Unlike sportsbooks, where you bet against set odds, betting exchanges let you wager against other punters. Join us as we review the best exchanges online and reveal our top tips and strategies!

  • One of the best betting exchanges out there
  • Top notch customer service
  • Lots of banking methods
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2004
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2004

18+ New Customers Only. Sign up using Bonus Code: GET30. To qualify for free bets, the new user must place and settle £30 on Matchbook Exchange markets only. The user must bet on at least 4 different events to qualify. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad

  • Trade with 0% Commission for 60 days
  • Industry-low commission fee of 2%
  • Best priced odds
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 1999
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 1999

18+ Free bets and spins must be claimed within 28 days of opening. Free bet/spin stake not included in any winnings. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad

  • Trade with 0% commission for 60 days
  • Industry-low commission fee
  • Best priced odds
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2008
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2008

18+ Use code COMMFREE to trade with 0% commission for 60 days. Min. £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Instant Banking. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad

  • 0% Commission on all sports for 100 days
  • Sportsbook, Exchange, and Casino
  • Dedicated “BETDAQ Tips” section
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2000
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programme
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Established in 2000

18+ New customers only. 0% commission on all exchange sports for 100 days. Promo code 0COMM100 must be entered during registration. Offer only available to users who deposit via debit card. Standard 2% commission rate applies on 101st day. Not available to API, RDT or trading software customers. Full T&Cs Apply. Bet Responsibly. GambleAware.org #ad

betting exchange infographic

A betting exchange is a platform that enables punters to bet on events and markets against each other, as opposed to betting against a bookmaker's sportsbook with fixed odds. This comes at a small commission charged by the site itself, which rarely comes close to your traditional sportsbook overround. The latter can easily be as high as 110%, meaning you typically get objectively more competitive odds.

The markets are not simply priced by the bookmaker, but by many hundreds or even thousands of bets being placed. Put simply, it’s the quantity of customers who are back betting and lay betting that helps determine the odds.

But what do these two terms mean exactly? Well, you are either betting on something to happen (“back betting”) or betting on something not to happen (“lay betting”).

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Did you know that Betfair, the most popular betting exchange in the United Kingdom, was hugely influential in the evolution of mobile betting? In fact, their app was the first of its kind on the Apple store.

As you can see, betting exchanges are actually pretty simple in concept. Read on to find out just how user-friendly they can be!

Essentially, a betting exchange allows players to create their own markets — one for backing an outcome and one for laying against it.

  • Back Bet: Backing means that you are placing your wager on a particular outcome to happen.

  • Lay Bet: Laying means that you are predicting that a certain outcome won't happen.

For instance, if you believe a football team's odds will increase after team news is released, you can request a higher price. If another punter disagrees with your prediction, they can match your bet at that price.

Consider a Liverpool vs Manchester City match. Instead of just backing Liverpool to win, you can lay a bet on Manchester City not to win, which another punter on the exchange will match.

In a nutshell, betting exchanges match your predictions with opposing views on an outcome, allowing you both to agree on a stake and odds through the platform.

How To Use a Betting Exchange — A General Guide

Much like using a traditional sportsbook, betting through an exchange is straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Sign up: Choose an exchange site and create an account.

  2. Enter personal and financial details: Your information will be securely stored with robust security measures.

  3. Make a deposit: Be mindful of the amount, as it may affect your eligibility for a welcome bonus. Always read the terms and conditions of any bonus.

Once registered, you're ready to bet! Unlike traditional sites, exchange odds are displayed in decimal format. However, calculating your potential returns is straightforward.

You'll find various markets across different sports, with your main decision resting on whether to place a back bet or a lay bet.

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For a safer approach, choose markets with odds that are dropping. Odds on exchanges update constantly, so keep a close eye on these changes for the best opportunities.

Placing a Back Bet

Let's say you are betting on Liverpool to win against Arsenal in a matchup. Here, your placed (back) bet will be countered by another customer who is punting on Liverpool to not win the match.

You win if Liverpool wins, just as you would have had you bet on the same outcome on a traditional sportsbook. It’s how the markets are determined and who you are betting against that distinguishes an exchange from a fixed-odds platform.

