Matchbook is a betting exchange that has been in operation since 2004 but only entered the UK market after significant investment in 2011. The site offers peer-to-peer trading rather than traditional betting. The business model is based on customers who want to bet on something to happen (backers) and others who want to bet on the same outcome not happening (layers). Bets are matched at a mutually beneficial price.
The operator is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Alderney Gambling Control Commission. The core product is sports betting but the Matchbook site also features a casino and live casino which do not use the exchange model. The betting exchange and other gaming products are available on desktop computers and as part of mobile apps and there is a mobile website.
Matchbook Sign Up Offer
Matchbook is rare amongst UK-facing traditional bookmakers and exchange operators in that there is no welcome bonus. The operator is competing in a market dominated by Betfair which was the first fully-functioning betting exchange. However, their direct competitors are Betdaq and Smarkets who have different approaches to welcome bonuses. New customers with Betdaq can claim £10 in the form of a free bet while Smarkets refund £10 after the first losing bets. The Betfair welcome bonus is £100 in the form of free bets.
Betting exchanges don’t make money from the results of bets. So, Matchbook provides the platform for peer-to-peer trading and charges a commission on winning bets. The standard commission across all sports and markets is 2%. Betdaq and Smarkets both have the same standard rate but Betdaq does not charge any commission for some sports. The Betfair base rate is 5% but this can be lower based on turnover. The key to any betting exchange is liquidity and the amount traded in any market with Matchbook is adequate.
In line with the other betting exchanges, Matchbook only charges commission on net winnings in any market. The base rate of 2% applies across the board and there are no lower rates for big-staking customers. The calculation is as follows:
• £100 back at 2.00 wins so returns £200 for £100 profit £2 commission at 2%.
• £100 lay at 2.00 loses so returns £0 for a loss of £100 so no commission.
There is no profit margin written into the Matchbook odds so they have more value than the odds with a traditional bookmaker. Here is an illustration for a match result football market:
Fixed Odds Bookmaker
Matchbook’s odds are better than the same odds with a fixed odds bookmaker. However, winning bets are subject to 2% commission and a backer or layer may not get bets matched at these odds. The betting exchange works when backers and layers trade at a mutually agreeable price. Bets can be fully matched, partially matched or not matched. The odds on offer are determined by the balance between the number of backers and layers.
Matchbook Ongoing Promotions (Last Updated: April 2020)
Matchbook do not offer a range of ongoing promotions for existing customers, but the site does promote accumulator betting. However, these are only back bets and they cannot be layed. The operator claims to be the only betting exchange that has accumulator betting. Customers using the Betfair sportsbook can place multiple bets in the same way. These are back bets and there is no laying facility.
Customers with Matchbook can place accas on the following selected markets, indicated by an icon: match result, both teams to score, handicaps and total. The option is available for 12 sports, including football tennis and horse racing. Accumulator betting with Matchbook is subject to the following Terms & Conditions:
- 2 to 10 selections.
- Non-runners reduce the number of selections in the bet.
- There is no commission.
- Lay accas are not allowed.
- Bets cannot be cashed out.
Matchbook claims acca bets are a feature of the betting exchange when in fact they are the standard bets that fixed odds bookmakers accept. In fact, some offer a bonus for winning accas but Matchbook settle bets at their standard odds. An acca with 10 winning selections provides a potentially life-changing win for a small stake.
Matchbook Markets & Betting Options
Matchbook is a betting exchange so customers can place back and lay bets in a range of sports. The categories appear in two lists: Popular Sports and All Sports. At the time of writing the popular list displayed horse racing, soccer, American Football, tennis and basketball. The complete list features 16 categories, including the popular sports, Politics and TV Specials. Here is information about the three most bet on sports at Matchbook:
Horse racing is still the core betting sport in betting offices in the UK. Customers with UK-facing online operations expect a good racing service. It is a major sport at Betfair and Matchbook provides betting from meetings in the UK and Ireland and other parts of the world. Customers can back and lay horses to win a race or be placed. At the time of writing there was very little liquidity in markets for the racing in the UK.
Matchbook also offers exchange bettors the platform to back and lay horses in ante-post markets for the main championships races at the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National. Overall, the Matchbook racing odds offer better value than with fixed odds bookmakers. However, winning bets are subject to 2% commission and bets are not certain to be matched. If there is little liquidity in a market, bets will not be matched.
Matchbook offers match markets for soccer in 13 countries and the Europa League and Champions League. Customers can also trade on the outright winner of the Premier League and Championship in England. The most popular competition for betting is the English Premier League. However, the range of markets is limited to the match result, handicaps, totals and correct score. Other betting exchanges offer many more betting options for a soccer fixture.
At the time of writing three days in advance of a match, liquidity in these markets is poor. Football bettors tend to place bets on the day of a match but Betfair has already generated higher volumes of liquidity at this stage. The match result odds offer good value compared to the same odds with traditional bookmakers. However, winning bettors pay 2% of the net profit in commission. Bets may not be matched at the current odds so they may change before the start of the match.
