best betting exchange sites 2021 – benefits and downfalls listed

betting exchange sites on a smartphone

unlike traditional bookmakers, betting exchanges don’t make their money by setting advantageous odds. instead, they typically charge a small commission on winning bets. so the odds tend to be far more competitive than elsewhere. additionally, betting exchanges often offer markets that bookmakers aren’t willing to open. up next, we’ll take a look at the five best betting exchange sites in 2021.


founded in the uk in 2008 by hunter morris and jason trost, smarkets is a peer-to-peer online betting exchange. it mostly focuses on online sports, with a broad range of sports, competitions and international leagues. however, you can also find many interesting political betting markets.

smarkets sees itself as a forward-looking betting exchange, focused on empowering bettors through peer-to-peer technologies. this is reflected in the company’s salary policy, where all employees can peer-review each others’ salaries and adjust their own.

over the past several years, smarkets has been slowly increasing its market share and reach. in 2016, the company became an official sponsorship partner for queens park rangers f.c. later on, in 2018, smarkets sponsored dozens of race days in the jockey club’s calendar.

on the technical side, smarkets offers a dual-tier commission system. select tier customers get a 3% commission on every settled matched bet. meanwhile, pro tier punters get a far lower 1% commission on each matched and settled bet.

new players can expect a welcome bonus upon joining the site. there are occasional offers for returning customers, although far fewer than at a traditional bookmaker. still, smarkets odds tend to be quite attractive compared to most other betting operators in the market.

smarkets pros

  • very attractive betting odds across most markets
  • modest £10 welcome bonus for new players
  • diverse political and sports betting markets
  • sleek mobile apps for android and ios

smarkets cons

  • several payment method restrictions for promotions and bonuses
  • relatively few promotions and offers for returning customers


established in 2001, matchbook was among the first generation of betting exchanges, which also included betfair and flutter. the latter two eventually merged, while matchbook lives on. now matchbook is one of the best betting exchange sites 2021. the site has changed considerably over the years, from a rather primitive interface to a sleek, modern platform.

today, on top of the betting exchange, matchbook offers traditional bookmaker wagering, in-play betting, casino and live casino. it’s a full-fledged online gambling platform. bettors will also find a diversity of promotions and offers within the site, including an appealing welcome bonus. however, most sports betting offers don’t apply to the exchange, only to traditional bookmaker wagers, so keep that in mind.

from a business perspective, matchbook is fairly competitive. uk and roi bettors can expect a 2% commission on net profits while losing bets pay no commission. this offers a middle ground between smarkets’ two commission tiers, while excluding losing bets from paying commissions.

matchbook also provides a lot of interesting and valuable content for gamblers. that includes a dedicated blog with gambling insights, tips for outright markets and much more. the company also operates its own sports betting podcast, with detailed strategies, previews and analyses.

matchbook pros

  • very competitive sports betting odds in the betting exchange
  • abundant promotions and offers for new and returning customers
  • broad range of international sports betting markets
  • robust ios and android mobile apps

matchbook cons

  • most sports betting promotions and offers exclude the betting exchange


spreadex first saw the light of day in bedfordshire, back in 1999. originally, it was a traditional bookie operator, focusing on spread betting in particular. by 2006, though, spreadex launched an online betting exchange and a financial trading platform.

the company went on to add a traditional fixed odds bookmaker service to the site. after a series of acquisitions, spreadex greatly expanded its customer base. shortly afterwards, the company debuted a full online casino, complete with video slots and live dealer tables.

its award-winning platform has been praised for simplifying spread betting for a broad, general audience. if you enjoy betting on a spread, there’s simply no beating spreadex. they offer the best odds on spreads, the most interesting combinations and many spread-exclusive offers.

the betting exchange at spreadex is particularly robust, with a very vast customer base. there’s always a counterparty to take the other side of any wager in virtually every market. like smarkets, spreadex also allows customers to place wagers on political betting markets.