In terms of how it works on a practical level, it couldn’t be simpler. Here’s a very quick breakdown of how to place a back bet.

  1. Sign up to the site if you haven’t already.

  2. Make a deposit.

  3. Select the sport and event you wish to bet on.

  4. Click on ‘Back' next to the selection you are interested in. You should be able to pick your stake at this time (some bookies may have you press the odds yourself).

  5. Confirm your bet on the bet slip. This is also where you should be able to see any potential returns.

Placing a Lay Bet

Using the same example as above, here you would bet on Liverpool not to beat Arsenal. Depending on the odds available, you may receive better value for laying a wager rather than placing a back bet. At the end of the day, it is all about using your best judgement.

In this scenario, your wager would be successful if Arsenal wins, as you would have bet against the other punters backing Liverpool to win instead.

Again, the way it works is incredibly simple and very similar to back betting. Here’s a quick breakdown.

  1. Sign up to your chosen betting exchange through their site or app.

  2. Make your deposit.

  3. Seek out whatever market you are after.

  4. Typically, you would then click on ‘Lay' next to the market you wish to bet on. You may need to click on the odds themselves if this does not work. Ensure your stake is to your liking.

  5. Your bet should now be available on your bet slip showing any potential returns, ready to be confirmed.

Matched Betting

Matched betting involves placing multiple bets to cover all the outcomes of a match and ensure a risk-free approach, using free bet promotions and bookmaker incentives. You must have an account on two or more betting exchanges in order to do this successfully.

Here's an example: Say you use a free bet on one platform to back Liverpool to win a match, and simultaneously lay a bet against Liverpool's victory on another site, carefully adjusting your wager to ensure no losses. This combination of bets is known as a matched bet.

Check out our reviews of the leading sports betting exchange sites in the UK below! We've highlighted key features, user experience, and reliability for each platform to help you make more informed choices in this competitive market.


spreadex homepage screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

Spread betting pioneers Spreadex are one of the best betting exchange sites the UK has to offer. With fixed odds betting also available, there are no shortages of options on the platform.

Every event clearly displays the choice between the two betting styles through clearly designed labels, ensuring effortless navigation.

In terms of functionality, the native Spreadex app is second to none. All links leading to options such as open bets, account details, home page, and your betting slip are laid out at the bottom of the page, and the sections load fairly quickly.

Our experience with the app has been smooth and free from glitches/freezes when transitioning between sections, so the app’s stability checks out as far as we're concerned!

Spreadex also offers livestreaming of dog and horse races via both desktop and mobile, accessible via the in-play section. To use this feature, you need a funded account. Streaming an event is particularly beneficial if you enjoy in-play betting, as it enables real-time decision-making, such as cashing out while watching events unfold in real time.

The site also comes with low trading fees, especially in comparison to rival exchanges such as Betfair, who can charge up to 5% for a winning trade. Unlike a lot of other betting companies, Spreadex also provide a financial trading option for anyone interested.


Matchbook Betting Exchange Homepage
(Source: Matchbook)

Matchbook have a sterling reputation as one of the best in the business, and for good reason too. First of all, we love the fact that there are numerous betting markets available from around the world, including all our favourites like football, cricket, boxing, and golf.

The main site and the app are both aesthetically pleasing, not to mention technically sound. It’s clear there has been a lot of thought put into the design. In addition, improved security measures such as SSL encryption and responsible gaming tools allow for greater peace of mind when placing bets.

They’ve also found a great balance between security and usability. Indeed, their app now locks your account after three failed password attempts for greater protection. But worry not, if you've simply forgotten your details, all you have to do is contact customer service to get back in the game.

For an overview of Matchbook's high levels of user satisfaction, simply check out the reviews on their app — you don't have to take our word for it!

Some of that satisfaction must have something to do with their fantastically competitive commission policies, available on both the site and app. Alongside other excellent welcome offers, new customers also receive the option of 0% commission for the first 110 days of their tenure. There are also regular Bet10 Get10 promotions for existing customers on a variety of sports, including greyhound racing.

