Our review compares Betfair to all the other betting exchanges out there and covers all unique offerings Betfair have for punters. Betfair are the world’s biggest and best exchange so if it’s backing or laying you’re after then it’s the place for you.
Given Betfair offer the highest liquidty and most markets on their exchange they’re my go to site for sports trading and I’ve had an account for over 10 years.
I’ve also used their bookmaker service during that period and am pleased to report I’ve never had issues getting money on or off the site.
All new punters at Betfair can claim one of the biggest sign up offers available when they join but it’s for bets placed on the sportsbook and not exchange. It’s still a sweet deal though and one of the biggest bonuses around.
Licensing & Safety
Betfair is the world’s biggest online betting exchange and are based in Gibraltar, therefore all of the actions of the site are regulated and licensed by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner under the Gambling Act 2005.
They’ve also managed to get a UKGC license so they can serve the United Kingdom freely. Basically this means that the site is regulated by two highly respectable organizations and that it can be trusted. The terms of the licenses mean that Betfair must:
- Ensure that minors are unable to use the site for gambling purposes, until they are old enough to understand the risks that they take.
- Make sure that all of their actions are completely fair to all, and transparent to everyone.
- Provide assistance to anyone with a gambling related problem after using their site.
Given that the majoirty of bets placed on Betfair are punter vs punter transactions and not punter vs bookmaker you can live safe in the knowledge that payouts are guaranteed as Betfair hold the funds while the bet takes place.
As a publicly traded company, with profits into the millions, you don’t need to worry about payouts from the bookmaker side of things either.
Deposits & Withdrawals
£5 – £20,000
£5 – £20,000
£5 – £20,000
£5 – £6,000
£10 – £32,500
£10 – £32,500
£10 – £20,000
£5 – £400
Up to 5 days
£10 – £100,000
Up to 10 days
£10 – £50,000
Markets & Odds
Betfair is one of the better known names in the United Kingdom online gambling world, thanks to a number of high profile television adverts. They are the largest most active betting exchange in the world and have good liquidity throughout their different markers. These are:
- American football
- Australian rules
- Greyhound racing
- Horse racing
- Ice hockey
- Motor sport
- Olympic sports
- Rugby league
- Rugby union
- Winter sports
They also offer markets on more obscure things, such as politics and television series.
As well as offering a huge number of markets, the depth that these markets go to is also impressive. You will be able to find odds for the most popular of matches all the way through to the most obscure, as the coverage that they provide aims to be all encompassing.
Just looking at the football listings shows this – at the time of writing, they have matches between international teams listed next to clashes from the Chilean league! Not only do they have basic odds either – all matches have comprehensive coverage, with a multitude of different bets which of course have both back and lay options.
Naturally the more obscure the event you are placing a bet on the lower the liquidity will be. This is a problem which doesn’t affect many markets at Betfair and when you compare them to their closest rivals Betdaq it’s clear to see that Betfair are by far and away the market leaders.
The bet in-play section of Betfair is one of the most impressive aspects of the site, as it offers everything that you will need to both bet and trade sports live, all presented in a completely intuitive way. You can simply go onto the main page and select the match in question, where you will find all of the odds, which change as the match progresses.
Betfair automatically refreshes odds every few seconds so you can track the market as people back and lay different outcomes. Markets are suspended for only a few moments when game changing incidents occur. Trading in play on Betfair is the bread and butter of many online professional gamblers – it’s just the best money making platform you’ll find in the sports gambling industry and you be pleased to know all features on the desktop site are also available via the Betfair app.
Live Streaming at Betfair…
Betfair is one of the only bookies to offer a comprehensive live streaming service to all members, and it can be found by selecting the “Live Video” tab on the “Sports” page.
The range of different events that it shows is absolutely stunning, with international cricket, a huge amount of horse races and football matches from around the globe all regularly found here. All of the upcoming events are listed on the right of the window so that you never miss the one that you are waiting for.
To watch live streams at Betfair one of the follow must apply:
- You have a funded betting account or have bet in the last 24 hours (excluding horse racing).
- You have at least a 50p bookmaker bet on the horse race.
- You have a min of £5 on the horse race on the exchange.
- £100 free bet bundle
- 5x £10 releases £20 free bet
- Repeatable up to £100
- Min odds 1.50 to release
You’ll find that Betfair are currently offering all their new customers a free bet bundle worth up to £100 when they open a new account (released in £20 chunks). This offer is only valid for bets placed via their sportsbook section and not the betting exchange.
This is where we have to start marking Betfair down. They are trying to push their customers towards the sportsbook when it’s likely they signed up to use the betting exchange. It’s certainly not shady but it’s confusing and obviously they make more money from the sportsbook so it’s a little sneaky.
To claim the bonus follow these steps:
- VISIT Betfair.com by clicking this link (it will open in a new browser tab).
- Click either a green ‘Claim Now’ button or one of the ‘Join Now’ links on the homepage.
- Fill out all the requested details and make a username and password for your account.
- The bonus code field should automatically be filled out, if not use code: ZBBC01
- Log into your newly created account and deposit £10 or more using your preferred method.
- Place 5x £10 bets on different markets at any odds of 1.50 or more and that will trigger a £20 free sportsbook bet.
- Repeat the process until £100 in free bets has been released.
We rate all the betting sites we review with a grade based on the quality of the site and the way they treat their customers.
Betfair have been given 3.5 stars out of 5 which is the fourth highest possible. There are a couple of issues we’d like to make you aware of which are the reasons why we’ve not graded them any higher.
The first issue we have with Betfair is the fact that they are far to keen to put the cost of processing financial transactions onto their customers. A large percentage of the deposit options available at Betfair will cost punters when they use them and we feel that Betfair should really be paying the 1.5-2% processing fee’s that they charge themselves.
Deposit fee’s aside there’s one another issue with have with Betfair that’s even more concerning. In July 2011 they decided to up the commission for everyone who’s won over £250,000 on Betfair to 40% and higher. Basically this means that if you are a successful high stakes punter (using the exchange) then Betfair don’t want to know you – even though they match bets between people and don’t act as a bookmaker.
They aren’t losing anything when people win, in fact they take commission on winning bets only so this stance seems crazy. We don’t like, it sets a bad precedent and who knows how long before they decide to hike their commissions again.
Not cool… but they’re still the best betting exchange out there and if you want the option to both back and lay bets then Betfair is the only really legitimate choice.
Is Betfair reliable?
Betfair are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and have become a household name in online sports betting. Whilst they can not guarantee 100% uptime we’d class them as one of the most reliable betting sites around who always pay out on winning bets.
Does Betfair offer free bets for new customers?
In our experience Betfair always have a free bet offer running for new customers. The amount of that offer varies depending on the time of year – you can see the latest deal listed on our Betfair free bet page.
How long does it take Betfair to pay out?
Betfair are one of the faster paying online bookmakers but it does depend on what banking method you use as to how quickly you’ll get paid out by them. They quickest options are currently PayPal (within 24 hours) or debit cards (within 48 hours).
Is Betfair a bookmakers or a betting exchange?
Betfair offer both a regular sports betting site as well as a betting exchange. Originally the site was launch as an exchange only service, but the sportsbook was added in 2012 in order to compete with the bigger online gambling sites.
Are Betfair’s odds really better?
On their betting exchange the answer is usually yes. This is the case because you’re betting against another person and not Betfair themselves and therefore they don’t build vig or a house edge into the market. On the regular bookmakers side we find Betvictor and Bet365 both have more competitive odds.