Online Betting Exchanges vs Online Bookmakers The Differences and Pros and Cons
When it comes to placing bets there are fundamentally two options that are open to you. These are betting exchanges and bookmakers (for the purposes of this article, when I say bookmaker I am generally referring to online and high street bookies).
Both of these operate in massively different ways and so comparing and contrasting the two options can be difficult, but through examining the pros and cons, it is my intent to decide which options works best for different types of bettors.
I feel that it is necessary at this point to add a disclaimer of sorts, something that I wouldn’t normally do.
But any opinions that I express or any odds or “real time” information is entirely at the time of writing. With that awkwardness out of the way, we can start to get stuck in.
The reason for this review is aminly due to all the conflicting information that is online regarding bookmakers, betting exchanges and the parity between them.
In fact, it has been claimed that bookmakers themselves have been known to use betting exchanges when they get things wrong themselves. Bookmakers generate the odds for certain ‘events’, but as they are human themselves they sometimes get this wrong.
Who would have thought it… 🙂
So if a bookmaker generates odds for an event, and the event starts to go against them, creating a loss, then they have been known to use betting exchanges to offset the risk, and back against their own odds.
There are probably more shenanighans going on behind the scenes than we realise, but we will stick to the facts in this review, and try to filter down the key differences, and what I feel you should know.
- 1 A brief history of bookmaking in the UK
- 2 What is a betting exchange?
- 3 What are the main betting exchanges?
- 4 Betfair
- 5 Smarkets
- 6 Betdaq
- 7 How do bookmakers work?
- 8 Increasing and decreasing winning chances
- 9 What are the advantages of a betting exchange?
- 10 What are the disadvantages of a betting exchange?
- 11 Who are the main online bookmakers?
- 12 William Hill
- 13 Ladbrokes
- 14 Coral
- 15 Bet365
- 16 Paddy Power
- 17 Betfair
- 18 SkyBet
- 19 Pinnacle
- 20 What are the advantages of a bookmakers?
- 21 Different type of bets that can be placed
- 22 What are the disadvantages of a bookmakers?
- 23 Which represents better value?
- 24 Guaranteed Betting Exchange Profits
- 25 Example of Betting value differences
- 26 Which is the better option?
- 27 Conclusion on Bookies V’s Betting Exchanges
A brief history of bookmaking in the UK
Once upon a time, all betting that took place was a standard gentleman’s agreement.
This is the kind of bet that you make down the pub, with a mate. “Bet you a tenner United beat Liverpool this weekend”. This changed in the late 18th century with Harry Ogden who is widely considered to be the first bookmaker in the UK.
By 1845, gambling was restricted in the UK to race tracks with bookmakers existing exclusively track side. This is where the oft used image of the bookie, leaning against his stall with a ledger, a stand offering his latest odds and a wad of cash stems from.
It is also an image that continues to exist even today, albeit on a much lesser scale.
In 1961, betting shops were legalised and betting moved away from the race track with anybody being able to place bets. This led to the growth of some of the major high street branded bookies that you see today (such as William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral).
The next major step for bettors was the foundation of online betting. In fact, when online gambling first started in 1994, bookmakers showed little interest.
This didn’t stop the benefits attracting punters however it wasn’t until the early 2000’s when the scope of online betting was exposed that high street bookmakers started to get involved.
One the main high street bookmakers started to get online, the first digital bookmakers (i.e. one’s without a “bricks and mortar” business) started to appear.
Some businesses gave up on the physical arm to exist entirely online (with Bet 365 being the most prominent example) which have allowed them to grow at a much faster rate than they perhaps would with a high street presence.
When Betfair exploded onto the scene as the first betting exchange, it broke the mould of what bettors can do and completely altered the landscape in term of professional betting. All of a sudden, people were betting amongst themselves on an international scale.
In fact, Betfair caused some controversy amongst bookmakers as they were worried about people laying bets taking their business away.
With the success of Betfair quickly established, various other betting exchanges have since been established, both independent and also owned by bookmakers. Likewise, Betfair has made the move from a betting exchange to offering standard bookmaker services. Needless to say, it completely changed the face of what people expected from betting.
What is a betting exchange?
A betting exchange is a massive online environment in which users are able to make bets with one another. The betting exchange then “holds” the money until an outcome is determined. The loser then pays out based on the odds that have been agreed.
