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The Lay Betting Guide - How to use the betting exchanges.

© Malcolm Pett - All rights Reserved

I have often be asked to explain "Lay" betting by my readers so I thought it was about time I sat down and put what I know into words and tell you about Betting Exchanges.

Traditionally we have always seen the bookie as the enemy, why not, he is responsible for setting the odds in his favour so if we did win on a good horse it's hardly worth it and when we lose he takes the money and makes it very difficult for us to get it back!

Well along came a guy called Andrew Black who was a bit fed up with the fat cat bookies and decided there had to be a better way and turned to the New York Exchange for inspiration, using their model Black designed a way to match both sides of a bet via the Internet, bypassing the bookmaker altogether. was borne and they haven't looked back.

So how does it work?

Well as already mentioned traditionally you go into a bookie and place a bet based on their odds, hand over your cash and wait to see if you win or lose, well at Betting Exchanges you can make a choice of whether you want to bet as normal or offer odds for a horse you think wont win, but other people think will!

Lets go over that again…

There is a horse running at the 2.00 at Cheltenham, that you are pretty sure will not win, but he just happens to be the favourite of the race, so this means a lot of people think it will.

You log onto to your favourite betting exchange account and "Lay" £50.00 at the going odds being pretty sure that the horse is going to lose, all you have to do is wait for someone to match your £50.00 on the other side, once they do you just have to wait for the outcome.

But what happens if the horse wins, your are in effect acting as a bookie so you will have to pay out in the same way, so lets look at your liability.

Betting exchange odds are normally shown as decimals (see my article for details) so you may have offered odds on a horse at 2.64, this figure represents what the winner will get back including their original stake.

But for our calculation we have to -1 because we are only concerned with our actual liability.

2.64 - 1 = 1.64 X 50 (our £50 lay) = £82.00
So if the horse does win then we have to payout £82 to cover the bet.

Betting Exchanges actually take your liability at the time of the bet, so that you cant do a runner if the horse does win!

But what do you win if the horse does lose the race?

Simple, you offered £50.00 and someone matched it, so if they lose you get to keep their £50.00.

In effect all "Lay" bets are placed at evens, so what ever stake you offer, as long as it gets matched and you win, you get the same amount back in profit.

One thing to be aware of with betting exchanges is that they take a percentage of all winnings, which at the time of writing this is anywhere between 2 and 5% although you do not pay if you lose.

Why are betting exchanges so popular?

There are two answers to this question. Firstly because the "Layers" are trying to get their offers matched and they do not have to offer odds on every horse in the race (unlike normal bookies)so they can afford to be a bit more generous with their odds, so if you want to bet to "Win" then the odds on offer at betting exchanges are normally better and there have been occasions when they have been substantially better.

Secondly because only one horse can win a race and 2 out of 3 favourites lose then some will argue that the "Laying" a bet is far less risky than betting to "Win".

"lay" betting has now taken of in a big way with many new companies are starting up trying to get a piece of the "pie", but is still the biggest with around 80% of the betting exchange market, which means your money is save and just importantly you should get a match for your "Lay", which may be difficult on some of the smaller exchanges.

As with normal betting, there are now appearing several "Systems" for improving your chances of "Laying" successfully, two very popular ones are "The Bank Vault Report" and "Losers into Winners" both cover different betting methods.

"The Bank Vault Report" shows you how to select several races a day that you use as a sort of "Stop at a Winner" in reverse, you "Stop at a loser"!

I recently reviewed this eBook and you can see what I thought about it by clicking the link below.

"Losers into Winners" shows you how to look out for possible "Lays" again I have reviewed this eBook, click the link below.

So what about the future of Betting Exchanges?

Although Betting exchanges only account for about 4% of the market as you can imagine the traditional bookies are a bit uptight about a completely new service digging into their market share, but with online betting being such a large growth market, I doubt if they will be feeling the pinch yet, they are probably more concerned about other internet bookies springing up from everywhere.

If the balance of people wanting to place bets stays pretty even with the people willing to "Lay", then all will be well, but if there is a big shift either way then the concept could find itself in trouble.

There is one other advantage that the Betting Exchanges have over the traditional bookie and that is you will never be banned from their sites because you are winning to often, the more you win the more they earn!

Click here for a list of the more popular Betting Exchanges.

Malcolm writes "The Horse racings system daily Tip" newsletter that contains information and advice about horse racing systems and tipsters. Subscribe free at.
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