Betfair Exchange Guide

Betfair ExchangeBetting on Betfair puts a whole different slant on the traditional bookmaker-punter relationship, allowing individuals to effectively bet against each other at odds they specify. Betfair is the most popular betting exchange with an extensive range of markets from which to bet on 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Many customers exclusively bet on Betfair given its ease of use, unique person-to-person betting experience and extensive inplay offering.

Betfair Background

Betfair was launched back in June 2000 and at its cornerstone was a betting experience based on a stock exchange concept, where individuals place bets against each other and therefore can set the odds they wish to place bets at. The basic idea was to provide a much fairer, transparent and ultimately competitive betting market as the middleman (i.e. the bookmaker) was removed from the equation.

The fundamental and most controversial change that betfair introduced into the gambling sector was the ability for everyday punters to lay bets on all outcomes as well back bets as possible with traditional bookmakers. The ability to lay a bet was virtually impossible for all but the most well connected gamblers. To lay a bet is the opposite of backing, so for example if you were to lay Manchester United in the Premier League football fixture between Manchester United vs Arsenal you would essentially be betting in favour of either Arsenal winning the match or the match ending in a draw. To lay an outcome is to bet against that outcome happening.

The response from the main traditional bookmakers was to infer that by enabling punters to lay a bet this could potentially encourage and result in corruption in betting markets. The argument went that in some sports, say Horse Racing, it could be reasonably easy to ensure a horse does not win a race and so a moral hazard would be created by proliferation of such an exchange. There is no doubt that corruption is possible and has occurred, however Betfair have very stringent analytics which are able to highlight suspicious patterns and these concerns have abated in recent years.


Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account

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