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Matchbook charge a 2% commission on your net profits only (applicable to UK and ROI customers) with a 4% commission being charged to all other customers. Any losing bets will not be charged any commission. Make no mistake, in terms of both experience and generosity, Matchbook have few peers to contend with.


Smarkets Betting Exchange Offer
(Source: Smarkets)

Smarkets is among the best betting exchange sites for customers residing in the United Kingdom, currently charging 0% commission rate on all winning bets for 60 days. And that’s just scraping the surface of what they have to offer!

Another highlight is the great number of statistical details available across their betting markets. This doesn't just apply to sports, but extends to the political sphere as well, with an exceptional coverage of political betting markets on elections around the world. This focus on data offers a different angle to the usual betting exchange.

Smarkets use their vast knowledge to great effect, offering customers unique wagering opportunities alongside tactical advantages. The sports betting available on the exchange is top-tier, with a broad variety of creative and interesting markets across a huge selection of leagues and sporting disciplines, livestreaming, and bet builders to make things interesting.

They are also generous when it comes to promotions, including cuts on commission and welcome offers, so you don’t need to miss out on the joys of a bountiful bonus page when making the switch from a traditional sportsbook to an exchange.

And all this is balanced out by a fantastic, user-friendly site design, which somehow works even better on the app!


BETDAQ Betting Exchange Homepage
(Source: BETDAQ)

BETDAQ is one of the best betting exchange options for sports betting enthusiasts, mixing great site and app design, broad and detailed sports markets and coverage, as well as consistently generous promotions.

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BETDAQ is commission-free on all markets apart from football, horse racing, greyhound racing, cricket, and virtual sports.

There, they offer a fair and competitive rate of 2% both on the site and their highly-acclaimed betting exchange app. When you mix their rates with the cashback, free bet, and best odds guaranteed promotions, you have an exchange that’s tough to compete with in terms of value.

Furthermore, apart from Betfair, BETDAQ is the only other betting exchange which offers a public API.

With a great range of sports betting markets and competitive odds, we rate BETDAQ as one of the top three on the market. They also have a separate website called BETDAQ Tips, where interested players can find detailed trading articles and the latest information about market movers.

Put simply, BETDAQ go above and beyond in terms of usability, promotions, statistics, competitive rates, and odds, providing everything you need as a punter!

Betfair Exchange

Betfair Betting Exchange Homepage
(Source: Betfair)

Despite immense and growing competition, Betfair Exchange is still among the best in the industry. The site houses one of the most extensive ranges of markets for platforms of its kind, along with some of the most competitive odds online.

Because an exchange can provide more betting options the more people utilise them, part of their abundance of betting options comes down to their sheer popularity, which is something very few others can compete with. Betfair is considered the best betting exchange for backing with big stake liquidity, and is especially popular for their football and horse racing markets.

But don’t forget — they got and remain that popular due to excellent and innovative design (both on desktop and mobile), as well as their generosity, creativity, and dedication to customer experience.

Consider, for instance, their Betfair rewards plan, which allows you to choose to reduce your commission (which comes at the standard 5%) or receive other promotional benefits. We also appreciate that the offers provided on Betfair’s sportsbook carry over to the exchange. Betfair don’t just excel across its desktop site and on its mobile app — they innovate and personalise, providing an immense amount of depth in doing so.

Betfair Exchange also offer an API system and integrated trading tools, which enable you to gauge in-depth data for betting markets and help you determine how the odds are drifting or may drift.

Furthermore, you can access the Tips & Previews and Historical Data sections on the site’s secondary navigation bar (first, make sure you have clicked the Exchange tab under the main Betfair logo on the top-left of the screen). This is made surprisingly easy on the app, too.

You can argue — considering all the creative and statistical depth, alongside the sheer number of features and markets — that Betfair Exchange remains the absolute finest out there. We think there’s tough competition in that regard, but the fact that they are still in this particular conversation showcases their longevity and quality.

Use our handy hedge betting calculator to find out in seconds how much you can make when backing and laying on a bet exchange.

Back Odds
Lay Odds
Stake (Back)
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Commission (%)
Back Net Profit
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There are a lot of elements to consider when choosing the right exchange platform to suit your own needs and preferences. Here are our top tips for deciding which to use.


