Betfair Exchange is a unique type of betting site licensed in New Jersey that offers exchange betting on horse races. What makes Betfair different than every other betting site in the USA is that customers do not bet against the house; they are matched and bet against one another.
Betfair Exchange NJ brings players together to bet with one another rather than against the house. Back a horse or lay that horse, and if your price is right, someone else will take the other side. Interesting site for horse racing betting, but a lack of other sports limits Betfair’s appeal.
- Bet against other players, not against the house
- Run by an experienced, reputable gaming company
- In-play betting and early cash outs supported
- Easy-to-clear deposit bonus
- Only supports horse racing betting
- Limited track coverage
- Does not accept PayPal as a deposit method
This means as a customer, you can bet for or against any horse in an upcoming race as long as another customer is willing to take the other side of your wager. You can select your own odds from wagers other players are offering or create your own bet and set the odds yourself. As long as someone else is willing to take a bet you have offered, your bet is on.
Under the exchange betting system, it is the free market that sets the odds and not the bookmaker. For instance, players who create wagers and set the odds too far in their own direction go unmatched when no one else is willing to take those odds. Eventually, a price equilibrium is reached in all markets and the odds tend to settle into a comfortable middle ground between bidders and askers.
If you have any experience trading on financial exchanges, you won’t have too much trouble settling in at Betfair. If your past experience is limited to traditional horse or sports betting, Betfair will take some getting used to. The best place for new players to start is to simply sign up and take bets that have been created by other customers. The Betfair system automatically organizes all markets so that you always get the best price possible for your wagers.
Betfair US has a nice and simple explanation of the concept here:
Pros and Cons of Exchange Betting
- Pro: You bet with other customers, not against the oddsmakers
- Con: Unlike parimutuel wagering, all prices are locked in when the bet is booked, which means you can miss out on value if a horse’s price spikes prior to running
- Pro: Locked-in prices can work in your favor if the odds on your horse shorten prior to running
- Con: Exchanges are not newbie-friendly – inexperienced bettors are usually better off with a traditional sportsbook
- Pro: Lower commissions than the “takeout” deducted from most parimutuel wagering pools
- Con: Betting exchanges require liquidity. If there are not many people interested in a certain market, you may have trouble finding a bet at odds you think are fair
- Pro: You can bet for (back) or against (lay) horses
- Con: You can find yourself on the hook for a large loss if you’re not careful when you lay a bet because you have to pay the winner of the bet if the horse you bet against wins the race
A Brief History of Betfair
Betfair is the original pioneer of exchange wagering, having launched the world’s first exchange betting site back in 1999. Over the subsequent years, Betfair Exchange grew to dominate the online betting market in the UK and would eventually become the world’s largest online betting exchange.
The company had long eyed the US market as a potential gold mine and finally established a significant foothold in the United States with the purchase of the TVG network in 2009. The TVG network still operates as a horse racing broadcasting and wagering entity under its own name, but is fully owned by Betfair. TVG also owns and operates NJ-licensed horse racing site 4NJBets.
In 2013, Betfair made a second inroad into the US market after launching Betfair Casino in New Jersey. Betfair Casino is partnered with Golden Nugget Atlantic City and maintains a license in good standing with the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Betfair in turn is just a branch of the larger Paddy Power Betfair group., which was formed in 2016 when Betfair merged with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. Paddy Power Betfair further entrenched itself in the US market when it acquired FanDuel, this time establishing itself as a major player in the daily fantasy and sports betting markets.
This brief background history is important to note because it provides some context for how Betfair Exchange currently operates and will operate in the US. Through its ownership of 4NJBets, Betfair was able to establish itself as the sole provider of legal horse racing in the state of New Jersey.
4NJBets and Betfair Exchange both operate exclusively in New Jersey, but operate on separate websites and offer unique forms of betting. While 4NJ Bets offers traditional horse wagering, Betfair NJ offers exchange betting on horses.
Betfair Exchange US is limited strictly to the NJ horse racing market, but the company’s acquisition of FanDuel and its long history in exchange sports betting are all signs Betfair will likely introduce exchange sports betting in the US at some point For now, Betfair Exchange is strictly limited to horse racing in New Jersey.
Betfair Exchange Bonus
Although it is not prominently advertised on the Betfair website, the exchange does offer a welcome bonus of 100% up to $200 on your first deposit.