There is also a BBC website page that details in basic terms what a Betting exchange is: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7109494.stm (look at it at the end of this review if you want), I spent a lot of time on this review 😛
This leads me to one of the key features of a betting exchange. When you offer a bet, you can set the odds that you want on a horse and if somebody is looking to match it, you will get it.
With a betting exchange you can bet on almost anything
(with different betting exchanges have different specialties) with the biggest examples such as Betfair offering coverage of pretty much any sport or event that you can think of. This includes obvious things like horse racing and football to the Turner Prize and even the weather!
When it comes to a betting exchange there are two types of bets that can be placed.
You can either back an event to happen or you can lay an event. To back is to bet something will occur (for example a horse winning a race) whilst to lay is to bet against an event (to use the same example, you are betting that the horse won’t win). The laying of bets is a very important aspect of betting exchanges as it allows everyday punters to act as a bookmaker.
(Image Copyright BBC.co.uk)
This was one of the key breakthroughs when Betfair went live and part of what was such a shakeup in terms of how people bet. Suddenly, bettors weren’t tied down to set odds and those in the know were able to make a lot of money through laying bets. Betting exchanges were also where the idea of betting in play first originated with people switching from a back bet to a lay bet mid race.
All of this brings me on to the subject of liquidity. You may well here this a lot but actually understanding liquidity can seem complicated. Essentially, it refers to the amount of money that is being traded on a given event.
Obviously the bigger the exchange and the bigger the event, the more liquidity will be available. You should also consider the type of bets; as more obscure bet types are likely to be harder to match.
Betting exchanges have also become favourable for bettors with a distinctive system as they allow “bots” to bet on your behalf. Bots can be programmed to follow a strict betting criteria, which when met, they will place a pre approved stake on your bet. There are some bettors who have this kind of operation running on servers that are betting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What are the main betting exchanges?
There are a fair few betting exchanges that currently operate and these range from tiny little affairs dealing in very specific bets to the giants of the industry. In terms of the main betting exchanges, I have chosen to focus on what I consider to be the main three. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but aims to look at the examples that people will be most familiar with.
Betfair is undisputedly the biggest betting exchange in the world. It was also arguably the first. Betfair has held onto the mantle of biggest exchange by a considerable margin.This allows them to retain the most liquidity and as such, is the easiest place to get you bets matched.
Betfair are however at the top end of the scale in terms of the commission that they take with 5% of your profits being paid back to them. Betfair also charge their top 0.5% (approximately) of traders an additional (and rather significant) commission although this will only apply to a very small minority of bettors.
Smarkets is somewhat smaller than Betfair, however it is by far and away the second biggest betting exchange, at least in terms of liquidity (as I will look at below). Smarkets does come with a bit of a reputation for smaller niche bets, especially when looking at some of the more obscure football leagues.
As an exchange, Smarkets is has also developed a well known name for its political betting as well. Smarkets is actually one of the newer entrants to the market however they seem to have capitalised on this and avoided mistakes that other betting exchanges have made. In terms of commission, Smarkets charge just 2% which is a significant discount on the typical 5% that Betfair charge.
The next betting exchange that I want to look at is Betdaq. These were once a larger scale betting exchange that were bought out by the bookmakers firm Ladbrokes. Some people would argue that Betdaq is the second largest betting exchange in the world, however for my liking, it lacks a number of markets that other betting exchanges do.
This makes Betdaq a viable alternative to some degree, but the fact is that their main appeal lies in the commission as Betdaq charge just 2% commission rather than Betfair’s 5%.
As I have mentioned, these aren’t by any stretch of the imagination all of the betting exchanges out there, I feel that they probably qualify as “the big 3”. Obviously liquidity is king when looking at a betting exchange which is how Betfair managed to get to the top and stay there, however too much liquidity can affect the odds that are on offer as there is a tendency for people to bet with market trends.
To give an idea of the liquidity between the different betting exchanges I have looked at 3 different events, all of which are on the most straightforward “to win” bet. The 16:25 race at Wolverhampton (just before the off), the Euro 2016 game between Portugal and Wales (which takes place tomorrow) and to mix things up, the next leader of the conservative party.
- For the horse race: Betfair had matched £370,750 worth of bets, Betdaq had matched £160,191 of bets and Smarkets had matched £57,759 worth of bets.
- For the football: Betfair had matched £1,438,193 worth of bets, Betdaq had matched £39,884 of bets whilst Smarkets had matched £792,955.