Liquidity in betting exchanges refers to the amount of money ready to be matched on a particular bet or market. It’s essentially the maximum stake you can bet at those odds at that moment. Liquidity determines how easily you can place bets and find others willing to take the opposite position. You'll see this number right under the odds on the exchange.

Liquidity should be a top consideration when selecting betting exchange sites, because this metric directly impacts the punter’s ability to execute bets efficiently.

High liquidity means lots of action and opportunities, making it easier to match your bets at the prices you want. On the flip side, low liquidity can lead to challenges in finding matches for your bets, affecting the odds and potentially limiting your betting strategies.

Suppose you stake more than the available liquidity. In that case, only part of your bet might be matched at the odds you wanted, with the remainder possibly being matched at less favourable odds as you deplete the available liquidity at the best price.

Alternatively, your bet may remain partially unmatched if you don't accept worse odds. You would then have to wait for other bettors to offer more liquidity at your desired odds to match your bet fully.

Playing on a betting exchange with strong liquidity brings several key benefits:

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    Greater flexibility in placing bets: When you're looking at markets with good liquidity, it means you can place bigger bets without having to compromise on odds. You won't have to wait and possibly miss out on good odds because there's plenty of money available to match your bet.

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    Greater flexibility in accepting bets: A liquid market allows you to lay bets more confidently. You're more likely to find someone willing to bet against you, so laying bets becomes smoother.

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    Enhanced opportunities for trading: The true value of high liquidity lies in the improved opportunities for trading. You can back an outcome and then, should the odds move in your favour, place a lay bet to lock in a profit well before the event ends. This liquidity means more frequent and predictable odds movements, providing a solid foundation for trading strategies.

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    Faster bet matching: With more money in the system, your bets match faster. This reduces the wait for another person to take up your bet, streamlining the whole betting experience.

To help you get a sense of the bookies offering good liquidity, we checked out three top-tier match betting exchanges. We looked into the liquidity available for various selections within the tennis Miami ATP 1000 Masters event at the time of writing, comparing across the exchange bookmakers available.

Keep in mind that the liquidity in these markets can be quite fickle, changing swiftly based on the betting activity of other users at any particular time.

Matchbook Back LiquidityMatchbook Lay LiquiditySmarkets Back LiquiditySmarkets Lay LiquidityBETDAQ Back LiquidityBETDAQ Lay Liquidity
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Adam Walton match-winner£9,045£5,453£9,443£149£3,660£1,758
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Expert’s Verdict: Matchbook Offers Top Liquidity

Ben Gibson: After crunching the numbers, Matchbook gets my nod for its versatility. It offers deep liquidity on both the back and lay sides, allowing traders to enter and exit bets smoothly without affecting the odds too much. This depth is vital for sharp trading and securing the best prices. Conversely, if you’re hunting for the best odds on backing, Smarkets is your best bet with its larger back bet pool.


When signing up for a betting site, prioritise value for money by choosing an exchange offering the best odds. To do this, compare odds by using available services online or through personal analysis.

When it comes to finding the best value on a betting site, the flexibility and odds offered by betting exchange sites like Matchbook put them a step ahead of traditional bookies. With regular bookmakers, the odds are what they are — you can take them or leave them. But on an exchange, you get to play the role of the bookie yourself.

Let’s say you’re eyeing a tennis match at the Miami Masters 1000 between Lorenzo Sonego and Daniel Evans. A traditional bookie might offer fixed odds of 1.8 on Evans to win. On Matchbook, however, you might find similar starting odds.

The game-changer here is you don’t have to accept these odds if you see more value elsewhere. If you believe Evans has a better chance than the odds suggest, you could offer odds of 1.85 on Matchbook, betting on the likelihood that someone else will back Sonego against your offered odds.

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Expert’s opinion: Matchbook — Great Odds on Even Smaller Markets

Ben Gibson: Matchbook often delivers the best value among betting exchange sites, mainly due to its strong liquidity. With high liquidity, there's a good chance your bets will find a match. Looking back at the Evans vs.Sonego fixture we mentioned earlier, choosing Matchbook made it more likely to get someone to back Sonego against your bet on Evans.