You can claim your bonus by signing up for an account and making a deposit of at least $25 within fifteen days of registering. Betfair will match your first deposit to give you up to $200 extra for use on the exchange.
The Betfair Exchange bonus comes with low wagering requirements of just 1x your deposit amount before withdrawal. This means if you deposit $100 and get a $100 bonus, all you have to do is place $100 worth of wagers before cashing out.
However, there are a few important terms to know. First, you must place at least three different wagers on three different races to clear the bonus. In other words, you can’t just place one big wager to clear the bonus all in one shot. Your wagering activity must be broken up across at least three different wagers.
Nothing bad happens if you do place a big wager while clearing the bonus; it simply won’t count towards your wagering requirement. Additionally, only wagers placed on horses to win at odds of 2.0 and greater count towards meeting the wagering requirements.
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BetFair NJ Horse Racing Betting Exchange
The one major disadvantage of Betfair NJ is that it is focused exclusively on horse racing betting. Betfair international runs exchange markets for all major sports for its customers in the UK and elsewhere, but US customers are limited strictly to horse racing until Betfair expands its model into other sports here in the USA.
Even when we restrict the confines of this review down to horse racing only, Betfair Exchange is still quite limited in terms of what it offers compared to other legal horse racing sites. Currently, Betfair Exchange only offers markets for win, place and show bets for upcoming races in addition to in-play wagering.
These options are limited by necessity because Betfair Exchange is only licensed in New Jersey and can only reach so many customers. Just like online poker, exchange betting needs liquidity in order to support the markets. Remember, if no one else is willing to take the opposite side of your wager, there will be no wager.
So, Betfair Exchange limits its options to just a handful of the most popular types of horse racing bets in order to funnel customers into those options and support functional markets. As Betfair expands its services into additional states, we can expect to see the site expand its wagering options as well – possibly to include sports betting.
In one sense, Betfair Exchange NJ is still an experiment at this point. New Jersey residents can use the site to try exchange betting and get a feel for it, but customers looking for exotics and other types of wagers, should consider 4NJBets for horse racing or a licensed betting site for sports.
Betfair charges a 12% commission on all winning wagers. This is more than the typical commission of about 5% charged to international customers due to Betfair US also needing to pay track fees and put money back into the NJ horse racing industry.
Early Cash Out
Betfair Exchange offers an early cash out option that can be used before or during races to lock in a profit or cut your losses. After you place a wager, Betfair tracks the live odds for that same market and keeps you constantly updated on current prices. At any before or during the race, you can hit the cash out option to prompt Betfair to send your wager to the exchange to trade out of your position.
Early cash out can be used to lock in your profits when you back a horse and then the odds shorten. For example, if you back a longshot at 20/1 and the horse gets off to a fast start and his odds shorten to 5/1 during the race, you can cash out to lock in your profit. Likewise, early cash out can be used to cut your losses when you back a horse and the races starts going against you.
There are two important things to know about Betfair early cash out. First, the option is only available on markets featuring the early cash out icon (a small yellow square with an orange dot in the middle).
Second, Betfair cannot guarantee the early cash out odds displayed on your screen. Cash out odds are based on current market odds, which are constantly fluctuating immediately before and during a race. What this means for you is you may receive better odds than indicated, your cash out may be unsuccessful or it may only be partially successful.
Again, we turn to a video from Betfair that explains the concept in simple terms:
Exchange Betting Simulator
If you still feel like you’re not fully comprehending how exchange betting works, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Betfair US has a handy exchange betting simulator here that you can use for free (no signup required) to place simulated wagers on fictional horse races.
The Betfair simulator includes a simple graphic representation of a horse race along with a sample market involving four runners. You can use the simulator to practice making selections, laying horses and managing your risk when you do lay horses. Even if you are fairly confident you understand the general idea, it might not be a bad idea to take the simulator for a test run before jumping right in.
You can also tap any of the question mark icons scattered throughout the simulator for quick tips explaining how various features work. If a help icon doesn’t fully answer your question, you can check out the Betfair Exchange FAQ center for more information. Betfair is aware the product can be confusing and has put together a useful, detailed repository full of detailed answers to a wide range of questions.
Betfair Mobile App and Interface
Betfair is a simple online betting site whether you visit from your desktop or download the mobile app for iOS/Android. With the entire focus on horse racing, there really isn’t a whole lot to figure out when it comes to navigating through the various racetracks to find a race to bet on.
