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What Is The Betfair Exchange?

The Betfair Exchange revolutionised online-betting, allowing punters the option of not only backing horses, but also the option of laying them. This two-sided exchange led to fiercely-competitive pricing between punters who like to back horses and punters who prefer to play bookmaker – and, to try and maximise their share of online-betting, online-bookmakers had to start offering better prices and/or concessions.

A Brief History Of The Betfair Exchange

The Betfair Exchange was the brainchild of Andrew Black and Edward Wray, and was started in 2000 with a view to giving punters more options regarding how they bet, and who they bet with.  It has come a long way since then, purchasing Timeform in 2006, and continuing to form important-links with other leading sporting-authorities around the globe, such as the New York Racing Association.

Understanding The Betfair Exchange Layout

When you click-on any horse race from the Betfair Exchange Menu, you will see the list of runners just like you would at any online-bookmaker. However, you will notice six-columns next to each horse. The two closest together in the middle are the best-prices you can back a horse at (in blue) and the best-price you can lay a horse at (in pink). You'll also see how much money you can have on at those prices, whilst the adjacent boxes show the next best-prices and how much money you can have on at those prices. The markets are also constantly moving to reflect demand and supply.

Backing Horses On The Betfair Exchange

Backing a horse on the Betfair Exchange isn't really any different than backing a horse with a bookmaker. You simply deposit funds in your account, click-on the race you're interested in, click-on the best-price available for that horse, and enter your stake. However, where the Exchange differs to a Sportsbook is, if you're not happy with the current price, you can choose your odds and stake, then leave that bet to see if any of the layers are happy to take it. *Please note that prices always reflect the stake as well, so odds of 5/1 will appear as 6.0 on the Betfair Exchange.

Laying Horses On The Betfair Exchange

If you've always fancied you'd make a better bookmaker than you would a punter, then the Betfair Exchange is the perfect place to showcase your bookmaking skills. However, whilst some layers choose to price-up a whole-race, you can also be more selective and choose to lay just one, two or a few horses if you think they are unlikely winners. You can either choose to lay a horse at the best-price available, or leave a bet at a lower-price in the hope that demand for that horse will see its price move in that direction.

Win And Place Markets

Another area where the Betfair Exchange differs from regular bookmakers is that there are no each-way markets. Instead, there are win-markets and place-markets. So, if you want to back a horse win & place, you will have to place two separate bets. However, this also gives punters the option of backing place-only if they want to, whilst layers can lay place-only.

How The Betfair Exchange Has Benefitted Punters

The Betfair Exchange has not only give punters the option to play bookmaker, and back horses place only, but also stirred the online bookmaking fraternity into marketing themselves more competitively. Many online bookmakers now offer one or more horses in a race at higher prices than the price on the Betfair Exchange, whilst Best-Odds Guaranteed and Extra-Places on Each-Way Bets are just two of the concessions that online bookmakers now offer to try and attract punters away from the Betfair Exchange.

Owen Smith
Director Owen Smith


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