Welcome Offer

A great welcome offer can really set the tone for your betting experience, making the difference between an okay start and a flying one. It’s about finding offers that are not just big in numbers but also friendly for players. This means sometimes you’ve got to look beyond the headline figures and dive into the terms and conditions that come with it.

A crucial thing to keep an eye on is the offer’s validity period. Take Matchbook, for example: a 0% commission on all markets for 110 days after you activate the bonus. That’s a solid stretch of time to make the most of your bets.

Another factor you shouldn’t overlook is the minimum deposit requirement — that’s the minimum amount of cash you need to deposit to activate the bonus. For example, to trigger Smarkets’ 0% commission offer, you must put down at least £10.

Payment method eligibility is another crucial point when weighing up betting exchange sites. Some offers specify which types of deposits qualify you for the bonus. For example, Smarkets specifies debit cards or instant banking, whereas Matchbook accepts debit cards for their intro promo.

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Expert’s Verdict: BETDAQ Is Home to the Best Welcome Bonus

Ben Gibson: The top offer on our betting exchange radar right now? BETDAQ’s Get Up To £1,000 Cashback on commission. It’s a standout in a sea of 0% commission deals, offering unmatched value. With this cashback, you can claw back a portion of the commission on your winning bets, which means even lower overround on your selections. Talk about a win-win!

Range of Markets

Betting variety is a key consideration for picking a suitable betting exchange shop. You'll want more than just the standard options, ideally something that keeps pace with what you’d find at a big bookmaker.

Take a moment to see how many sports the exchange lets you bet on and the kinds of bets offered for each. You're looking for both quality and quantity. While some exchanges stick to mainstream sports like cricket, football, and tennis, places like Matchbook and Smarkets throw in niche sports such as darts and snooker, too.

Market depth or betting options per sport is also important.

The rule of thumb here is that more betting options mean more chances to spot a bet that looks too good to pass up. Betting exchange sites like Matchbook go beyond the usual match winner, total, and handicap bets to offer game specials. For instance, the “both teams to score” option has become hugely popular among bettors and is regularly offered for soccer matches at Matchbook.

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Expert’s Opinion: Smarkets Boasts Top Market Variety

Ben Gibson: Smarkets is the undisputed king when it comes to market variety. Not only do they cover 21 different sports, but they also offer a vast number of options within each sport. You can get creative with bets like “X player to win from behind” or bet on a player to win (or not win) with a clean sheet in a tennis match.


Commission on betting exchanges is essentially the fee these platforms charge to facilitate your bets, which is how they make money. It's a different model from traditional bookies, who work their profits into the odds, effectively having a margin “built-in” to every bet you place.

Exchanges, on the other hand, only take a fee from your wins. It's a system that keeps exchanges afloat by facilitating bets rather than betting against you.

Commission rates directly impact your profit. A lower fee means you keep more of what you win, making the commission rate a crucial factor to consider when choosing an exchange. Ideally, you want to find a spot where the service fee doesn't eat too much into your winnings.

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Expert’s Opinion: BETDAQ and Smarkets Offer the Lowest Commission

Ben Gibson: BETDAQ and Smarkets boast the most appealing rates among best betting exchanges, charging a 2% commission on winning bets. Smarkets even dials it down to 1% for their most active bettors, which is a huge plus for high-volume traders. Matchbook also features competitive rates, charging between 2% and 4% on successful wagers. Spreadex takes in 0% commission, but they focus on spread betting, which is a different ballgame than match betting on exchanges.

Choosing a betting exchange often comes down to the payment methods they accept for a pretty straightforward reason: if they don't support your preferred banking option, moving money into or out of your account becomes a challenge. Sure, you could set up a new banking account just for your betting activities, but that's extra effort and not really convenient.

Debit cards are the most prevalent payment method, and are accepted by all our top exchanges. Just enter your card number and CVV, and you're all set to make deposits. Plus, they're almost always eligible for bonuses.

E-wallets are also a staple banking option at betting exchange sites. PayPal betting sites often provide quicker withdrawals than traditional methods like cards or bank transfers. Platforms that accept Skrill not only promise quick transactions but also let users tap into Skrill's own perks, such as its VIP programme for those who frequently use the service.

