Betfair review


Betfair offers a fixed odds sportsbook and also pioneered the concept of the online betting exchange - a marketplace that matches bets between individuals and dispenses with the traditional role of the bookmaker. Features of Betfair's award-winning sportsbook and betting exchange include:

- £50 free bet offer for new members in the Betfair fixed odds sportsbook;
- Bet on outcomes happening (back) or not happening (lay);
- Choose and specify the odds that you're willing to accept.

Read our Betfair review to learn more about how this innovative fixed odds sportsbook and online betting exchange works - and for details of how you can place "back" and "lay" bets, potentially at odds of your choosing, both before and during sports events. We also explain how to qualify for a £30 free bet offer from Betfair . Betfair also offers a casino, games and online poker.

» Join Betfair - £30 in free bets

Overall rating for Betfair : 9/10

Look and feel: 9/10
Range of sports betting & features: 10/10
Customer support: 10/10
Welcome offer: 7/10

Betfair £30 free bets offer

Click one of our links to visit the special offer page, from where you can join Betfair using a promotion code that's entered automatically on the account application form. Place an initial bet of at least £10 in the Betfair fixed odds sportsbook at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) to receive 3 x free bets of £10 each, making a free bets total of £30. The offer is open to new Betfair customers upon registration and only when using the promotion code that is entered automatically by using our pre-coded link.

Terms: the free bets will be added to your account automatically within 24 hours of your initial, qualifying bet being accepted. Exchange bets are excluded from this promotion. Your free bets can be accessed from the free bets section at the header of the Betfair sports betting website. The free bets must be used within 30 days of being credited and must be placed at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5). Stakes are not included within returns if your free bet wins. The offer is available to new Betfair customers only.

» Register with Betfair - up to £30 in free bets

Whilst we update our reviews regularly, please check the offer details and terms on Betfair's site when registering, as the free bet offer may be withdrawn or their terms amended at any time.

Betfair betting

Using the medium of the betting exchange - which does very clever work behind the scenes, using proprietary technology to match customers' selections against each other - Betfair customers can either:

- Bet on a win ("back" a selection): much like placing a bet with a bookmaker, or;
- Bet against a win ("lay" a selection): the customer plays what would traditionally be the bookmaker's role.

In many cases, this system means that the odds available for any given event via Betfair's betting exchange are better than those available from leading online bookmakers. What's more if a customer would prefer to bet at better odds than those that are presently available on the betting exchange, they can place their order with Betfair for a better price of their choosing. There is, of course, a risk that such bets may not be accepted, given that it still requires one or more people to be matched on the other side of the bet (ie who are willing to accept those specified odds).

Betfair customers are able to place exchange-based bets of either type on the following sports and other betting markets:

American football Australian rules Baseball
Basketball Boxing Cricket
Cycling Darts Financial bets
Fishing Gaelic games Golf
Greyhound racing Handball Horse racing
Ice hockey Mixed martial arts Motor sport
Pelota Poker Politics
Rugby league Rugby union Snooker
Soccer Special bets Tennis
Trotting Volleyball  

Betfair displays odds in decimal format as standard. For help with understanding odds, see our odds guide.

» Register with Betfair - up to £30 in Betfair free bets

Placing bets with Betfair

The first time you navigate to a betting coupon, Betfair's site will launch a pop-up asking "First bet on Betfair?". This helpful tool can be used to watch a demonstration of how to place a bet, lay a bet (betting on outcome not happening) and also how to bet in-play / in-running.

By default, betting coupons display odds for backing given selections. However, checking the "Back and Lay" box at the top of the coupon will cause current odds to be displayed for both backing and laying each selection. A second checkbox for "Market Depth" shows how much money is currently available for betting at each of the displayed odds. If you don't want to accept any of the displayed odds, you can click on any of the available odds, then change them to the price you're willing to accept within the betting slip, which appears to the right hand side. You can also use the odds converter within the betting slip to see the fractional and American odds equivalents of any given decimal odds - and vice versa. A help tab within the betting slip provides context-sensitive information, which is likely to answer any immediately relevant questions you may have. When logged in, clicking on Place Bets (at the foot of the slip) will place the bet(s).