- For the politics: Betfair had matched £2,689,044 worth of bets, Betdaq had matched £27,551 whilst Smarkets had matched £52,868.
This highlights the differences in where bettors choose to place their bets. It also shows why it is important to not simply tie your money down to one exchange or another.
How do bookmakers work?
As I have mentioned already, there are two types of bookmakers. There are those who are online and those that offer a physical presence. One of the main differences between the two is what kind of bets you can place. For example, online bookies will often have a list of bets and odds that they are taking for a given day.
If you walk into a bookmakers however, many of the larger companies will accept bets on almost anything. These have ranged from things like whether it will snow on a certain date to (allegedly) one man betting that Elvis will crash a UFO into Loch Ness, hitting the monster as he does so (if you believe it, at odds of 20,000,000/1).
Bookmakers offer a much simpler setup when compared with a betting exchange. Instead of making an agreement with another bettor, you agree to take odds that have been set by a bookmaker. The odds themselves are usually handled by large back room staff whose job it is to determine the possibility of an outcome. Bookmakers will typically cover themselves against losses by placing their own bets as well.
(Image Copyright BBC.co.uk)
The process is not what makes betting with bookmakers interesting though. Instead it is the sheer variety of bet types that are available. Whereas betting exchanges restrict you to simply placing one bet per event, bookies will allow you to bring together multiple bets, often with huge odds, all of which are designed to entice and excite.
Increasing and decreasing winning chances
Depending which type of ‘bet’ you decide on, can however, represent a fantastic way of increasing the value of your bet. It does however increase the changes of losing. This is because out of however many bets you include with an accumulator, if one fails, the whole bet fails.
One way in which bookmakers are able to excel where betting exchanges struggle is in terms of offers. The fact is that every bookie on the planet is always running some offer or another. These range from free bets to increased odds and even money back.
This has led to an offshoot of betting known as bonus bagging (which I have covered before now in various reviews) which involves taking advantage of bonuses to bet without any risk, for more details on taking advantage of the bonuses on offer, you may wish to take a look at Mike’s popular product, by clicking here.
There are however a number of issues that come with bookmakers that aren’t a problem with betting exchanges (and I will look at these a little later on), most of which can be boiled down to the fact that bookies don’t like to lose.
A Short Documentary on Bookmaker Changes:
What are the advantages of a betting exchange?
There are some very clear advantages to using a betting exchange in my book and without a doubt, the most prominent of these is having the ability to lay bets. This is a method that is used by a number of different bettors in order to make a decent income. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly apparent that lay betting is very much “here to stay” and perhaps more importantly, it is becoming an increasingly popular and viable method of betting.
The other clear advantage to a betting exchange is the ability to set up a robot to bet for you. This type of set and forget income is the dream of most people who want to make money online and honestly, this is possibly as close as you can get to this (albeit with some risk).
Another of the main advantages that comes with using a betting exchange (and isn’t something that I have really touched upon before now) is that there can be much more value in bets. Unfortunately, this rarely applies to favourites which often have odds in line with bookmakers. Instead, it is if you are betting on those with longer odds.
This is because bookmakers have to keep their odds in line with ensuring profit.
With a betting exchange however, people are free to make their own choices which means getting odds of upwards of 150/1 where a bookie might only offer 33/1.
What are the disadvantages of a betting exchange?
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to using a betting exchange is simply that they are more complicated than a bookmaker. This might seem like a petty point but it is actually quite important. Anybody starting out betting on a betting exchange should expect to get things wrong for a small amount of time, simply because you have to figure out how to bet “by yourself” so to speak.
Any bets that you want to place have to be matched. This can mean that you may ultimately end up trying to make bets that aren’t being taken up. This is compared to a bookie where you don’t get to set the odds, but you are guaranteed to have your bet accepted.
The other disadvantage of using a betting exchange (albeit a small one) is the commission. Presuming that you are using Betfair, taking 5% of all of your profits can add up.
When laying, you can really stand to lose a lot of money. Don’t forget that you are setting odds that people are betting at which means that you ultimately have to pay out the stake on whatever odds that you have agreed. I have known of people lose a month of profits with one badly placed lay bet.
The final disadvantage for me when it comes to betting exchanges is that you can only place one bet at a time. This means that taking advantage of the additional value that accumulators and the like bring is out of the question.
The following video from SMarkets explain in some more detail how betting exchanges work:
Who are the main online bookmakers?