Although NETELLER betting sites might be a bit rarer, they ensure your banking details remain private and secure with fingerprint ID and SSL encryption.

Other banking options that we’ve seen in betting exchanges include Boku, Google Pay, Trustly, Apple Pay, and paysafecard.

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Expert’s Opinion: Matchbook Supports Varied Payment Methods

Ben Gibson: Matchbook nails it on the banking front. They feature a range of payment options, including bank transfers, Visa and Mastercard debit cards, and popular e-wallets such as Skrill and NETELLER. Plus, with a minimum deposit of just £10, it's an easy and affordable entry point for anyone.

Looking to quickly size up the best betting exchange sites in the UK? Our comparison table breaks down the essential features and benefits, giving you a snapshot of what's on offer.

Betting ExchangeCommissionLivestreamingFixed Odds Betting
Matchbook2% NoNo

Spreadex vs Betfair Comparison

Spreadex differs from traditional exchange betting sites like Betfair by offering payouts based on the accuracy of your bet. Simply put, the better your guess, the bigger your potential payout.

This means that for the same stake, you could win or lose more at Spreadex than at Betfair, where payouts are predetermined. For those who don't mind a bit of extra risk for a shot at higher rewards, Spreadex is a better option. It rewards sharp predictions, making it an attractive choice for risk-takers.

Betfair’s sports coverage is commendable. It offers odds on over 28 sports, which is twice as many as Spreadex covers. The depth of Betfair's markets is also noteworthy; besides the standard bets, you can find more specific football options like First-Half Goals and Both Teams to Score.

Betfair and Spreadex both pack in a lot of betting options. Apart from a bet exchange platform, Betfair also houses a sportsbook, casino, poker, and bingo. SpreadEx offers spread betting on sports and financial markets, plus it has your usual fixed odds betting.

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Expert’s Opinion: The Winner – Spreadex

Ben Gibson: Betfair might dominate in terms of market size and liquidity, but Spreadex wins my vote. It offers tighter spreads than Betfair, which translates to better value. Bettors face less of a gap between selling and buying prices, easing the path to profit. Spreadex has an upper hand thanks to its appealing 0% commission policy, contrasting sharply with Betfair's 5% on winnings. Plus, Spreadex brings to the table perks not always seen on Betfair, such as credit account options and notably more personalised customer service.

Smarkets vs Matchbook Comparison

Smarkets and Matchbook are both quality betting exchange sites.

Smarkets leads the way with betting options across 21 markets, offering four more than Matchbook. It also boasts a broader variety of bets, including some unique options like picking a winner and betting on both players to win a set in tennis matches.

The Smarkets platform is sleek, modern, and full of helpful tools for bettors. Features like advanced charting, market depth information, and customisable alerts for price changes or specific conditions help users stay on top of their game, making it easier to spot and act on betting opportunities.

Matchbook brings its own unique features to the table. Notably, it offers a dynamic profit and loss tool for live betting, which keeps you in the loop with real-time updates of your bets. It adjusts automatically with the odds and game events, helping you make quick, informed decisions on the fly.

Their 0% commission welcome bonus spans over 110 days, longer than Smarkets' 60-day offer. MB also runs promos for regulars like “Bet £20 on multiples and get £5 in free bets every day,” perks that Smarkets misses out on.

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Expert’s Opinion: The Winner – Matchbook

Ben Gibson: For me, Matchbook wins this close battle. They both have an industry-low 2% commission and great apps rated 4.8 on the App Store. However,Matchbook gets ahead with more attractive promotions and stronger market liquidity. Plus, it has a casino and does fixed odds sports betting, products you won't find on Smarkets.

BETDAQ vs Smarkets Comparison

BETDAQ is another upper-echelon betting exchange and one of Smarkets’ biggest competitors.

Both offer betting options across 21 sports, though BETDAQ's market depth is a tad shallower compared to Smarkets. However, BETDAQ still features engaging game props like correct scores. They also provide a suite of API trading tools, including Bet Angel, Geeks Toy, Gruss Software, and BetBot Pro, which streamline the trading process and boost efficiency.

While Smarkets serves up a solid welcome bonus of 0% commission for 60 days, BETDAQ steps it up by offering 0% commission for 100 days, plus a “Get Up to £1,000 Cashback” deal, arguably the best welcome bonus around.

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Expert's Opinion: The Winner — Smarkets

Ben Gibson: While I'm a big fan of BETDAQ, I'm leaning slightly towards Smarkets. Both betting exchange sites charge a 2% commission, yet Smarkets edges out with higher market liquidity and a broader range of betting options. Although some might appreciate the simplicity BETDAQ offers, I’m more drawn to Smarkets for its sleek look and speedy performance. Moreover, Smarkets offers odds for esports, which are lacking at BETDAQ.

Matchbook vs BETDAQ Comparison

In this clash of the Titans, Matchbook and BETDAQ both serve up a wealth of betting options. In terms of sports selection, BETDAQ nudges a bit ahead since it has odds for four more sports than its competitor. They've each got their unique spots, too: BETDAQ has Formula 1, which Matchbook doesn't; and Matchbook lets you bet on entertainment events — something BETDAQ misses out on. You won't find esports betting on either site.

While BETDAQ boasts an impressive suite of tools, Matchbook doesn’t lag behind with features. Their set of extras includes a dynamic tool for live betting, engaging betting podcasts, and the 0% commission betting exchange product, Matchbook Zero.

When it comes to banking options, both betting exchange apps are well-equipped, though BETDAQ adds bank transfers to its list of e-wallets and card options.

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Expert's Opinion: The Winner — Matchbook

Ben Gibson: I really like BETDAQ for its massive welcome bonus and all those handy tools, but Matchbook is where I tend to hang out more. Its iOS app is easier to use (and the ratings back that up), it’s got a deeper pool of bets, and I really dig tools like Bet Builder.

Whether you are a new or existing customer, you will always want to receive the best offers and bonuses from your chosen operator. These can come in the form of several options at betting exchanges, although they are not quite as lucrative as offers provided by sportsbooks and casinos.

The best offers we have seen in regards to free bets come from Betfair Exchange and Matchbook, who grant their new customers a £20 risk-free bet on their first wager. Others such as Smarkets and BETDAQ offer smaller amounts as part of their welcome bonus, which may make you consider alternatives if you're seeking something more generous.

Another alternative to free bets as part of welcome packages is reducing the amount of commission they take from your winning bets. The top operators in the industry are competitive in terms of the percentage they will take from your successful bets. The lowest we have seen is 2%, but they will attempt to lower this further for a period of time, which can see these levels drop to as low as 0%. In the past, we have seen these kind of promotion from Matchbook, BETDAQ, and Smarkets.

Unfortunately, there are downsides to exchange betting promotions. For one, they are not as frequent as offers you may find on regular sportsbooks, and the potential of 0% commission will often be fleeting, as the operator will have to take their cut at some point. Therefore, it is crucial that you capitalise on these offers when they are available.

There are both benefits and elements of risk that come with using betting exchanges. The top platforms online ensure that their customers receive the benefits of premium value on their odds and a wide range of betting markets, while reducing the negative aspects of the system in the process.

The value you can find in your betting odds is one of the advantages of using a betting exchange. Since you’re not betting against a bookmaker, you can define the price yourself if you can find a punter on the other side of the coin. It can be more lucrative betting on the exchange if you’re savvy enough with your odds and markets. Knowing when to bet and what markets to target are crucial to securing a sizeable profit.

You also have the advantage of laying bets, which are not available from a traditional sportsbook. Lining up a wager on an event not to occur can be more beneficial and lucrative, especially on events such as horse racing, when leading contenders can have very narrow odds to win. Betting on the other side of the coin for a loss on their part can increase your profit margins.

The risk element is always a factor when gambling, so you should weigh up all your options before finally placing your wager. Some bets on the exchange may require a minimum stake, which might sway your opinion about lodging your bet. If you surpass a threshold regarding your stake on a certain bet on the exchange, it might not be accepted by the site in question.

