After recently deciding to give World Bet exchange a try, I thought it would be interesting to see how other exchanges compare to Betfair these days and Matchbook were the latest for me to trial. They are a pretty recent addition to Oddschecker but they have actually been in existence for over 10 years.
Betfair’s exchange have a commission of 5% and this has been increases in some countries and with liquidity declining somewhat in recent years, it’s well worth keeping an eye on their competitors.
I was intrigued by Matchbook because they apparently offer the lowest commission in the industry. What they fail to make clear though is that unlike betfair this is commission per bet (winning AND losing) and not per market. Not so appealing if you are a trader.
I appreciate that some people like to take a position and bet only so how would Matchbook fair for those. Well the site itself despite looking quite impressive is sometimes slow and a bit cumbersome which did frustrate me at times.
The liquidity on the site is ok but then Matchbook only seem to offer the more high-profile markets and bets types so you’d expect it to. Their offerings are limited with no horse racing for example and I couldn’t see many choosing Matchbook as there sole or even number one place to get their bets matched.
The Premier League and Championship odds on Matchbook do compare well to Betfair and they are usually top price on at least one of the 3 footballing outcomes which makes Matchbook preferrable when the commission rate is factored in. If you are outright punting however you can often get similar odds or better from another bookmaker these days but a plus point here is that you aren’t going to be restricted or banned if you do make big profits.
Another positive thing for me is the fact that the odds are displayed to 3 decimal places for more accuracy but it did play tricks on my eyes at times and I could see mistakes being made more easily. Perhaps I’m just not used to it and in theory more accurate prices and more competition for prices is a good thing. It could however lead to quite a bit more cat and mouse leaping over prices by the tiniest of margins and plenty of frustration.
A couple of other things that annoyed me were firstly, the fact that as soon as I’d registered and deposited my money I received an email telling me they’d been unable to verify who I was. So, no withdrawals allowed until I’ve sent them a copy of my passport and utility bill within 18 days.
I know that there are a few bookmakers that do this but they’re few and I wasn’t expecting this from an exchange. I also think that they should clearly tell you about this prior to registration or when you deposit. It’s a sure fire way to get the back up of your new customer.
The nail in the coffin for me however was the fact that I could withdraw any profit I’d made until I’d rolled over the rest of my deposit. Again not something that was made aware to me clearly before I’d signed up and in order to withdraw I had to pay Matchbook 2% of my withdrawal.
This makes the 1% commission even less appealing with hidden charges such as these. Yes one should always read the terms and conditions but a) They’re too long everywhere these days and b) they were also placed in a very smallest window on the registration page. From other sources it seems unclear as to exactly when Matchbook will implement this charge and this is the most concerning thing about it.
Ignoring that, I’m not sure why how much I’ve deposited makes a difference to what I should have to rollover. There is a risk free bet which I won so didn’t cost Matchbook anything and even so you’d expect any rolling over to be based on that and not on the amount deposited. I’m told that Matchbook have 3rd party liquidity providers and the cost of that relationship probably has something to do with it.
In summary Matchbook aren’t a great alternative to betfair and their service looks far more appealing than it really is. If and only if you make big bets or you are arbing with another provider on a limited amount of high-profile markets then Matchbook could be useful to you on occasion. My initial dealings with Matchbook have left a sour taste however and I’m not sure I could trust putting in the big money you’d need to in order to make using Matchbook worthwhile.
If you are looking for a more serious and regular alternative to betfair however I suggest you try Betdaq or World Bet Exchange who I thought were particularly impressive.