Date: 12th April 2019
Lay Betting is the option on Betfair Exchange where punters play the role of a traditional bookmaker instead of Betfair offering odds to sell a bet instead of the usual odds to back a bet.
For example: "I bet you won't get a bullseye", "I bet you won't finish all that" and "They'll never win if he plays"
We all make statements to friends like this every day. So what you're actually doing is "laying a bet", betting something won't happen in effect. Quite simple and it opens up a whole new range of bets you can try.
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For example have you ever thought Henrik Stenson was too tall to win an event, but couldn't decide who was going to win the tournament?
Problem solved - By laying Henrik Stenson, you are effectively backing the field to beat him. Much easier to cheer the whole field, you agree?
Like anything too good to be true, there is a catch. Should your selection win, you'll pay the backer his winnings, which could be a lot more than the stake. Just be careful how much you decide to lay.
Laying bets sometimes causes controversy because you are betting on someone or something losing, but it has always happened that way.
If you back one horse to win a race, then by default, you are betting against every other horse in the race, you can't cheer them all to win surely.
Betfair simply make the process simpler, cutting out the bookmaker margins, so increasing your potential earnings by approximately 20%.
In many sports or markets, such as a tennis match or under or over 2.5 goals in football, betting on one side is exactly the same as laying the other option.
Imagine two everyday scenarios, flipping a coin and rolling a dice.
You and your mate each put a fiver on the coin toss. One calls Heads, the other gets Tails, and whoever wins gets £10.
You backed Heads for £5 to win another £5. The odds you received were evens or 2.
Or looking at it another way.
You laid Tails. You let your mate have £5 on Tails to win another £5, at odds of 2.
Either way, if it lands Heads, you win a fiver, if it lands Tails, you lose a fiver.
In a two-horse race, backing one side means you are laying the other.
So what happens when the odds aren't even, or there are more than two options?
Think of a standard dice (or die). Pick a number. Your mate will pay you every time it lands on six.
It can't be evens or 2, because that's not fair, you've got much more chance of losing than winning.
Chances of winning - one
Chances of losing - five
The true price of this bet is five to one, or in decimals, 6 (potential profit plus your stake). So your mate agrees to pay you the true price if you roll a six. You put down £1, he risks £5. If your price is 5/1, what price is he getting for his bet?
He has five chances of winning, and only one chance of losing. So the odds are 1/5 or in decimals, 1.2.
If you've noticed the similarity, well done. It's simply 'flip the fraction' to work out the other side of the bet.
This occurs when all the money going into the market equals all the money being paid out in the market, there is no leakage or profits being taken.
Efficient betting markets rarely exist outside of betting exchanges, bookmakers need to reap a profit in order to run a business.
Betting should all come down to weighing up the risk versus the reward.
Laying at 2 will win you more if you are correct, but it is more likely to happen than laying at 6. But laying at 6 will cost you more should that result occur.
Backing at 2 is more likely to happen, but you won't win as much compared to backing at 6. And if you have bet to win a certain amount, then backing at 2 will cost you more if the selection doesn't win.
1. Select the market as outlined in placing a bet.
2. Then click on the lay side, in the following example you are laying Andy Murray at odds of 9. The backer is staking £10.
Your liability of £80 is taken from your balance as this is your worst case scenario.
The payout will be £90 but that includes the stake from the backer. If this bet was matched, there would effectively be a pot of £90 for someone to collect, the backer's £10 stake, and the layer's £80 liability.
If Andy Murray wins the tournament you have to pay £80 to the winning customer. If any other player wins the tournament you win £10 less commission.
When laying a bet, you can only win the other person's stake
In the example outlined above you will notice that the market is not completely formed.
There aren't many offers on the screen and there is a gap between the best prices to back and lay Andy Murray.
In this instance if you don't want to lay the selection at 9 you could make an offer in between 6 and 9.
Your offer would then appear in the back column waiting for someone who may think your offer is of value and will back the selection.
Your liability is the amount you could lose in your worst-case scenario.
When backing it's simply the stake which you place. When laying however it's the amount it will cost you if your selection wins. Either way, it is how much you are risking.
Be very watchful of where you put the decimal point. If you want to lay a bet at 4.2 make sure it is just that and not 42, otherwise it will be an expensive mistake should your selection win.
One thing's certain though, Betfair will only let you risk as much as is in your account and at the best available odds.
If you lay multiple selections in a field your liabilities don't accumulate, your bets offset each other providing the market only has one winner.
To read latest betting tips on sports which see a lot of lay betting then please check out Betfair's football tips, tennis tips and golf tips sections of betting.betfair.
