is either new to the game or who is just looking to brush up their skills by using more advanced strategies whenever they take a seat at the table for a poker tournament.
Betfair Bingo Review
Some customers might be surprised to learn that poker is offered at Betfair and even more eyebrows are likely to be raised by the presence of an online bingo hall at the site as well.
But Betfair's bingo offering ticks a lot of boxes, with a great range of choice for those who want to play this gambling game through the internet.
There are bingo games based on the Age of the Gods slot game and Deal or No Deal that can be picked on the Betfair bingo site, as well as more standard variations of the popular game.
Again, special Betfair bingo promotions are offered in a bid to persuade people with accounts on the site to give these games a go, as well as to come back and play them again and again.
Slingo games and scratch cards can also be found on the Betfair bingo tab on this comprehensive betting website, helping to make sure there is something for everyone here.
Players can use the heart symbol on the site to favourite games and make it easier to find them the next time they come back to play, which is a very user-friendly touch to be included on the site. This is just one of the many things that show how much Betfair thinks about their users.
Betfair Betting Apps
Betfair has always tried to make the most of the latest technology, so it should not come as a surprise to see Betfair's apps are some of the best in the business right now.
But let's start with the mobile-optimised site, which provides the seamless betting experience that customers will be used to from the Betfair brand. All the same options, markets and bets are available on mobile and it is quick and simple to bet in-play and access live streams too.
Betting apps are becoming more popular, though, as people try to streamline the process. This is certainly possible with Betfair due to the fact there are a large number of apps offered.
Some rivals try to put all their products in the same apps, which can make them a bit cluttered and hard to navigate. But Betfair has taken another approach, instead opting to create a range of Betfair apps that people can choose to download on to their iOS or Android devices.
There are so many options that the Betfair App Directory can actually be a bit overwhelming at first. Many of them focus on trading, so will only be of interest to heavy users of the exchange.
Betfair's own apps include a dedicated app for the exchange, which can be found on both the App Store for iOS and the Play Store for Android. Betfair Sports Betting is the app to look for, again on the App Store and the Play Store, for those who do not need to use the exchange.
Betfair Security and Regulation
Many Irish sports fans will want to feel assured their chosen betting site hits the highest standards when it comes to security and regulation. The good news is that Betfair is top-notch in this department, with a lot of work going into ensuring the best possible security is in place.
Betfair's 2-Step Authentication helps users to protect their own accounts, while SSL/TLS technology is also in place to ensure that all data held by Betfair is kept safe and secure.
Additionally, Betfair is ISO27001 certified, which is the global standard for information security management, so this is a big tick in the box for this gambling giant as well.
Betfair is also PCI certified, which means that the company is checked on an annual basis by an external and independent PCI Qualified Security Assessor.
On the regulation side, Betfair holds licenses from the Gambling Commission in the UK, as well as with a range of regulatory authorities from around the world.
These include Spelinspektionen in Sweden, the Danish Gambling Authority, the Malta Gaming Authority and Spain's Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego.