Best Betting Exchange Sites
Betting exchanges are the new plaything among American bettors. It is no coincidence that the term ‘betting exchange’ sounds like Wall Street jargon. Some betting exchange sites, like Sporttrade, have commonalities with trading stocks. However, there are discrepancies in how exchange betting works between operators.
The main principle is that you bet against other bettors in the same game rather than against the house. If you wonder how that works, this guide will give you a quick tour of online betting exchanges and how they work. We will also name a few up-and-running companies where you can legally place exchange bets in the United States.
Before we arrive at the fun part, a quick run-through of our process of evaluating gaming operators. The process is generic and entails the assessments of individual segments of each operator to determine its standard and qualifications for the US market.
- Legality – The legality of betting exchanges is a matter to be resolved by the majority of states. So far, New Jersey, Colorado, and Tennessee appear to be the only states that have, to some extent, legalized online betting exchange sites. Before we recommend any site, we double-check the status of exchange betting in the state to ensure the operator is certified by a state regulator.
- Mobile compatibility – The few betting exchange sites that went live in the couple previous years all accept mobile betting via dedicated apps. We tested each bet exchange on iOS and Android systems using the app (where available) and a mobile browser. Our testers did not detect any weaknesses or major technical difficulties, with all operators being primed for mobile play.
- Sports selection – While exchange betting and regular sports betting differ, you still need to place an order for an outcome of a particular sports event. Due to the mechanism of betting exchanges, the outcomes are always limited. But our testers prefer them to at least cover events from the top-tier professional and college leagues in the US. We also favor operators that open the exchange market early to give players time to back or lay bets in advance.
- Payment methods – Exchange sites accept money transfers through familiar services. We detected methods like Wire transfer, credit/debit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Discover), paper check deposits, PayPal, and Play +. We ensured the depositing/withdrawing processes worked smoothly, with no unnecessary hold-ups or transfer fees.
- Commission rates – Players favor, in part, exchange betting sites due to their low commission (a.k.a. vig, or vigorish). But a vig is a vig, which is why we compared multiple operators and selected those with the most favorable rates.
- User-friendly and helpful – It’s only natural to be somewhat puzzled by the mechanisms of exchange betting if you’re just starting out. New players will appreciate the fact that the best betting exchanges (reviewed in the sections below) have already prepared quick-start guides with detailed instructions on how to place bets.
Those wondering how many betting exchanges operate in the US may be dismayed to know their choice is limited to a handful of operators. We found three licensed sports betting exchange sites that met our review criteria and adhered to US gaming laws. Here’s an outline of our findings.
- Responsible gaming tools
- Availability of live bets
- Multiple types of sports bonuses, including bonus bets
- Covers all major American and European sports leagues
- You can use betting calculators
- Offers betting exchange trading tips and beginner guides
- Allows both matched betting and requesting odds
- Multiple withdrawal options, including PayNearMe, Venmo, and PayPal
Prophet Exchange has been in business since 2018, but only recently gained recognition. You can bet on the top leagues in America and Europe, including the Premier League, MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, MLS, and Champions League, to name a few. The available markets include moneyline, spread, and totals, among other traditional bets. Prop bets are currently unavailable. You must be located in New Jersey to use Prophet’s platform.
- iOS and Android betting apps
- Educational content
- Offers profit boosts
- Responsive technical assistance team
- It takes time to learn to navigate the website
- No prop bets are available at this time
- You can create parlay bets
- $1 is the minimum bet
- Available betting options include moneyline, parlays, spread, futures, and totals
- KYC verification required
- Accessible only from Tennessee
- The average withdrawal processing time is between 24-48hrs.
- Scavenger Hunt promotion
Zensports has been active since 2016, making it one of the earliest sports betting exchanges on the market. It allows you to create parlays and place futures bets, and, like other betting exchanges, you can place both a backing bet or a lay bet, in which case you act as the sportsbook. Moneyline, point spread, and totals are a few of the other available bets, but the options are relatively limited.
- Attractive cashback welcome bonus
- Excellent iOS and Android apps
- No minimum deposit amount
- VIP program
- Demos & tutorials
- No promos at this time
- USD deposits only via Sightline, Wire Transfer, and Paper Checks
- Phone location verification required
- Easy-to-use probability calculator
- You can make ‘limit orders’
- Available only in New Jersey and Colorado
- The legal betting age is 21 or older
- As with stocks, you can trade in and out of bets
- Up to $5,000 in sports promos are up for grabs
- You can place orders in shares and USD
- Real-time portfolio view
With its in-play trading option and great sports coverage, Sporttrade stands as one of the best betting exchange sites in the US. While it shares similarities with other betting exchanges, the trading software customers can use, the up to $5,000 in sports promos, and the market liquidity collectively make Sporttrade a unique operator. You can tap the Order Book tab to get a full overview of all available ongoing markets.
- Up to $300 cashback signup bonus
- Betting exchange apps for iOS and Android
- Winning bets are higher compared to traditional sportsbooks
- Competitive odds
- Quick bet settlement
- Limited choice of outcomes
- Narrow selection of promotions
- Only a few betting markets are available
In layman’s terms, a betting exchange is a platform where you can wager real money on various sports outcomes against other players. Rather than the price being set by the US betting site, as is the case with traditional sports betting, players bet against one another if an outcome will occur or not.
The prices are adjusted accordingly via algorithmic calculations to estimate the market payout or by setting a fixed price on an outcome in advance.
The methods of betting and the estimations of payouts are similar everywhere, but there may be small variations. At Sporttrade, for example, the method is more comparable to stock trading. On the other hand, Prophet Exchange and Zensports have systems that allow you to track bets, back outcomes, request odds or accept bets, among other options.
Generally, all exchanges operate on the same principle. You can either make a back bet, where you bet that a team will win or lose (and in some cases draw), or lay bets. By laying bets, you take the opposite side of a bet, and technically, you help define the odds.
Exchange betting is a form of peer-to-peer (P2P) betting, as each bet requires a match. You can take the side that predicts one outcome or accept an opposing outcome as an alternative.
Compared to ordinary online sportsbooks, sports betting exchanges differ with a unique line-making and match-making system. Exchange sites are not identical and may offer additional services. Below, we’ll discuss the basics of how betting on an exchange site works.
Transferring funds is the same as with regular betting sites. You need to sign up with a desired operator and upload the required documents to confirm your identity.
Then, head to the cashier and pick one of the applicable payment methods. Online banking, Wire transfers, PayPal, Venmo, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and PayNearme are the usual lineup of payment options.
Once the operator checks and confirms your first transaction, which should be within a few minutes time, you can explore the types of bets you can make.
Backing is one of the principal forms of exchange betting. It involves placing a bet up to the allowed maximum amount on a given outcome of an event, such as a moneyline or a spread bet.
Every back bet must have a matching lay bet. That is, if you bet on an outcome, the exchange will have to find a match that bets the opposite outcome of that event, which will generate the potential payout relevant to the bet size.
If your back bet wins, you will win the amount wagered by the layer. If you lose, the layer will claim your side of the bet. More advanced strategies, like laying the draw, are also worth visiting when playing on a betting exchange.
Betting exchange sites can stand out from one another by offering unique services. For instance, with Prophetbet, you have several available options for your bets. You can place matched, unmatched, and partially matched bets, and you can cancel unmatched bets.
With Zensports, you can set up bets only for favorite events and sports to avoid browsing the accepted bets across all sports. You can do this by tapping the ‘Bets’ tab and then selecting the ‘Create Favorites’ button. Additionally, Zensports allows you to create Parlay Cards with multiple bets that will require a match for your bet to win.
Sporttrade, as we noted, works more like a stock exchange, except you buy and sell orders on given sports outcomes. Events don’t need to be finished for you to make a small profit. You can sell your contract at a specific price, but it is not guaranteed the operator will find a match, hence the liquidity problem. Alternatively, you can buy one or more contracts with specific outcomes for an event at the available trading price.
