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It is only in recent years that I started to gamble, and that is down to the internet. It all started when In joint a 'rewards' site, www.greasypalm.co.uk', on which there were various online bookmakes such as Coral, Bet Fair, all of which were offering free bets (plus the greasy palm reward). Also featured were BetFair and online betting exchange.
Now a betting exchange is more than just a book makers, it actually allows you to become a book maker yourself, and all of the money (won or lost) is from other gamblers (not a company such a Coral), with betfair making their money by taking a percentage (typically 5 %) of those winnings. As such you can decide what odds you would like on a bet, but that bet will only be matched or accepted if another bet fair member takes it (i.e. will payout at your odds if you win or keep your stake if you loose). So this means that in many cases you can both back (bet that something will happen / will win) or lay (bet that something won't happen / won't win).
The site is very simple to use and in many ways just like that of all other online book makers, firstly you need to create a user name, set a password, enter you personal details and register a debit / credit card and deposit some money etc. Then it on to the betting.
The home page shows a summary of some of the more popular and current sports plus a very small selection of bets within that sport, whilst down the left hand side is a list of all 'Markets' (sports / events etc). Clicking on an event expands that out so into further sub events, (i.e clicking on tennis shows all tennis tournaments currently taking place), and then clicking on the desired tournament will show all matches within the tournament that you can place a bet on. Once you click on the match your interested in then the main part of screen shows the details along with the odds available to both back and lay (with the two being displayed in different colours to help avoid a costly mistake). Clicking on the odds for the desired bet will make it appear in the place bets tab of the left hand vertical pane - this is where the betting is ultimately controlled from.
One the bet is in the left hand pane, it can be placed by entering the stake (the minimum stake is £2 which is higher than traditional book makers) and then clicking submit, you will then be shown a summary of the bet and given the chance to either cancel or place the bet - this will then become a matched bet which is binding and can not be cancelled.
As touched upon above, you can request odds which aren't currently offered, this is done in the by entering the desired odds when placing the bet (described above), once the bet is submitted it will be marked as an 'unmatched' bet until someone accepts your odds. This can be dangerous, as many of the markets are 'in play' so bets can be placed at virtually any time until its over, so if you don't monitor the unmatched bet, someone could end up taking your odds (and your take money !!) once it is almost a sure thing that your bet is not going to come in.
The odds in BetFair are displayed in decimal format so instead 2/1 (2 divided by 1 is 1) plus an additional 1 for your stake, is displayed as 3 within bet fair. There are a host of other features within bet fair many of which are only for those who, believe it or not, make their living on BetFair, such as displaying the profit and loss made on different markets. There are also parameters which you can set to limit the amount you can deposit, bet, loose etc in a day but again these are pretty standard.
The telephone based support for the site is very good, I have had to use them several times for this and that and the call has been answered promptly (just a few minutes on hold) and the problem sorted out quickly. They also offer a phone betting service, but this is not for the faint hearted as the minimum stake is £50 !!!
To sum up I think BetFair is great, the options are endless, the site easy to use and there is money to be made. However like all gambling sites it is addictive and BetFair is that little more dangerous as if you lay a bet, then the stakes are high (if you lay at 10, the for every £1 you stake you actually need £10 in your account). Have a go, but be careful !!
Good review, buy sounds too complicated for me Ande x
Crimsonflame 25.07.2006 14:37
Really hate gambling.Good review. Crimps
shuttlex 25.07.2006 14:16
If you can afford to lose the money you place on a bet, i suppose the odd bet is ok. The problem as you mention is that it is addictive and potentially dangerous. I think this is a serious problem that these betting agencies are well aware of and take advantage of. This can be very harmful for people who just can't stop and keep throwing away large amounts of money they can't afford to lose.