Betting exchanges are popular for a reason. They are convenient, cheap and easy to use, whether you’re a seasoned player or a newbie. But of course, that doesn’t make them perfect. The biggest exchanges are constantly asking for feedback, and constantly making changes to their user experience.
We last reviewed Smarkets back in September, and a lot has changed since then.
In our original review, our readers were – as always – quick to offer valuable feedback on the site. One user pointed out that there are limitations on the liquidity, as you can’t leave a bet to be placed after the start of the event. Others complained that the volumes were a bit low, while other users praised the flat rate of commission (which is always 2%, regardless of the type of bet) and good customer service.
As with all betting exchanges, there will be ups and downs to the service, and it often comes down to personal preference or your own specific needs.
However, Smarkets seems to be determined to appeal to the widest possible range of players, with a slew of new features that are specifically targeted at sophisticated and semi-professional gamblers who have a lot of market knowledge. There is now a wider range of betting options than ever before, and the in-play tools have become increasingly flexible, while the football-related bets are more accessible than ever.
Read on for the latest updates to the Smarkets site, and how they might affect your future plays.
This option was previously offered exclusively by Betfair, but Smarkets is closing in on the betting exchange giant. Available on all matches which have the ‘Instant Match’ feature, players can now bet on the first goalscorer on either team, for Smarket’s usual flat rate of 2% commission – a good deal lower than the 5% average on Betfair or Betdaq. This is a canny move which could help launch Smarkets into the mainstream.
If you can get past the problematic name, this is actually a really clever tool for football plays. On each match, a goal ‘handicap’ is applied to each side based on their past performance, as a way of levelling the playing field. For instance, if the underdog is awarded two goals ahead of the match, the other team has to beat them by at least two goals in order to win the bet.
The benefit of an Asian handicap bet is that you can use it to support your home team, regardless of how badly they’re doing (hello Leicester City…) or who they’re playing. Plus, you can bet more or less depending on your confidence in a particular team. Definitely another one for the football fanatics.
The lack of in-play options has been one of the most consistent complaints with Smarkets, but the site seems to have found a way around this. By using the ‘keep bets in-play’ option, users can leave their unmatched bets live during the market, so they still have a chance to be matched at their original prices. Previously, unmatched bets were simply cancelled once the market began, so this is great news for enthusiastic players.
The new trade-out button allows users to exit a bet quickly and cheaply (although of course, you may still end up losing money). There is an 8-second delay after you click the button, and trade-outs may be cancelled if a major event takes place causing the price to change significantly, but otherwise it is an easy way to minimise your exposure to a bad bet, or cash in while the going is good. You can also use this tool to remove any unmatched bets which are still in play, so you can make sure that each trade goes further.
What’s next for Smarkets?
Over the next couple of months, look out for new match result options and Both Teams to Score (BTTS) bets from Smarkets, as the site becomes increasingly mainstream. It is also set to add more Instant Match features, so that players can bet on as many markets as possible and increase their chances of winning. All of this suggests that Smarkets is committed to attracting serious and sophisticated betters who are looking to make a profit from regular bets over a longer period of time.