When it comes to online bookmakers there are so many that simply choosing the “main” ones is almost impossible. Instead, what I have tried to do here is to focus on the best known brands. I have picked out the big three high street bookmakers as well as a few online bookies that I also feel merit a little extra attention.
The first bookmaker that I will look at is arguably the largest in the UK, William Hill. With a strong online and physical presence, William Hill are probably a lot of people’s first choice. They offer a multitude of betting types and cover a massive variety of sports. Unfortunately, there is a lot of negative feedback surrounding them with people having a number of problems with live betting and even in some cases withdrawals.
There have been a number of negative comments particularly aimed at their customer service.
The next is another of the “Big 3”, Ladbrokes. Ladbrokes is significantly less popular than William Hill and on a personal level, I believe that a lot of this is down to how confusing their website is. Ladbrokes is something of a middle of the road bookmaker. It doesn’t really do anything wrong, but I don’t think that it does anything particularly exceptional either. The one thing that can be said for them is that they often have some very good offers in place and these are all neatly in one place.
The next bookmaker is the last of the big 3, Coral. When compared to William Hill and Ladbrokes, Coral is consistently voted the worst. They offer terrible customer service by almost all accounts, there are numerous complaints of accounts being closed or suspended for no reason (with no way to get your money back) and they are ridiculously quick to restrict winning accounts.
Their bonuses are often not applied to your account as well which means that those who are signing up for that may face a double whammy of disappointment (when your account is closed as well). Of the traditional big 3, Coral is definitely the one to avoid, unless of course you plan to frequently lose.
The next bookmakers that I am going to look at operate exclusively online. These offer a big move away from a traditional “bricks and mortar business” and this is reflected in how they operate, especially in terms of type of bets etc.
Since it went live as an online only bookmaker, Bet365 has very much gone on to take the crown in terms of popularity. There are a number of reasons for this but the most obvious is variety. Bet 365 will let you bet on almost anything, and there are a huge number of different ways you can bet on this anything. Whilst there are some complaints about withdrawals with Bet 365, these are generally few and far between and are hugely outweighed by positive reviews.
The negative reviews that I have looked out very rarely have a consistent theme and many complaints seem to be one offs (with the exception of several complaints about account limiting). With this in mind, Bet365 is probably one of the safest bets that you can use if are using an online bookmaker.
The next online bookmaker that I want to mention is one that is probably more well known for their PR stunts than their bookmaking. Paddy Power are usually in the media for their almost laddish approach to advertising. This has included things like an advert featuring a blind football team kicking a cat instead of the ball, recreating Da Vinci’s Last Supper to show Jesus gambling and even putting a “jockey” on the Uffington White Horse (a prehistoric hill figure).
As you may expect from a company that takes this approach to betting, the reviews for Paddy Power aren’t great with a lot of complaints of bad customer service, accounts being closed and bonuses not being honoured. In fact, the only reason that I felt the need to include them is their media presence.
I have already mentioned that as well as running the largest betting exchange, Betfair also operate a more traditional bookmaker service called the Betfair Sportsbook. Response to Betfair as a bookmaker is generally positive with odds generally a little higher than most bookmakers.
One of the most frequent complaints surrounding Betfair’s bookmaker service is that they are quick to restrict accounts that are doing well although Betfair’s response is usually that accounts follow suspicious betting patterns. It is worth pointing out that one account does allow you to bet on the sports book as well as using the exchange which some bettors may find easier to manage.
Not surprisingly, SkyBet are mostly concerned with football betting, namely because there is a lot of tie in with Sky Sports and their Premier League games. As a bookmaker, SkyBet is generally considered to be rather middle of the road. It doesn’t do anything particularly well, but nor does it really put a foot wrong.
The only real issues that I can see with SkyBet is that their bonuses are sometimes less generous than other bookies and the odds aren’t always the best. Otherwise, they are consistently ranked as one of the better bookmakers in the UK and as such, are a pretty safe bet.
Pinnacle are worth mentioning simply because they are one of the more open and best quality bookmakers that are available. They are a global bookmaker and if you look at reviews for them, they are almost all universally positive. Pinnacle offer some of the best coverage I have seen in terms of sports and bet types, so much so that it can seem overwhelming at first glance.
One of the most important things that is worth pointing out about Pinnacle is that their betting margin is significantly less than most bookies.