Sporttrade provides a complete overview of your Portfolio where you can manage and monitor your ongoing trades (bets), their price, and potential loss/win value. Sporttrade also has Limit Orders, which you can use to buy and sell contracts at pre-agreed prices to control risk.
Instead of risking losing bets on outcomes you are not sure will turn out, you can place a sell order for a lower price and back out of a bet while still making some money. The Limit Order option is excellent for buying or selling during live events, as you can make more educated decisions respective of how the game unfolds in real time.
Regarding the choice of betting markets and sports, exchange sites cover the same events and leagues as regular betting sites. The aforementioned exchanges focus largely on the US and North American markets, covering everything from American football, basketball, hockey, and college sports. Among other leagues, you will be able to back, lay, and trade bets on the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, NCAAF, NCAAB, and UFC.
Additionally, betting exchanges cover all major domestic football leagues in Europe and all top European tournaments. A few examples are the Champions League, UEFA Europa League, La Liga (Spain), Premier and the League (England).
Concerning the types of bets, the choice can vary. Some operators, like Sporttrade, offer a limited selection of outcomes that comprises only money line bets, totals, and point spreads. At Prophet Exchange, prop bets, teasers, and parlays are not allowed, but you can place live bets. At Zensports, alongside match winners, totals, and spreads, you can also find props for certain sports, such as golf and boxing. Zensports also offers futures markets and allows you to create parlay cards.
There are two main areas where the differences between betting exchanges and traditional bookmakers are most pronounced: method of betting and vig.
Unlike mainstream online sportsbooks, where the operator is the line-maker, exchanges allow players to create the odds. One player acts as the bettor (backer), and the other acts as the house (layer). This matched betting method is essential to creating the exchange odds. A back bet won’t profit, even if you correctly predict the outcome, unless there is a layer to accept the opposite side of your bet.
The vig (juice) is yet another area where traditional and exchange betting sites differ. Regular sportsbooks, by creating and offering the odds, take a risk by allowing you to bet against the house, hence the larger take (commission) by the house. But with betting exchange sites, because players act as both the bettor and the house, the operator takes only a small fee on winning bets. The fee is typically considerably lower compared to the commission on conventional sportsbooks.
Bonuses and sports promotions, as well as market selection, are comparable areas with minor differences. Like traditional sportsbooks, exchange sites can provide cashback deals, boosts, and ‘No Danger First Wager’ offers, which can be seen as a counterpart to the traditional second-chance first bet found at prototypical online sportsbooks.
Regarding types of bets, at exchange sites, the choice is relatively narrowed to match-winners, totals, and over/under. Some may offer a limited selection of props and futures, while combined bets and parlays have limited availability.
Pros & Cons of Using a Betting Exchange Site
|Lower vig as you don’t bet against the house
|Small choice of bonuses and promotions
|Often have better odds compared to conventional betting sites
|Someone can accept the layer’s odds before you
|You can back or oppose outcomes
|Limited choice of outcomes
|Not as restrictive as traditional sportsbooks
|Available in very few states
|You can trade with contracts as with stocks
The betting exchanges listed in this guide are neither groundbreaking nor pioneering. The first exchange site, Betfair Exchange, was founded in 1999, though it was mostly limited to the UK market.
The United States has only recently begun to tap its fingers into the exchange betting market, which is only a small sector of the broad iGaming industry. Only a handful of licensed operators are available to US players, and even those are restricted in most states. Only New Jersey, Colorado, and Tennessee players can access the three betting exchange sites we covered in our guide.
Exchange sites suffer from a few shortcomings, such as a lack of liquidity and a limited selection of outcomes and sports. But they offset these deficits by allowing you to cash in on better odds and hedge your wagers. Additionally, you can use orders or contracts in different ways to make a small profit, such as finding full or partial matches, selling your position, or purchasing orders at a limited price.
Although the choice of incentives is limited, you can still claim some types of bonuses, such as no-sweat first bets, referral offers, or cashback. Some, like Zensports, also have internal rewards programs for VIP/loyal bettors.