Placing bets is the act of wagering money or possession on an outcome of an event. Any player placing bets can wager either through a bookmaker or via a betting exchange.

Here, we look at how a bookmaker works, what are the benefits of a betting exchange and the difference between the two. 

How can players wager through a bookmaker?

Bookmakers are one of the traditional ways for punters to place their bets. Through this platform, punters need to simply select the odds offered by the company and bet against them. If the player wins the bet, the bookmaker offers him the winning stake. When a player places a bet through a bookmaker, he essentially competes against the bookmaker. 

For example, in a cricket match between India and Australia, punters need to first select the bookmaker of their choice and click on the match they wish to wager on. After deciding the amount and the type of bet they wish to bet, they need to select the odd and click on the submit option. Once done, punters need to track their placed bets during the match. If the player wins the bet, he can withdraw the winning amount. 

Bet365, Betway, Parimatch, and 1xBet are some of the popular bookmakers in India.

How can players wager through a betting exchange?

A betting exchange is slightly different compared to a normal bookmaker. A betting exchange is an online platform where punters can place their bets and set odds against each other instead of a bookmaker. The platform enables the punters to set their own odds. 

The betting exchange involves two types of bets - Back bets and Lay bets. In back betting, punters can punt on a certain sporting event to happen. It is similar to betting via a traditional bookmaker. On the other hand, lay betting involves betting against an outcome of an event. 

For example, consider a football match between Italy and Germany. Through the betting exchange, a player can not only punt on Germany’s victory but can also place bets on Italy not winning the match (Lay bet) provided the bet is matched by another player on the betting exchange. 

Betting exchanges in India are limited and only select websites have the betting exchange feature on their platform. Parimatch and Fun88 are two of the best betting exchange websites in India. 

Bookmaker vs betting exchange: What is better?

Both a bookmaker and a betting exchange have certain advantages and disadvantages. Following are the important features of both betting platforms. 

Flexibility while betting

One of the major differences that a betting exchange provides is the ability to wager against other players while placing odds. Therefore, betting exchange is more flexible and provides better value for odds compared to a bookmaker. 

Ability to place lay bets 

Through the betting exchange, players can place lay bets, meaning they can wager on an outcome of an event to not occur. Players, therefore, stand a higher chance of winning through a betting exchange compared to a bookmaker 

Simplicity of betting

A traditional bookmaker is easier and simpler for new players to bet. Bookmakers also provide an array of options for punters to place their bets compared to a betting exchange which is available only on a select number of platforms. 

Profit margin

Bookmakers make their profit through failed bets while a betting exchange earns profit by charging a small amount (usually 2 to 5%) from the winnings. Therefore, it is important for players opting for the betting exchange to factor in the commission amount before wagering. 

Additionally, although a betting exchange offers higher odds, the amount a player bets depends on the market liquidity. As a result, in the case of lay bets, a player needs to hope for another player to offer the same wager for the same odds.