The homepage of the Betfair Exchange website presents a simple list of the next races to go off. If you don’t have a specific race or track in mind, you can just log in and see which races are set to happen soon. This is the best way to jump right into the action.
If you have a specific track or race in mind, you can visit the “Full Schedule” tab to view all of today’s and tomorrow’s races organized by country and track. Selecting any specific race will bring you to that race’s betting page where you’ll see the confirmed entries, current betting odds and market information such as how much money has been matched.
Betfair also provides Timeform information for every horse entered in the race. The Timeform data includes basic horse information such as age and trainer, recent results, form and more. The Timeform information isn’t super detailed, but it does serve as a nice starting point to get a handle on the various horses entered in the race.
Betfair mobile is arranged similarly except the homepage is elongated to show upcoming races near the top, a list of tracks in the middle and recent results further down. Again, selecting any race will take you to that race’s betting markets where you can select and manage your wagers.
Will Betfair Exchange Sports Betting Happen In The USA?
All indications are yes. Betfair international was formed with sports betting in mind and is now a leader in online betting in other countries. The current iteration of Betfair NJ is more of an exploratory effort right now rather than a finished product. In time, Betfair Exchange sports betting should come to the United States.
Beyond the company’s international operations, we have other reasons to believe Betfair US will get into sports betting sooner or later. One obvious indicator is Betfair itself has said it has plans to target the sports betting market in the United States.
In the months before the Supreme Court had even issued its ruling to overturn the sports betting ban, Paddy Power CEO of US Operations Kip Levin told Bloomberg the company would be ready to strike if the Supreme Court rules in a favorable way (which it did), even going so far as to potentially launch a dedicated sports betting TV channel.
Paddy Power Betfair also said in a financial report that it was watching the US situation closely and was “considering the appropriate way that we would participate in the market.” Clearly, Paddy Power Betfair has the US market in mind.
Then, there’s the deal Paddy Power Betfair struck with FanDuel in May of 2018 to merge their businesses. In a press release issued at the time, Betfair US said it would leverage its partnership with FanDuel and its existing TVG horse racing business to target the daily fantasy and sports betting markets in the US. FanDuel has since opened sportsbooks in New Jersey and West Virginia.
These developments make it clear Paddy Power Betfair is pursuing the sports betting market in the US. None of this guarantees Betfair will launch exchange sports betting in the USA, but logic stands to reason that a sports betting exchange is on the minds of company execs.
Betfair Exchange Deposit Methods
Betfair Exchange accepts a standard range of deposit methods that can be used to fund your account with credit, direct bank transfers and cash. One major deposit method missing from Betfair is any sort of e-wallet such as PayPal or Skrill.
Below is a brief overview of Betfair’s accepted deposit options.
- Credit and Debit Cards: Betfair Exchange accepts Visa and Mastercard. Customers may deposit up to $100,000 per month using this method.
- BetCash: BetCash is an online banking deposit method that transfers funds straight from your checking account to your Betfair account. You can deposit up to $2,000 per transaction, but Betfair does not impose a monthly limit on deposits. This is a solid option if your credit or debit card was declined.
- Bill Pay: Bill Pay uses your bank’s online bill pay feature to fund your account. If your bank supports online bill pay, you can add Betfair to your payment list and authorize deposits straight from your bank’s website without revealing your private information to Betfair.
- Check or Money Order: Call Betfair customer support for instructions on sending a check or money order to Betfair. Minimum deposit via this method is $10 and it takes 7-10 business days for the funds to show up in your account. The lengthy waiting period makes this deposit method more suitable as a last resort.
- Wire Transfer: Call Betfair to arrange a wire transfer – minimum deposit with this method is $1,000.
- PayNearMe: Use this deposit method to fund your account with cash. Select PayNearMe inside the Betfair cashier and choose an amount to deposit. You’ll be given a pay slip that you can take to the nearest 7-Eleven to pay with cash.
Betfair Exchange is a promising betting site, but it isn’t quite there due to being limited to horse racing betting and only covering a limited number of tracks in the US and Australia. We love the exchange betting concept, but Betfair US still has a long way to go (including introducing sports betting) before we’re ready to give this site two thumbs up.
However, even the current iteration of Betfair US does offer a unique experience for horse racing bettors. If you like to bet on horses, Betfair Exchange offers an experience unlike any other available in the United States. The ability to bet for and against individual horses is a major selling point that greatly expands your options when it comes to finding an edge.