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A betting exchange allows gamblers to bet against each other rather than against a bookmaker. This differentiates them from traditional betting shops and bookmakers as the betting exchange allows the user to act as the bookie (by setting the odds for an event) or the customer (who bets using the odds set by the other user).
Whereas traditional bookmakers accept the risk of going head-to-head in various bets with gamblers, the business of a betting exchange does not involve any risk. The exchange simply provides the technology that pairs gamblers together in order for bets to take place, and takes a commission from the net winnings that result.
The introduction of betting exchanges opened up a vastly expanded range of betting options for gamblers, simply because people are willing to back bets that risk-averse bookmakers would not. The technology of betting exchanges allows users to instantly discover the people and the odds they are looking for in order to place the bets they want.
Other key differences in using a betting exchange is the option of lay betting, or backing a selection to lose. If a betting exchange can find someone willing to put a bet on the selection you wish to put a lay bet on, then your bet can take place.
Crucially, the prices at a betting exchange are determined by a free market, rather than being set by a bookmaker.
The emergence of online betting exchanges has caused a seismic shift in the way people gamble all over the world, creating exciting opportunities for gamblers who could never have existed before new technology was utilised in this way.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, betting exchanges have proved to be hugely popular with gamblers who seek a broader range of betting options and a wider variety of odds.
While there are many who prefer the traditional, favourite/long-shot style of bookmaking, and are happy to bet against a bookie in an attempt to overcome the odds and win, a 'new breed' of gambler has grown as the popularity of betting exchanges has spread around the world.
The role of Betfair in the rise of betting exchanges has been crucial. Dubbed "the greatest success story in the history of gambling", given its meteoric rise in what seemed like an unfeasibly short space of time, Betfair is now one of the most visited, most talked about betting sites in the world.
By allowing online gamblers to place lay bets for the first time, Betfair caused ripples that were felt throughout the gambling world, with bookmakers everywhere being forced to re-assess the way they operate in order to respond to the new proposition that had been made available to their customers.
Seemingly everyone connected to the world of gambling has an opinion on the rise of Betfair and other betting exchanges, for the simple reason that they have reshaped the industry.
Whilst thousands upon thousands of gamblers and commentators alike have embraced the new landscape of betting that Betfair has helped to bring about, there are still those who cling to the memory of a time before online betting was bigger than high street betting, and the idea of a betting exchange seemed a far-flung prospect.
But the evolution of betting exchanges and the online betting industry as a whole continues apace.
The history of the betting market had been built around the 'favourite/long-shot' bias. Bookmakers were traditionally risk averse, and they typically knew a lot more about the markets they offered than the punters betting on them.
But the betting exchange changed all that. For the first time, anyone wishing to place a bet could carefully identify misperceptions of probability, and then benefit by removing or mitigating those misperceptions.
In simple terms, the betting exchange offered betting without bookies. Rather than being limited to the odds offered by bookmakers, and being limited to making only 'place bets' that backed a winner of an event, betting exchanges allowed punters to go head-to-head against each other and create their own markets.
The launch of the exchange meant that, for the first time, if you could find someone willing to bet against something that you were willing to back, then the exchange facilitated the market and allowed your bet to take place.
For over 15 years, customers have been doing just that. Week in, week out, across all manner of sporting events, visitors to online betting exchanges have been posting their own odds and the amount of money they are willing to accept in wagers. Other customers then bet on the market at the posted price, and the bets are matched.
Betfair brought a refreshing change from traditional bookmakers, which often left customers feeling as though their chances of success were low, and they were betting against a giant, faceless fountain of knowledge that could not be defeated.
The Betfair forum was testament to the vibrant culture that quickly sprung up around the site. Customers experienced a spirit of camaraderie, which only grew stronger when some traditional bookmakers spoke out against the rise of Betfair.
UK Government statistics in 2011 showed that betting exchanges yielded one fifth of the gross gambling yield in the country. Since then, betting exchanges have become better understood by gambling communities on the web, and a wealth of resources now exists for anyone wishing to try their hand at a betting exchange to utilise.
Betting exchanges are becoming an increasingly integral part of the global gambling landscape, in many cases offering customers much better odds, more transparency, and an experience that feels intuitively fairer.
Mobile gambling apps have only added to the appeal of the betting exchange, by delivering updates on available markets and odds directly to people's pockets, making it easier than ever to take advantage of the features of betting exchanges.
Still a relatively new development in the betting industry as a whole, online betting exchanges will continue to be the subject of some discussion and debate for a few years yet.
But one thing is clear, online betting exchanges are here to stay.
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