How to Use Betfair
Betfair, one of the world’s largest online betting exchanges, allows you to place wagers at odds set by other bettors and not what a bookmaker fixes. In this article we’ll show you how to use Betfair. The Betfair platform works almost the way a stock exchange works, where two parties take opposite positions in a transaction. Basically, it’s your opinion versus someone else’s. If you want to make a bet and someone else wants to take it then you’re good to go. The company is based in the UK, but it also provides betting services in Europe, Australia, Malta and New Zealand.
To all bets that are placed on the exchange, Betfair stands as the intermediary. As I said, you’re not betting against them, they just set up the bet, hold the money and pay the winner. The main attraction of Betfair is the better odds that are an offer there compared to traditional bookmakers, and the ability to ‘lay’ or act as the bookmaker, as well as to back. This means that you can take bets as well as make them.
Advantages of Wagering at Betfair
You will enjoy a number of advantages when you wager at Betfair. At Betfair, registered bettors fix the odds, which can work in your favor if you bet smartly. The key advantages of using Betfair for placing your bets are:
- Better odds: The odds at Betfair will be relatively better than those offered by traditional bookmakers as bettors fix rates on the markets. The company claims that the odds offered at its platform are on an average almost 20% better than what you would get on a regular sportsbook, and for the most part this is true.
- Lay or Back: The site allows you to place both ‘back’ or ‘lay’ bets against a selection. It also allows you to change your bet position when the situation changes, if you can find an opposite bet. Doing so can significantly enhance your chances of winning the bet.
- In-play betting: When placing bets at Betfair, you can lay or back a selection until the final moments of an event. Even for in-play bets, the odds are fixed by other registered Betfair users and not by the company.
Registering a Betfair Account
If you want to place bets or trade the markets at Betfair, you first need to register an account at the site. This will allow you to withdraw and deposit money from and to your account. It also enables Betfair to keep identificationinformation for security and anti-money laundering purposes.
Betfair requires authentication of age, address and ownership or source of the money that will be used for placing bets. The minimum requirement for placing wagers at Betfair is age verification. But, to avail all of Betfair’s services and products, you will have to go through a comprehensive identity check which involves address verification.
Betfair’s Betting Markets
The range of markets to play on Betfair is truly staggering. Almost all sports are covered by a range of markets. Some are range betting, coupons, line betting, odds betting, variable handicap odds betting and Asian handicap betting. These bets can be placed on a variety of sporting events at Betfair which includes basketball, cricket, golf, rugby league, rugby union, horse racing, American football and soccer among others. Wagers can also be placed on special markets such as entertainment and finance and in fact there’s great value to be found in the entertainment markets, as well as the lesser known sports.
Making a Bet on Betfair
Once you decide the sporting event that you want to bet on, the rates to lay or back are provided in pink and blue boxes respectively as shown below.
To select a bet, you must click on the box which will launch the Bet Manager. You can enter the stake and click Submit. Take the screenshot below as an example. The market on show is the 2013 US Masters. If you want to back Tiger Woods at odds of 4.9 there is €9380 available to be staked at that price, and according to the next box to the right, a further €3746 at odds of 4.8. If you don’t think Tiger is going to win, then there is €21 available from people who want to back him at odds of 5.0, and another €9836 available to lay at 5.1.
Remember that if you’re laying, you’re acting as the bookmaker, so if you decided to lay the €21 at odds of 5.0, you’ll have to pay out €105 if Tiger wins, just like the bookmaker would.
When you decide on your bet, you will be required to authenticate the wager on the Confirmation screen. If there is a mistake in the odds or stake that is shown, you can un-select the Confirm Bets box. The wager will be entered immediately and confirmation on whether the bet is matched (i.e. that someone has taken your bet) will be provided. The back and lay boxes show the current odds on offer, but you can enter what ever odds you like and hope that they’ll be matched. If the bet is not matched immediately, you will have to wait until another customer at Betfair matches it, which won’t always happen. For instance if you want to bet on Tiger Woods at 1000/1 you’re unlikely to get it matched! You can opt out of the bet any time before it is matched. Betting Tutorials are provided to customers for more information on placing bets.
After the Event has Finished
Betfair aims to settle wagers as quickly as possible. Bets placed on football matches and horse racing events are settled as soon as the results are shown and are officially verified. In betting markets such as reality television shows like Big Brother, settlement of bets will take longer than for sports events as the results have to be authenticated in the former. Unmatched bets will be cancelled automatically after the event finishes.
If you are a player who is registered in the UK and places bets via the UK betting exchange, your betting contract will be made with other customers at Betfair. This betting contract will be presided over by English laws. If you place multiples bets or are not registered in the UK, the betting contract will be made with Betfair and governed by either Maltese or Tasmanian law.