What makes Betfair different from most other betting companies is that it allows customers to make their own odds to operate with other customers at a level that is mutually beneficial. This is known to most in the industry as a betting exchange. In layman’s terms, Betfair allows you to be your own casino.
This unique style of online betting is slowly becoming more popular, with several Betfair alternatives making waves in the industry. But before you dive in, there are a few things you will want to know about Betfair and how it’s run.
How is Betfair Different?
Betfair, the world’s first betting exchange, was launched in June 2000. They introduced a platform that allows customers to choose their own odds, similar to how people on the stock market can choose the price at which to buy and sell shares. Betfair matches all the bets and charges a small (5% or less) commission on any winning bet. This means Betfair doesn’t have to depend on built-in profit margins, like most other bookies, to succeed as a business.
Essentially, customers are betting against each other, not against Betfair. Betfair works like an impartial third party who holds the money until it is given to the winner. And because Betfair doesn’t take a position in the markets, there is no reason to limit stakes or close the accounts of successful bettors.
With over three million registered customers, Betfair provides plenty of competition. According to their website, there are thousands of people competing against each other in an attempt to offer better odds on their opinion so they can have a bet. Typically, this means Betfair offers better odds than those set by a regular bookie.
Additionally, what makes Betfair so popular is that a betting exchange provides greater choice for bettors. With most bookies, if the bookie isn’t willing to risk the odds you desire, it wouldn’t be possible to place your bet. But with a betting exchange, you only have to find another customer willing to take your risk or ‘lay’ your bet. Therefore, you can find both the odds and the markets you want. Exchanges also make it easier for bettors to trade their positions on markets than with traditional bookies.
What About “Back or Lay”?
With this particular format, you don’t have to ‘back’ something if you want to win. Instead, you can take the opposing view and ‘lay’ on a selection. In other words, you can bet that something won’t happen instead of betting that something will happen. With traditional bookies, this option isn’t always available, but at Betfair, you can decide what you want to do and when.
In-Play Betting at Betfair
Another factor that sets Betfair apart is ‘in-play’ betting. This means you can bet while a match or race is underway. You can even ‘back’ or ‘lay’ up until the very end, when the final whistle blows or when the first horse races across the finishing line.
This is especially beneficial to bettors who want to wait and see how a team or horse does in the beginning before deciding which bet to make. Because this is an obvious advantage to bettors, most bookies don’t allow ‘in-play’ betting. But at Betfair, it’s completely legal!
Betfair also made waves in the gambling industry when they became the first online betting company with an app available for download in the Apple store. Their dedication to mobile availability has continued ever since. The Betfair app makes it incredibly easy to navigate markets, stream live events straight from your phone, or play Betfair’s casino and virtual games.
To ensure the safety of its customers, Betfair promotes the GambleAware.co.uk campaign. They remind their customers “When the Fun Stops, Stop,” and provide support as well as promote the message that all customers should bet responsibly and play within limits. Betfair signed a training initiative with Gamcare, a charity that promotes responsible gambling and highlights area that may give people some trouble.
Betfair strives to continuously keep communication open, in the event of integrity or fairness concerns. Their transparent approach allows Betfair to best protect its customers and avoid any significant issues in the years since it first launched.