Just What Are Betting Exchanges?

This is embarrassing, but up until way too recently, I believed that there was no other way to bet except through a bookmaker, not counting, of course, a friendly wager between mates. Some people do it in betting parlors, while others explore other options, like SportsStack online sports betting.

Well, as it turns out, there is another way to place bets online. It is called a betting exchange. Let us dive in and figure out how this thing works.


So, when you place a bet with a bookmaker, they give you the odds and that is pretty much it. If you bet a fiver, you might win £7, or you might lose your fiver. That is where it all ends. Some bookmakers allow you to bet in-game, while others do not – it is not always their decision, but the law of their region that sets this rule.

With betting exchange, you are literally exchanging your bet. There is no bookmaker – you are betting someone online on the outcome of the match. Another difference is that, with a bookie, you bet on what you think will happen, whereas here you are allowed to bet on what won’t happen as well – these practices are known as backing and laying, respectively.

Now, here’s the kicker – you can change your mind! You are allowed to switch places and still come out on top. Say you bet team A to win against team B. All of a sudden, team A starts playing much worse than they have ever done before. You can bet that team A doesn’t win, which allows you to keep your money.


First of all, betting exchanges offer better odds overall, unlike the bookies, which try to calculate their profit margin, or overround, before giving you the odds, in order to make a profit no matter the outcome (otherwise, they wouldn’t last very long as bookies, would they?) which is something that you should consider if you’re in the market for betting long term. Betting exchanges charge a commission, but often only on winning bets.

Another thing to watch out for is the fact that bookies will often give you worse odds and betting conditions if they notice you are winning a lot. You can’t really blame them since they have to stay in business and your sports know-how isn’t helping their situation.


Arbers are people that want a guaranteed win no matter what. To do this, they bet on all possible outcomes to minimize their losses and profit from the outcome of the sporting event, whatever it may be. This is usually done with match betting – betting on an outcome with a bookmaker and betting against it with betting exchange, or vice versa.


Big brand bookmakers were very vocal in the past regarding betting exchanges. They argued that it ruined the integrity of the game and made room for corruption in sports wagers, since bets were anonymous and it is generally much easier to bet on something not happening, or someone not winning, that it is to place a traditional bet.

Betting exchange platforms fired back with their own criticism of the online bookies, saying that their interest in the game was hardly about integrity and more to do with protecting their profit. Well, “if you can’t beat them, join them” – most big bookmakers now have a betting exchange of their own.

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