You will notice that I haven’t mentioned this figure for any of the other bookmakers I have looked at as they are all around the 5% mark. Pinnacle’s betting margin is a comparatively miniscule 2.3%. This means that generally speaking, Pinnacle pay out substantially more than most bookmakers, a fact that on its own makes them worth subscribing to.
What are the advantages of a bookmakers?
As a clear counterpoint to the fact that betting exchanges are complicated affairs, online bookmakers are much easier to use. Everything is laid out clearly for you and is all but guaranteed should you win (although this isn’t always the case as I will look at). This is the reason that the majority of casual bettors will gamble through a bookmaker rather than through a betting exchange.
The second advantage of bookmakers lie in the ability to place accumulator bets. These can massively improve your odds by increasing the number of events that must occur (and resultantly, your risk increases). What this does mean however, is that you can take a number of bets that you see as “sure things” and combine them to get odds of 10/1 instead of 4 bets at 7/5 each (these are only hypothetical numbers).
Once again, this is a style of betting that suits casual punters although they aren’t the only ones to benefit from this.
Because bookmakers do allow accumulator bets, this opens the door to bet on things like Trixie bets (a treble with 3 doubles), Patent bets (a Trixie with singles) a Yankee bet (6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator for all 4 bets to come in). There are also then “lucky” bets which involve increased variations on the theme.
Different type of bets that can be placed
These aren’t however often used by casual bettors, but many horse racing enthusiasts will place these kinds of bets in order to get the most value out of just a few selections.
Another one of the biggest appeals for bookies is something called best odds guaranteed. Now, not every bookmaker offers this service, but for those that do, it does exactly what it says on the tin. In the run up to horse race, the odds on a horse will often fluctuate hugely (something that can be seen on betting exchanges in real time).
If when a race starts, the odds would have been better on a horse than the odds you backed it on with the bookmaker, you get the “best odds”. This means if you’d backed a horse at 3/1 before the race and the odds drifted to 7/1, your bet would win at the higher number.
The final argument for using a bookmaker is the bonuses. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bonuses on offer from bookies at any given time that can range from a few free bets to doubling or even trebling your initial deposit. This can allow any serious bettor to very quickly establish a much larger betting bank than they would start out with on a betting exchange.
Yes, these do usually come with terms and conditions (which are always worth reading) but with the right approach (again, bonus bagging comes to mind), you can bet with the bookies money rather than your own.
What are the disadvantages of a bookmakers?
Just as there are disadvantages to using a betting exchange, there are disadvantages to using a bookmaker and I feel that I should address what is by far and away the biggest problem first. As I’ve already hinted at, bookmakers hate to lose. They hate losing money almost as much as you like winning it. This means that if you are a successful bettor, there are a number of ways that your betting account can go.
The most extreme (and in some ways, the most well known) is that your accounts simply get closed. If you are making too much money from a bookmaker, they will outright stop you betting.
One of the main disadvantages of bookmakers is that it is said they are less willing to take risks on the type of customers they allow to do business with them, and the following is a fantastic little snippet, and conversation between a bookmaker and critics:
If they choose not to go this far with things, you may be slapped with severe restrictions on how much you can stake or even what odds you will be offered. I have heard accounts of numerous people being told they cannot win more than x pounds off a bet or that they cannot stake more than a few quid.
One of the more apparent issues when betting with a bookmaker, is that there is very little in the way of flexibility on odds. Whilst the competition between bookies can drive odds up as they compete, the fact remains that from one bookmaker to another, there is very little difference.
For example, using Wales vs Portugal as an example, of the bookmakers that I have looked at, 3 are offering 6/5 whilst the other three are offering 23/20 which is as near as makes a difference, 5/4.
Which represents better value?
As I have demonstrated, there are very clear pros and cons in terms of what kind of betting you are involved in. Personally, I am of the opinion that it can roughly be broken down thusly, if you are a casual punter, you are better off with bookies. If you take things seriously then you are better on a betting exchange. Unfortunately, this isn’t a set rule however I will try to explain my rationale.
It all comes down to the reason that you bet. Whilst there are thousands of reasons that people gamble, I personally feel that ultimately there are 3 different categories (ignoring gambling addiction which is an article in its own rights). There are professional or serious bettors, there are casual punters and there are those who bet purely for the thrill.
