Betting on Horse Racing Using Betting Exchanges Explained

April 10, 2009


Cliff Thurston asked:

There’s no doubt that they’ve created a new era in the betting world. Betting on horse racing via betting exchanges has revolutionized the way that we can place a bet now, but are they everything that we think they are?

You’ve most probably heard about them and you may have even seen them, but why has there been such a buzz about betting on horses using betting exchanges, rather than the traditional bookie?

In this article, I will explain the basics of what a betting exchange is, and why I think that using them gives you a better chance of increasing your horse racing profits.

What Exactly Is A Betting Exchange?

A betting exchange is essentially a betting arena if you like (Betfair being the most popular at this point in time), that enables individual punters that have opposing views about, for example, a particular race, to bet against each other.

This is very different to how it works with a traditional bookie, where everyone is betting on horses with the aim to beat the bookie himself. Betting exchanges are different, and in a sense they have cut out the traditional bookmaker altogether.

All bets placed on horses via betting exchanges, fall into two categories generally; some bets are placed by users who may want to bet in the more traditional way – by backing a horse to win the race. So in this type of bet, you select a horse that you think can win its race, and you place a bet on it to win.

Other punters however, may think a horse will not win its given race and prefer to offer odds to other punters. This is known as laying, and I will explain how this works in a little more detail now.

The Difference Between Backing and Laying

Backing a horse to win works in essentially the same way, whether you are using a betting exchange or a conventional bookmaker. So as I’ve just mentioned, you are betting that the horse will win the race and if it does, then you win your bet.

However, if you feel that a certain horse can not possibly win its race, then you can place what is known as a ‘lay’ bet on the horse in question.

What this simply means is that you are betting against the horse winning its race, and you are also hoping that there are punters out there that disagree with you, and so they will back it to win.

Its this type of scenario that has enabled betting exchanges to take betting on horse racing, as well as other events too, to a different level.

Look At This In More Detail

Here’s an example – You may well be betting on horses and feel that a particular horse, lets call it ‘Three Legged Donkey’, cannot possibly win its race.

What you are doing by placing a lay bet is essentially offering odds to other punters who may wish to back the horse, as they think that it will win.

So you think the horse will lose, but they think the horse will win.

In the event that ‘Three Legged Donkey’ doesn’t win its race, you pick up their (the backer’s) stake and so your bet is successful. However, if the horse does somehow win the race, then you must pay out to them.

How much you win or how much you have to pay out in the event of a loss is determined by how much you’ve bet and what the odds are, much the same as in conventional betting.

This is discussed in more detail in a subsequent article, but I hope that this gives you an idea of what betting exchanges are, what they offer and why if you’re someone who likes betting on horse racing, you really need to have an account.

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