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Exchange betting is a form of betting that removes the need for a bookmaker, by allowing individuals to place wagers with each other. While traditional sports betting with a bookmaker is still commonplace, the use of betting exchanges has become increasingly popular since they were first introduced online around the start of the 21st century.

We explain how exchange betting differs from traditional sports betting, and look at how betting exchanges work. We also discuss the main advantages of placing wagers in this way.

The basic concept of exchange betting is very straightforward. It's similar to traditional sports betting in many ways, as you are still risking money on the outcome of an event, but there are a couple of major differences.

The first major difference is that there is no bookmaker involved. Instead, any wagers you place are with other bettors. On a betting exchange you have two main options: You can accept wagers that are being offered by others, at odds they have chosen, or propose wagers for others to accept, and set the odds yourself.

The second major difference is that you have the choice between backing selections and laying them. Backing a selection means you are betting on it to win, while laying a selection means you are betting on it to lose. It is not usually possible to lay selections with bookmakers, so this opens up a whole new range of betting opportunities.

Advantages of Exchange Betting

The single biggest advantage of exchange betting is one that we have already mentioned – the ability to lay as well as back. This creates opportunities for making money that you simply don't have with a traditional bookmaker. In many circumstances it is a lot easier to find a winning wager when laying a selection to lose, than it is when backing a selection to win.

The final main advantage of using exchanges is a big one for sharp bettors who consistently make money. The exchanges make their money by taking a small commission on all winning bets, so it doesn't matter to them who is winning and who is losing.

There are a couple of disadvantages of using exchanges too, but they are fairly minor. The biggest drawback is that you may not always be able to stake as much as you want on a particular selection if no-one is willing to take the opposing position. This is unlikely to be a major problem though, unless you are looking to regularly stake very large amounts.
It's unlikely that exchange betting will ever replace traditional sports betting, as bookmakers will always have a role to play. It is a great alternative though, and one that many bettors would benefit from using.

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