When laying against a bet with long odds, you might be susceptible to a hefty payout if the selection wins rather than fails. If you placed a £1 on a 20/1 team/horse to lose and they won, you would be liable to get paid out up to 20 times your stake.

The Gambling Act of 2005 states that all exchanges must hold a licence from the UK Gambling Commission to operate, ensuring they comply with stringent standards for user fairness, transparency, and safety.

Betting exchanges pretty much need the same type of licence as bookies. The UK laws don't make a huge distinction between the two when it comes to licensing; they're both under the watchful eye of the Gambling Commission, ensuring a fair deal for bettors, and they both face a 15% tax rate.

As for taxes for players themselves, here is some good news: punters’ winnings are not subject to General Betting Duty (GBD), meaning what you win is what you keep. That policy has been in place since 2001.

Who can bet? Anyone 18 and up. Betting exchanges, like all gambling platforms, are strict about this and conduct rigorous KYC checks on sign-up. They also have rules to promote responsible gambling, including deposit limits, time-outs, and self-exclusion — the option to step away if it gets too much.

Before you try out exchange betting, be sure that you fully understand the concepts of backing, laying, and matched betting. Keep in mind also that different exchange sites come with varying commission rates.

If you are looking for high-stake liquidity, the best betting exchange for back bets in this regard is Betfair, while Smarkets is the best for lay bets.

To mention yet another operator, BetConnect are a rather new exchange platform, having been launched in 2018. They are accepting commission-free lay bets, making their platform a rather intriguing prospect.

As a summary, we've laid out the main differences between betting exchanges and conventional sportsbooks below.

Exchange Commission vs Bookmaker Margin

Sportsbooks have in place a margin of profit called the bookmaker’s margin, through which they earn profit. Meanwhile, exchanges charge a commission fee on winning bets that usually appears as a percentage (e.g. 2% or 4%).


On a traditional sportsbook, the odds are fixed by the bookmaker themselves, and how competitive they are depends on the popularity of the betting market in question. On the other hand, at betting exchanges, you set the odds yourself — though the quality here also depends on the popularity of your chosen market, as you'll have to find someone to match the price you're offering.

Backing & Laying vs Fixed Markets

A sportsbook does not involve the concept of backing and laying. Players bet on the outcome of an event as is provided by a betting site, and the platform has direct control over placed bets. In contrast, at a betting exchange, you can choose to back or lay an outcome (i.e. wager on something to happen or not to happen respectively). In a sense, you'll be acting as the bookmaker yourself. 

If you came here looking for some of the best betting exchange sites the internet has to offer, we hope that all your most burning questions have been answered! We've done our best to explain the most important terms as clearly as possible, such as backing, laying, and matched betting.

In addition, we've provided a few useful tips on potentially minimising risk, which we think are well worth keeping in mind. So, if you feel ready, simply pick a site from the ones we've recommended above, and try out exchange betting for yourself!

For more information on betting exchanges, you can take a look at the following resources.

  1. 1.

    UK Gambling Commission: Official UK gambling regulator

  2. 2.

    Betting and Gaming Council: Industry association for UK betting companies

  3. 3.

    GambleAware: Charity committed to minimising gambling harm

In our view, Smarkets, Matchbook, and BETDAQ are the top exchange sites for UK customers.

On an exchange, you’ll be betting against fellow punters instead of the bookmaker. Exchanges also allow for lay betting, which means wagering on an outcome not to happen. They also tend to offer more markets compared to traditional sportsbooks.

Although there are quite a few out there, we’ve listed the top five to make things easier for you.

Betfair Exchange is the best site for placing bets on back bets with high liquidity.

Smarkets is the best platform for placing high-stake lay bets due to its robust liquidity.

Yes, betting exchanges are available in certain locations. Read the terms and conditions of the exchange before you sign up to their product.

Yes, betting exchange sites are legal in the UK and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. The minimum legal age to play is 18.

WRITTEN BY Ben Gibson View all posts by Ben Gibson

Ben has been writing professionally for over a decade. His articles are a great outlet for his inexhaustible supply of sporting facts and enthusiasm. He resides in Yorkshire, where his work is powered by the ever-present sound of a kettle.

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