Differences Between Bookmakers and Betting Exchanges

In the betting industry we have bookies, and betting exchanges. Whilst this may initially confuse many punters, we will do our best to reduce confusion between the two by outlining the benefits of both.


Betting exchanges have constantly acted as pests towards bookies, as many punters feel as if they offer more value than standard bookmakers. Exchanges allows punters to bet on many events, just like a bookmaker, against other punters who are betting on the same event. This allows the punters to lock horns, and go head to head, just as you would do in a pub or social setting with your mates.


When an event takes place, a bookmaker will provide their odds for bettors who can look at the various markets and place a stake, for example David Haye to beat Tony Bellew in his rematch at odds of 4/11. These odds will change accordingly as more punters put a stake on that very outcome, as well as punters backing the other outcomes of the fight. Although being restricted to these odds, you can use them to your advantage by seeing if the odds get larger as time goes on.


With a betting exchange you will use your own odds, find someone to bet against, and it’s done! The odds never change, so if both parties stake considerable amounts and use large odds, then one of them will lose a lot of money.


There are many times where betting exchanges have been labelled as superior to bookmakers due to the better odds which are advertised, whilst this is sometimes the case, bookmakers sometimes also advertise higher odds than exchanges.

Margins or Commission?

Whilst the added incentive of using your own odds may seem better with exchanges, they do take commission on your winnings. The commission fee is usually around 2-3%, which isn’t much. If you lose you will not have to pay anything.


With a bookmaker, they will continuously adapt their books so they win no matter the outcome of the event. As mentioned above, some individuals may get lucky and bet on better odds than others. However, this isn’t always the case, bookmakers can lose copious amounts of money.

Backing and Lay Betting

As every casual punter knows, with bookmakers you can back winners, whereas with a betting exchange, you can bet for (back) and against (lay). Simple.

Cashing Out or Trading?

Many bookmakers have started to use ‘cash out’, where the punter presses a button during in-play events or tournaments that are live. This function allows customers to run off with their money if the event isn’t going their way, or if they’re too nervous to wait for the event to finish.


With betting exchanges, it is identical to trading on the stocks, where punters back and lay outcomes of the particular event. You can back or lay based on the direction that they event is going in, this is to ensure more profits are made.


Whilst both have their benefits, it would be recommended to use both forms of betting, as you WILL lose out on huge profits if you decide to limit your betting to a bookmaker or betting exchange.