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Betfair Review

The main thing to say about Betfair, is that they are different from corporate bookies - they permit punters to both back and lay wagers, effectively allowing them to act as both punter and bookmaker. Read the full review to learn more

Betfair Pros

  • The Largest Betting Exchange & The Only One In Australia
  • The Betfair Hub Offering Tips, Guides & Up To Date News
  • Wide Betting Market Coverage
  • They Often Offer Better Odds Than Bookies
  • Place Bets At Prices Set By Other Punters

Betfair Betting Exchange originally started operating in the United Kingdom in 2000. In Australia, it is licensed and regulated by the Northern Territory Racing Commission.

The main thing to say about Betfair, is that they are different from corporate bookies. Their most unique feature is that they permit punters to both back and lay wagers, effectively allowing them to act as both punter and bookmaker.

No, if you lay something and someone else beats you, you do not get to suspend their account. On the other hand, since Betfair is a betting exchange, they have no skin in the game, other than the percentage they take for acting as the hosts.


Betfair’s promotions include:

  • Better Odds
  • Betting Lays
  • All Types Of Sports Betting
  • Live Betting and more

Betfair Funding and Withdrawals

The minimum online wager amount is five dollars, the highest of all the bookmakers reviewed here. This is due to Betfair's commission structure resulting from offering the ability to back or lay events.

Betfair itself does not impose any fees on deposits and withdrawals, which is as it should be.

Betfair Wagering Platform

To a person new to the online betting environment, Betfair's website may seem a bit intimidating at first, but there is an extensive help section, along with videos that explain in great detail all the concepts of wagering as well as how to navigate the website and fill out a betting slip. 

Even those of us who avoid new things simply because they are different found it easy to navigate the website in a matter of minutes, but info-hungry people such as ourselves often find that once we are on the Betfair website, we spend a considerable amount of time exploring a seemingly endless supply of resources.

Betfair's racing market offers racing from Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Every conceivable type of wager is available.

Beginners may want to avoid laying events at first; at least until the concept of liability in the case of a lay going against you is understood thoroughly.

Betfair offers the racing punter everything they could desire from an online wagering site.

How to Wager with Betfair

Functioning as a bet matching service rather than as a traditional bookmaker takes some getting used to, but the payoff is well worth the effort.

One of the major reasons why Betfair enjoys a huge punter following is because it offers a huge selection of betting products and specials - products that offer some of the best odds.

The bookmaker not only allows you to back a selection to win but also to pick selections to lose and pick your own odds just like stockbrokers do. As a punter, you get to make the best of both worlds. Betfair offers fixed price odds on events set by punters across the globe.

Betfair charges a commission between 2.5% to 10% on winning bets, which makes it a lucrative proposition for punters. The bookmaker offers ‘In Play' betting on selected races where you can either Back or Lay off a horse during the course of the race.

Besides, you can sign up and receive fixed price odds on all races. You Back a horse the same way as you would place a bet with a bookmaker. On the other hand, when you Lay a horse, you are betting on it not to win, so if the horse loses you win or vice versa.

Betfair Bet Types


Among the other products and bet types offered are:

In-Play betting is one of Betfair's popular products where punters can take advantage of rapidly fluctuating odds during a race. It allows you to place a bet after the jump and while the race is on.

Betfair Live is the ultimate market watching tool for racing punters. Get insights for price movements across every runner in all three racing codes, as well as Best Tote and average fixed price comparisons to ensure you are taking the best available price before the jump.

Betfair Live also provides detailed runner metrics, price fluctuation charts, weight of money and much more, giving you unprecedented access to the Betfair Exchange.

Racing Results

Betfair has a racing results page that is comprehensive and worthwhile for racing punters. In fact, the level of information in this section of the Betfair website can almost be described as exhaustive.

Punters looking for results have three main filters, Thoroughbreds, trotters and dogs.

The next filter is by date. We randomly went back about a month and found accurate results for the racing that took place at every track we ever heard of, along with some that we have never heard of.

We next selected Flemington from the list of tracks. We found results from first to last, along with the starting prices for win and place, Betfair’s Starting Price (BSP) and Best Tote win, along with a comparison that clearly showed Betfair’s prices to be superior.

Another feature of the Betfair Resources section is Pre-Play Simulation, where those new to punting in general or laying specifically can practice. We have been clamouring for this sort of thing for years and while practice punting does not necessarily translate perfectly to actual punting, it beats what most bookies offer, which is “give us your money and good luck.”

Betfair Commissions

Since lay betting or even win betting on an exchange such as Betfair will be new for many punters, it is important to understand how Betfair functions. They offer a concise explanation on their site.

The primary term with which everyone regularly playing on Betfair will want to become familiar is the Betfair Market Base Rate (MBR).

The MBR is simply the most Betfair will deduct out of winnings to cover the bookie’s commission. The MBR is disclosed in the Rules section for any market. Betfair’s commission is automatically removed when a market is settled.

They supply a video clip, less than a minute in length, which provides an overview. Basically, Betfair does not carry margins on its markets, so in most instances, they offer better odds. 

Of course, those better odds are reduced by commissions, so this is one of those six-of-one-half-dozen-of-the other propositions, but a commission-based fee structure reveals that Betfair will do better when punters do better, so this is a departure from the traditional model where the punter and the bookie are in opposition to one another.

The MBR can and does vary. According to the Betfair website, the commission on sports and international racing markets is 5%.

Domestic racing varies from 5 to 10 percent and are determined by the cost imposed on Betfair by the fees the various racing jurisdictions levy on Betfair.

If we were to summarise thee variable commission rates in one sentence, it would be to say that is expensive to wager on trots and dogs in South Australia, ACT, Western Australia and NSW.

Where punters will find true value is with the AFL markets offered by Betfair, which typically are under 3 percent, 2.5 to be precise.

Betfair Customer Service

Betfair offers a Contact Center that is monitored 24 hours a day. They can be contacted by email at service@betfair.com.au. There is also telephone support via helpdesks for Australia and New Zealand. There are separate phone numbers for telephone betting in Australia and New Zealand.

In another section of this review, we praised Betfair for offering new clients a chance to practice. Punters who wish to take advantage of this feature can call Betfair and arrange for one of their customer service people to give a live demonstration of how exchange betting works in general, or how specific aspects of exchange betting function in a real-world environment. 

This goes well beyond the hypothetical and makes it abundantly clear how Betfair exchange betting is conducted.

This service is now available 24/7.

This service is better than any other bookie by orders of magnitude and for this alone, we think everyone should investigate the potential of membership with Betfair.


It is hard to find a valid argument against Betfair, while finding positives is quite easy.

Betfair ticks off every box we consider significant.

The website is peachy. Betfair has established third-party relationships with a number of apps that supply betting tools.

The historical features of Betfair make it possible for even the newest punters to make informed selections and while not every selection will be a winner, being informed sure beats guessing.

In the competitive environment Australian punters enjoy, a membership with Betfair is something we consider practically essential.

It might even teach you some sympathy for the bookies.