» Bet online now with Betfair

Betfair's charges

Betfair charges a commission on customers' net winnings on a betting market. Where there is a net loss on a market, no commission is payable. Commission is calculated based on the Market Base Rate (MBR) as shown in the Rules tab for each market. Customers can earn discounts from the rate in return for betting more. A customer's Discount Rate is based on the number of Betfair Points they have earned on their account. Points are earned on all betting activity at the rate of 1 point per 10p of commission paid (on wins) or implied commission (on losses). Discounts are offered in a tiered structure and rise to a maximum of 60%. High volumes of transactions (over 1,000 in any hour of the day) also attract a transactional fee. Full details of how commission, discounts and charges are calcuated is available via Betfair's help section.

Betfair live streaming and scores

Betfair's Live Video service is available to registered customers, offering near live (c10-20 seconds delay) online video coverage spanning a wide range of sporting events. At the time of writing, Live Video is free except for horse racing, for which a minimum matched exchange bet of £2 must be placed on the race to be viewed within the "day of race market". Tote bets don't qualify.

Betfair also offers a live scores service, which provides live football scores including scorers, times of goals and cards awarded during matches - ideal for keeping up to date with in-play betting markets.

» Join Betfair's betting exchange

Payment methods

For UK clients, the most popular method for depositing funds at Betfair is by debit card - Delta, Solo or Maestro. Debit card deposits are subject to a minimum of £10. Other accepted payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, Neteller, Moneybookers, bank transfer and personal cheques. See the help section for full details. Funds may be withdrawn to cards via My Account > Withdraw Funds.

Betfair's layout and design

Betfair's site does a good job of marshalling the vast amount of content at its users' disposal. The free bet offer has a dedicated landing page, which makes the joining process nice and easy. Having registered, the sports betting sections can initially appear quite daunting, but there is ample support in the way of help tabs and self-explanatory menus and navigational aids.

Betfair help

Betfair does a good job of providing context sensitive help via a tab in the betting slip area. A help link at the very top of the page launches a more comprehensive set of resources in a new tab or window - complete with contents, glossary and a Contact Us section. Betfair's help team can be contacted by email, post or via local rate telephone and fax (available 24/7).

Betfair information

Betfair's UK correspondence address is PO Box 34467, London, W6 9WS. UK customers can contact Betfair on 0844 871 000. Betfair is licenced and regulated by the UK's Gambling Commission with licence number 105-002062-R-104133-001. Betfair is a registered trademark of The Sporting Exchange Limited. Betfair is a proud to have won the Queen's Award twice - firstly for innovation (2003) and subsequently for International Trade (2008). The award is given by the Queen on the Prime Minister's recommendation and only after a detailed assessment by he DTI.

Join Betfair now

If you'd like to take advantage of Betfair's welcome promotion, click one of our links to be taken to the special offer page, where you can register using the promotion code provided there. This qualifies new UK clients for free bets of £30. Or to see other online betting sites, visit our betting directory via the betting link below:


Exchange betting and more

From its origins as a betting exchange, the Betfair brand has grown to encompass a much wider range of online gaming activities. Today, in addition to exchange-based betting, UK clients can also enjoy Betfair's online casino, exchange games and poker - all accessed via a single account.

More online betting

Online sports betting offers

Visit other online bookmakers from our panel to see more welcome offers and free bets for UK clients aged 18+

Bet365 Bet Victor
Ladbrokes Coral

Online betting news

UK online betting news

The following betting and gambling news headlines refer to articles from the offers blog. Click on the title to visit our news section and read these and other UK betting and gambling news articles in full:

Responsible gambling

Bet responsibly

Resources and advice features gambling sites for UK consumers aged 18+. We urge responsible attitudes and behaviour when gambling. Resources, help & info:

-'s responsible gambling guide;
- Gamble Aware - advice about gambling;
- GamCare - online, phone & counselling support;
- Gamblers Anonymous - fellowship-based help.