Chances are you know somebody who falls into the latter 2 categories. Those who bet £20 on a Champions League game for some extra “spends” over the weekend, or the mate who has a quid on an obscure accumulator, mostly for the buzz of seeing how close they can get to a win. For the purposes of this article I have lumped these two into “casual” bettors. Serious bettors are more complex, and rightly so I have looked at them below.
If you are a serious bettor, that is to say that you rely on betting as a part of your income, then you need your betting to be sustainable. The fact is that you cannot do this when you are forever at risk of having your accounts closed. There are also a number of additional factors to consider as well. In my experience, most bettors who are reliant on betting for an income or claim to be professionals, all put a focus on value.
What this means is looking for underrated outsiders and getting the best possible odds on them. Because bookmakers limit the odds that they offer in order to protect their profits, this can mean that you miss out on income potential when compared with a betting exchange.
Guaranteed Betting Exchange Profits
I also cannot leave this review without mentioning the very popular hedging product that many people are now using by a gentleman called Tony Langley, who has created a set of systems that guarantee a profit is made on the betting exchanges no matter what the outcome. You can read my review on Tony’s product here.
Example of Betting value differences
To provide an example of this difference, I have selected a horse at random that is atypical of odds for a value bet. Maazel is in the top 4 horses in a 9 horse race according to Betfair’s betting exchange and the bookies. On here you can get odds of 6.0 which translates to 5/1 odds.
Betfair’s bookmaker arms is offering 4/1 and so you can see that you would increase your profit by 1 point (the amount that you stake) per bet. If you are consistently betting based on value, 1 point per bet can be the difference between making and breaking a betting bank in the long term.
For many people who bet seriously, bookmakers serve mostly to allow them to take advantage of offers and to place some of the more exotic bet types as they can massively compound the profitability. Otherwise, they serve limited use.
Which is the better option?
For Joe Average who wants to bet £20 on the football or fancies a tenner on the horses on a Saturday morning, there is no arguing that bookmakers are the better option. Bookies are easy to use and easy to follow. There is also the chance to make your betting money go further with the offers. Where a professional might put £1,000 aside for betting for a month, a casual punter is looking to add £20 to their betting wallet when there is a bet to place.
This means that deposit bonuses are almost always welcome and available. There is also money back on popular bets such as team to win or player to score.
Accumulators add their own value when dealing with bookies but I feel that this is in a much more approachable way when compared to betting exchanges. It is easier for a football fan to pick 3 games he thinks will win or a fan of horse racing to identify a couple of horses that he fancies (or has even taken from the Sunday paper’s resident tipster) and to double them up as well as betting on each to win.
As I’ve mentioned several times, this increases the risk and to a professional bettor, increasing risk is a no go. A casual punter however is less risk averse and is usually looking for a win rather than consistency.
Ultimately, and this might seem like a bit of a cop out, but asking which provides the better value out of a betting exchange and a bookie depends entirely on how you bet and what you bet on. The only thing that I feel is really left to say is that if you are willing to put in a bit of time, you should have as many accounts as possible with different reputable bookmakers and betting exchanges.
This is because whilst there are certain rules that each follow, there is one over arcing rule, value can ultimately be found anywhere.
Conclusion on Bookies V’s Betting Exchanges
The conclusion is, that it really depends what you are going to use each venue for.
With betting exchanges you are betting, or trading against another human being – in most cases (unless the bookmaker has entered the event to drop off a load of risk against a mistake they have made), and therefore it is much more straight forward.
With direct bookmakers, they are really to be looked at as accountants, because they are advertising this ‘fun factor’, but the reality is, they are a money making machine, and if you have too much ‘fun’ you can be sure they will close your accounts down, which is my personal gripe with them.
In fact, the following is a great video by well known Betfair trader Peter Webb, and how he was banned by bookmakers because he was ‘winning too much’, and this will open your eyes to what really happens with bookmakers and how they are effectively picking, and choosing losing customers only:
In my opinion, bookmakers are only interested in losing customers, because anything else affects their bottom line profits, and this means they are, and must be only choosing customers who lose.
Not ethical in my book!
On the other hand, betting exchanges make their commissions from the actual transaction, irrespective on who ‘wins’, or ‘loses’, so there is more transparency there – for now at least 🙂
Only fairly recently Paddy Power have merged with Betfair, so the line between betting exchanges and bookmakers has already started to merge closer, becoming blurred, and many suspect that this could be the start of the decline for betting exchanges and the massive advantages they currently hold over conventional bookmakers.