Top 3 Betting Exchanges

Top 3 Betting Exchanges

In recent years, betting exchanges have become a huge addition to the gambling market, opening up a new flexible way to bet on the outcome of sports. Played almost by the punter’s rules to a certain extent, the exchange market allows you to either set or back odds which have not been selected by the bookies. In exchange, you can either take on the role as the ‘layer’ where you set the odds on a certain outcome, or you can be the ‘backer’ in which you are taking on the odds a player has already set. The bookie usually takes a small percentage of the winnings either way in commission to ensure they receive a dose of the money.

Here, we will look at the top three betting exchange sites currently available in the UK and some of the offers they have to entice new customers.


Currently, the biggest sports exchange site online, Betfair leads the way with the most active customers and has a 96% share in the market. The biggest sports on the Betfair exchange markets are football, racing, golf and tennis, but they also include comprehensive coverage of every sport on the sportsbook market in exchange, including boxingcricket and darts, as well as non-sporting events such as politics. As far as depth of coverage is concerned, Betfair is by far the most detailed exchange currently out there. Betfair currently take 5% commission from each bet placed on the exchange market to ensure they get something out of having the exchange.

When signing up to Betfair, they offer new customers £30 in free bets once they place their first £10 bet on the site which is a very decent offer for people looking to get into betting. To keep customers using Exchange, Betfair also offer discount rates depending on the number of Betfair Points you accumulate during your time as a customer. The more you bet, the more points you earn, which increases your discount rate on commission as high as 60% if you can earn enough points during your time as a Betfair Exchange user.

Overall, it is easy to see why Betfair have become the most popular exchange site since starting in 2000, with great efficiency and equal importance placed on the exchange market as the general sportsbook. With the popularity and understanding of how it works continuing to grow, Betfair should retain its’ place at the top of Exchange for many years to come.


Founded in 2008, Smarkets is one of the fastest-growing exchange sites in the UK and has already earned a loyal following in the eight short years since it began. Since it has no sportsbook, Smarkets is strictly an exchange-only site meaning they pay their full attention to it, unlike other bookmakers such as Betfair, who also have to run a full in-depth sportsbook alongside their own exchange. The markets available on Smarkets are horse racing, football, tennis, baseball, cricket, darts, golf, motorsports, rugby league, cycling, politics and current affairs, meaning the biggest UK sports are covered on Smarkets.

With only 2% flat commission, Smarkets also have the smallest commission rate of any online exchange company, ensuring you receive the biggest share of your winnings possible. It is this which is one of the main selling points of Smarkets as it is considerably lower than what some of their biggest competitors are able to offer. They also offer a £10 free bet when you make an opening deposit of £20 into your Smarkets account which is risk-free, allowing you to get used to the site and begin to understand the concept of the exchange market. The area where Smarkets does fall slightly short on is its’ depth of sporting coverage, with a number of sports not included as a market such as a rugby union, boxing and snooker.

A website completely dedicated to its’ exchange outlet, Smarkets is constantly improving its coverage and offers excellent in-play markets for various sporting events. The liquidity of the site has improved tremendously recent times, and current users of Smarkets are extremely complimentary and don’t be surprised to see this site begin to compete with the almighty Betfair very soon.



Still an up and coming website in the exchange world, Matchbook has made vast improvements over the last few years to improve its’ quality of coverage and overall website structure. Its’ newest addition to the sports on offer is horse racing, having once not provided a horse racing market to bet on during the early stages of the website beginning. As well as horse racing, Matchbook allows you to bet on football, baseball, tennis, American football, cricket, golf. Also rugby union, rugby league, Aussie rules, darts, MMA, boxing and politics, meaning it caters to fans of both UK sports, as well as the US and Australian favourites.

Upon making an account with Matchbook, they offer new customers a £30 welcome bonus which can be used across two separate £15 bets when the signing customers use the promo code ‘MAXSPORT’. This, in turn, gives customers a £15 free bet to use as they please on any Matchbook market, as well as giving a free £15 bet to lay against a particular outcome occurring during a sporting event. Pushing customers into placing a lay bet is a good way for people who are entirely new to the concept of exchange to earn a greater understanding of what it is, and what it means to place a lay bet on the exchange. Matchbook also has a casino site, but the exchange firmly remains its’ priority section of the site. As far as layout and depth goes, Matchbook still has some work to do in catching both Betfair and Smarkets, as the site still lacks the quantity of markets on each event as their main competitors, while the website still doesn’t quite impress aesthetically like the other two.

Matchbook has continued to grow over the past few years and is now recognised as one of the top exchange sites on the market. Although it still has some way before reaching the level of Betfair and also Smarkets, there is a lot of potential in this company eventually to become one of the stand-out names in exchange betting.