Lay Bets and Exchanges

Lay Bets and Exchanges explained at the Matched Betting Centre. Understand the lay stake and liability

Lay Bets and Exchanges Explained

As you can appreciate the exchange sites work differently to your normal Bookmakers. The reason for this is that the Exchange sites give you the opportunity to back against an outcome. Moreover you’re betting on something not to happen.

Examples of Lay Bets:

  • Leicester City not to beat Manchester City
    • The lay bet wins if the game ends up a draw, or if Man City beat Leicester City
  • Barcelona not to win the Champions League
    • The lay bet wins if any of the other qualifying teams win
  • Belgium not to win the Euro 2016
    • The lay bet wins if any of the other countries win the tournament

This is why we use the Exchange, so we can cover all possible outcomes by placing just one bet with the Bookmaker and one with the Exchange. If it wasn’t for a betting exchange, we would have to place bets on the other outcomes to protect us from risk. Actually, this is known as dutching bets and will be covered later.

Laying off the bet on an exchange means that no matter what the result of the event is, you will either win with the Bookmaker or at the Exchange.



These could be potential bets that we place with bookmakers:

  1. Bet £10 to win £30
  2. Bet £5 to win £50
  3. Bet £100 to win £200

The stake is being risked for the winnings.


By laying off these bets at a betting exchange, the roles are being reversed:

  1. Bet £30 to win £10
  2. Bet £50 to win £5
  3. Bet £200 to win £100

This time it is the liability that is at risk, in return for potentially winning the lay stake.


Possible outcomes of the first bet above:

Let’s say the first bet was a certain horse to come first in a race. This was a bet where £10 is being placed to win £30. The bet is also laid off at an exchange

  1. Bet of £10 to £30
    • The horse comes first
      • You win £30 at the bookmaker
      • You lose £30 at the exchange
    • The horse does not come first
      • You lose £10 at the bookmaker
      • You win £10 at the exchange


When laying off your bet’s on the exchange, your liability will be roughly the same as the potential winnings at the bookmaker. Whilst the lay stake will be roughly the same as the bet at the bookmaker.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the lay bet protects you from any risk.

Finally, for more guidance on Exchanges, Betfair have provide a more detailed explanation.