Betfair was founded in 2000 and is a British company. They are fully licensed in UK but attract customers from all over the world.. The company has been a great success and has received a number of awards for their innovative site and betting option. Betfair is a very solid and reliable company with a good reputation.
They offer sports betting, poker, casino, exchange games and betting on the financial market.
The odds format is decimal.
Betfair is, unlike the other bookmakers reviewed here, not a bookmaker! This is because Betfair is the biggest and best known betting exchange in Europe. If you are unfamiliar with the term betting exchange, this is a market place where you bet against other punters instead of betting against a bookmaker.
If you think Manchester United will win tonight against Hull and you find odds you like at Betfair, you BACK them and you chose your stake. There is another punter who does not think Man U will win so they LAY Man U. So if Manchester United win, you win the money from the other punter and not from Betfair!
Betfair, as the intermediary, makes sure that you get your winnings and when you chose to back or lay the stake, the money is taken directly from your account, no credit is given.
Betfair makes it money by taking a commission on all the winning bets on the site. The commission is about 5% but if you bet a lot, you get lower commission. If you bet £100 on Man U to win at odds 1.5 you win a total of £150. Your winning is £50 minus the commission 5% (£ 2.50), which give you a total net win of £47.50.
So you can chose if you want to bet on a team to win or not to win, which is the same as back or lay the team, which is good but this is where Betfair starts to get really interesting. If you do not like the odds Betfair offer, you can set your own odds! If you do not like the 1.5 odds on Man U you click on the back column and write 1.6 instead and then your stake. Then you wait and see if someone wants to take the bet, and wants to lay Man U to the odds 1.6. This means you can basically set your own odds and you will be informed if anyone accepts these odds under the section entitled My Bets. You never know who you are betting against, you are totally anonymous.
What is the advantage of using a betting exchange compared to a regular bookmaker? First, you can choose your own odds you want to back or lay a team with. If you do not like the odds available you just make your own offer. But the biggest advantage from our point of view is that Betfair almost always offer better odds than other bookmakers. A lot better we would say, even after the commission.
On the main markets such as Premier League there is a huge array of options for a punter to lay or bet on. If you like to bet on smaller leagues around Europe, it may be difficult to find the best odds but this is to be expected. There is no definable betting limit offered by Betfair, it is up to the customer. Unlike other European bookmakers Betfair never put a betting limit on you because you are a winning customer, as it is in the interest of the site to have a punter that keeps winning!
The site is a little bit difficult to understand at first and you find it sometimes hard to find the game you are looking for. But after a while you will become more familiar with the site. Sometimes the site is slow and sometimes it goes down but that does not happen as often as it used to, but this can be frustrating when it does occur.
You can bet on about 25 different sports and there are a lot of different betting options. You can bet on correct score, first goalscorer, half time score, over/under amongst many other options.
There are also live betting options where the same betting exchange rules and formats apply. This ensures you can still make your own offer or chose to back or lay your team.
Betfair has a statistics section which is very good and may help customers get a better feel for the bet they are about to make. The site is available in 22 different languages and you can bet in 12 different currencies.
The payment methods are the usual, credit card with 2% fee, bank transfer, Moneybookers or by cheque. You can usually use the same method as when you deposit when you make a withdrawal.
The customer service can be reached by e-mail or by phone.
Betfair do not currently offer any bonuses but new customers get a free £10 bet.
We would say Betfair is a must have bookmaker, even though it is not a bookmaker! It is maybe not the simplest site to use for a beginner but the odds are often so much better than other bookmakers, even after the commission. The live betting options are outstanding at Betfair, which is another great bonus. They offer unlimited betting limits and have a really wide range of betting options. The world’s biggest betting exchange, Betfair, is really recommended by our team.