Tennis is very popular for exchange trading at Matchbook because the odds are constantly changing. Indeed, at different stages of a match one player can be the favourite and underdog. The odds move after each point but the biggest shift comes after a break of serve. The range of tennis markets is limited to the match winner, handicaps and totals. Matchbook offers these options for matches on the ATP and WTA tours, Challenger events and ITF tournaments. The volume of liquidity is adequate which means backers and layers should get most bets matched at an acceptable price.
Matchbook Mobile Betting And Sports App
Mobile customers with Matchbook have access to the service using Android and iOS devices. The Android app can’t be downloaded from the Google Play Store directly but bettors can install the app using a link placed on the operator’s website. Customers using iOS devices can download a dedicated app from the appropriate store.
Matchbook does not offer new and existing customers any mobile-specific concessions. However, the apps are fully functional which means users can place accumulators and trade with a commission of 2% of net profit. The apps and mobile site work well and are easy to navigate. Mobile users enjoy a sleek design and full functionality.
Matchbook Exchange Features
Matchbook offers customers the following exchange betting features:
Backing And Laying
Customers with Matchbook can bet into exchange markets for 13 sports. The operator provides the platform and withholds commission of £2 on winning bets. Exchange markets are responsive and subject to supply and demand. If there are more backers than layers, there is downward pressure on the price. If there are more layers than backers, there is upward pressure on the price. The objective is for backers and layers to match bets at an agreeable price. Bets may be partly matched or not matched at all and liquidity is key to this process which is constantly changing.
In-Play betting appears on the list of popular categories at Matchbook. Soccer and tennis account for the most live bets. The number of in-play markets is limited and sometimes it might only include the match winner. There is no live streaming or an animation of the progress of play and limited live match data. Betting is suspended after a key event and the updated odds appear after a few seconds. If there are no odds for a live event, customers can make an offer at a price that suits both parties betting budget.
Cash out betting is available for Matchbook customers in selected sports and markets and the option is indicated by an icon. Customers can manually place counter bets to balance the original bet and guarantee a profit or limit the liability whatever the outcome. Cashing out a bet automates this process and Matchbook calculates the value. Customers can accept the offer or leave bets to run to expiry. The cash out amount depends on the original stake and bet and the current odds at the time of the request. Pre-match and earlier in-play bets can be cashed out with Matchbook.
Matchbook Banking Options
Exchange operators licensed by the UKGC like Matchbook can currently accept deposits using credit cards but they will be banned in April 2020. Customers will still be able to transfer funds using debit cards, prepaid cards, e-Wallets and Bank transfer. Deposits are immediate and free of charge while withdrawals are subject to standard delays and no fees. Some providers may impose a charge for carrying out banking transaction with exchange bookmakers such as Matchbook.
Opening a Matchbook Account, Deposit and Bet
Potential new customers with Matchbook visit the Home Page and click ‘JOIN MATCHBOOK’. New players complete the required fields and specify a Username and Password. A bonus or promo code is optional but it activates any welcome bonuses. At the time of writing there was no one on offer with Matchbook.
The account registration process is completed when the customer accepts the Terms & Conditions and clicks the create account button. New customers are prompted to make a deposit which involves selecting the method and specifying the amount. Most deposits are accepted immediately and the account balance is updated.
New customers navigate to the preferred market. They click the back or lay button and enter a stake. Once the bet is confirmed, it can be matched, partially matched or unmatched. Customers can choose to leave an unmatched or partially unmatched bet in the market so that is automatically matched if the required odds become available.
Matchbook can be contacted via Live Chat, by phone or email. Staff are available from 08:00 to 01:00 GMT from Monday to Sunday. Customers can also refer to a comprehensive FAQ section and Help Centre. The Matchbook site shows links to bodies that offer support to problem gamblers. There are also exclusion measures on offer to control gambling. Matchbook has registered with the Independent Bookmakers Arbitration Service (IBAS) for the resolution of issues with their customers.
More On The Bookmaker
Matchbook entered the UK market in 2011 when there was investment in an operation that had been trading since 2004. The operator began to market the business in the UK despite the dominance of Betfair. Matchbook won’t be easy to take customers from Betfair because that company is one of the most trusted in online betting. Though, Matchbook offers competitive odds and a low base commission rate and that can lead their success in future.
Matchbook Bottom Line
Exchange operators in the UK find it difficult to gain market share due to the dominance of Betfair. Matchbook have stayed in the market for eight years so the operation is working but on a small scale. There s liquidity in most markets so bets are being matched. Matchbook provides a positive exchange betting experience and the site is a good destination for peer-to-peer trading. Matchbook are the equal of Betdaq and Smarkets and provide efficient matching of bets, even though the number of markets is limited.