when it comes to fees and commissions, spreadex can be slightly pricier than the competition. traditional bookmaker wagers have no fees, but betting exchange wagers carry a 2 to 5% commission. the higher end of this range is almost twice matchbook’s or smarkets’ commission.

spreadex pros

  • great betting exchange odds for political and sports betting markets
  • sophisticated financial trading products and tools
  • many seasonal and recurring offers and promotions for new & returning customers

spreadex cons

  • slightly steep commission fee structure compared to competitors

betfair exchange

the betfair exchange is one of the three original online betting exchange sites, along with matchbook and flutter. founded in the year 2000 by edward wray and andrew black, it was an early success story in the industry. it also led the way when it comes to sponsorships.

by 2002, betfair became the very first bookmaker to sponsor a premier league team. after the gambling act of 2005 legalized tv and radio ads, betfair marketing became ubiquitous in the uk. in 2010, the company became publicly-listed in the london stock exchange.

today, betfair is widely considered the largest betting exchange in the world. you can find extremely competitive odds for an endless number of markets. that includes both sports betting and political betting markets, around the clock, across the whole world.

when it comes to commissions, the betfair exchange is pricier than the competition. commissions are a flat 5% on all winning wagers. this makes betfair the most expensive exchange from the list, going by commission rates.

new players get access to a decent welcome bonus consisting of risk-free first wager. eligible losing wagers are refunded, up to a certain amount. other than that, most offers on the site are only applicable to traditional fixed odds betting.

betfair exchange pros

  • huge diversity of sports betting and political betting markets
  • solid betting exchange welcome bonus including a risk-free first wager
  • free betfair betting exchange app for ios and android mobile devices

betfair exchange cons

  • high commission rates compared to other exchanges


ladbrokes is one of the most historic bookmakers in the world. founded in 1886, the company has a long trajectory in the british gambling industry. over more than a hundred years, it became a mainstay name in the world of horse racing and general sports betting.

over the years, ladbrokes acquired several competing businesses and bookmakers, finally consolidating its operations in 2018. at the time, the company had already merged with coral plc, creating the ladbrokes coral group.

since then, ladbrokes has managed to translate its dominance in the uk bookmaker industry into online success. with a vast selection of fixed odds betting markets, online casino games and more, it’s a competitive online betting operator.

as a betting exchange, though, ladbrokes leaves a lot to be desired. commission rates are quite high, at 5% per winning wager. adding insult to injury, all ladbrokes exchange wagers are routed through the betdaq exchange, which offers lower commission rates.

in recent years, the company has taken several pr hits due to scandals involving poor oversight of player safety. responsible gambling and anti-money laundering safeguards have also proven to be issues for ladbrokes.

ladbrokes pros

  • established bookmaker with very long history in the market
  • diverse betting markets
  • functional mobile apps for ios and android devices

ladbrokes cons

  • high commission rates
  • all exchange wagers routed through betdaq


founded in alderney in 2000 by dermot desmond, betdaq is a global online betting exchange. it’s the second-largest betting exchange in the world by market share, taking a 7% slice of the market. despite its success, it’s a slender operation with under 100 employees.

while betdaq offers plenty of domestic betting markets, the focus of the company has always been international events. it has an enormous variety of international sports, leagues, tournaments and betting markets.

like matchbook, betdaq charges a flat 2% commission on all winning wagers. this is a relatively competitive rate, only bested by smarkets’ pro tier rates. even better, select sports and markets sometimes feature even lower rates, all the way down to 0%.

betdaq pros

  • very competitive commission rates
  • excellent betting odds for domestic and international betting markets
  • huge diversity of betting markets, including sports betting and politics
  • sleep ios and android mobile apps
  • public api

betdaq cons

  • relatively few offers and promotions for returning customers

ready to try betting exchange sites out?

betting exchange sites are an interesting alternative for wagerers looking for odds that beat the big bookmakers. the freedom to back and lay a wager at any time (including during a match) is also quite a perk.

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