Betfair is certainly not a bookmaker in the traditional sense; rather, it is a betting exchange where individuals not only have the opportunity to place bets, but also play the role of the bookmaker. It is this revolutionary approach to sports betting that has made Betfair an internet phenomenon and the largest betting community in the world.
Instead of having a punter and the bookmaker, individuals on Betfair are actually betting against each other, in much the same way as two mates would do down the pub. The difference is, there is a vast array of different sports and races covered, and a huge customer base meaning that you can still get virtually whatever bet you are looking for. The role of Betfair is to provide the online platform for this betting activity; holding onto both sides of the bets until a winner is determined. At that point, Betfair will transfer the winnings to the successful party, minus a small commission of course.
Most punters will still use Betfair in order to place bets on results they expect to happen. In this respect, Betfair is much like any other online bookmaker. However, punters also have the opportunity to provide odds on an event not happening; this is called laying a bet. This is the aspect that makes Betfair so much different from other online betting sites. Although the technical aspects of what you have at stake when you lay a bet needs a little getting used to, you are always aware of what you stand to gain or lose.
The sports covered by Betfair are almost exactly the same as you would find at any online bookmaker. Just because the betting process is a little bit different to other sites, that does not mean that there is any less variety in the sports you can bet on. In fact, many niche sports you may not expect to be present on Betfair still are, and undoubtedly all of the major sports and sporting events are available. Even better, the fact that Betfair is a betting exchange means that as well as all major sports, and the majority of minor sports, being available, punters also have two different ways to bet. Although the layout of the website may take a little bit of getting used to, you will still find all of the markets you are looking for on Betfair
The racing coverage of Betfair is entirely focused on horse racing, as opposed to including greyhound racing and harness racing. All of the major horseracing events from around the world are covered, and there are three different ways of wagering. Firstly, the standard Exchange works in exactly the same as the rest of the site, with customers being able to back and lay runners depending on what they expect to happen. Especially put in place for the Australian version of Betfair, there is also the Fair Price option which provides the best value from the three major Australian totes when it comes to metro horse racing. Finally, odds from the Tote are also available and the usual array of combination bets and exotics can be placed.
Betfair also has plenty of coverage of other markets such as financials and political affairs. In exactly the same way as traditional bookmakers have branched out into covering other aspects of day-to-day life, Betfair has also introduced these markets into their betting exchange. Betfair also has live casino, poker and arcade games to enjoy as well.
As usual with Australian betting on bookmaker sites, live betting must be done over the telephone. This is a shame and hopefully something which will change in the future, as the live betting aspect of Betfair in other countries such as the UK is one of its highlights. This is because punters are able to make hedge bets during the course of a sporting event if they feel their original bet is going to lose; something which is not allowed on conventional bookmakers sites.
Betfair has a mobile version of their website and it is much the same as the normal desktop version. The company also has apps for iPhone and other mobile platforms which make it very easy to back and lay bets on the move.
It's hard to suggest that a company which began in 2000 and has already developed a customer base of some 3 million punters is not onto something. With the ability to both back and lay bets, it is certainly worth the effort to get to know how this betting exchange works, and how to make the most of it. Undoubtedly, it is possible to obtain better odds on many markets, especially when betting on tournament winners in many sports for example. Novice or occasional bettors may find Betfair a little difficult to get their heads around, but experienced bettors and enthusiasts will certainly enjoy the novel approach to sports betting.