Matchbook is a betting exchange, which means you are placing bets against other players while Matchbook is taking a commission out of each bet. Below you will find a quick guide on how commissions are calculated by Matchbook.
First of all, you need to understand the distinction between Accepted odds versus Posted odds:
- ACCEPTED odds: you accepted another player’s offer on the market;
- POSTED odds: you posted an offer on the market, which was eventually accepted by another player.
At the time of writing (August 2017), the commission rate is 1.5% on accepted odds versus 0.75% on posted odds. The above rates are calculated on the winning amount (i.e. the net profit) for winning bets. What if the bet lost? In this case, the rates are computed based on the lesser of the stake and potential profit amounts.
Players from the US and Canada are not accepted, despite their currencies being supported.
Matchbook currently supports six currencies: USD (US Dollars), CAD (Canadian Dollars), EUR (Euros), GBP (British Pounds), AUD (Australian Dollars) and HKD (Hong Kong Dollars).
Matchbook opened its doors in 2004 before being sold to a group of United Kingdom investors in 2011 (Triplebet Ltd). A few days later, these investors made a pretty big move by announcing they were no longer accepting action from American players. Since its inception, Matchbook had only been dealing in US dollars but started accepting more currencies a few months after the sale. In 2014, Matchbook exited the Canadian market.
The commission rates have changed quite often over the years. Back in 2009 I had an account with them as they were charging 1% on accepted odds while CREDITING 0.2% to your account for posted odds! Unfortunately, the structure changed on posted odds as they started charging 0.5% around 2011. A few years later, they increased that figure to 1% on posted odds (while still charging 1% on accepted odds). More recently (November 1st, 2016), Matchbook announced they were back trying to entice more people to post odds by charging 0.75% on posted odds versus 1.5% on accepted odds.
Very favorable odds: Their odds are unmatched, whether you are comparing with typical sportsbooks or other betting exchanges. Their structure basically amounts to reduced juice like Pinnacle (sometimes even better), while their commissions are more favorable than the two other major exchanges, Betfair and BetDAQ.
Lowest commissions among betting exchanges: Recall how Matchbook charges 0.75% on posted odds and 1.5% on accepted odds. It turns out more beneficial to the player compared to BetDAQ that charges 5% on winning bets only, while Betfair takes between 5% to 7% (depending on your location) also on winning bets only. It is important to note that both of these exchanges reduce their rates based on how big of a gambler you are (i.e. how much action you have given them over a certain period of time), but you still get better prices with Matchbook overall. There’s a relatively new betting exchange on the rise called Smarkets (who is open to Canadian players, unlike Matchbook, Betfair and BetDAQ) whose commission rate is a flat 2% on winning bets. That’s great, but the volume is still low, making it harder for you to find someone willing to match your bet.
Improved look: The interface looks nice and has improved dramatically over the years. Good job, Matchbook!
Safe bookie: In my opinion, Matchbook represents a pretty safe betting site. I wouldn’t grade it as being part of an elite group like Pinnacle, William Hill, Intertops, Betonline or Bookmaker, but I believe you can sleep well at night if you have funds there. They don’t have a totally clean record because of former ties with World Sports Exchange (WSEX), a sportsbook that owed more than one million dollars to players when it shut down in 2013, with one of its cofounders committing suicide not very long after the closure (story on CalvinAyre.com) (story on the San Francisco Examiner website). That being said, the link between Matchbook and WSEX was not totally clear (it appears like WSEX partially owned Matchbook at some point), and it’s important to point out that Matchbook never slow payed a customer so it doesn’t appear to be an issue, especially considering the WSEX debacle ended several years ago. But since I aim to provide the most transparent and complete information to you, I deemed it necessary to bring it up to your attention.
Winners are welcome: Matchbook won’t mind at all if you are a consistent winner. They won’t ban you, nor will they limit you. All they care about is that players bet against each other so they can reap the benefits from their commission.
No premium charge: In 2008, Betfair enforced a 20% premium charge to its winningest players, which led to an outrage in discussion forums. They even raised that form of taxation to 60% in 2011, a move that attracted even more criticism. Matchbook does not impose such a premium charge, which is good news if you are among the brightest sports bettors.
Limited liquidity: The biggest drawback to Matchbook, in my opinion, is the liquidity. What do I mean by that? Since you are betting against other players, you need to find someone who is willing to take the opposite side of your bet. Not only that, but the amount the other person is inclined to wager may be significantly smaller than yours. For example, suppose regular sportsbooks have set Team A as a 6.5-point favorite and you would be interested in betting them for 500$. It is possible that other players at Matchbook are only offering you Team A at -7 (which is less favorable to you) for only 35$. That’s a big problem for you.
Limited liquidity (cont'd): Granted, those types of occurrences are seldom seen on major sports (especially on football/soccer and tennis), but they do happen on smaller markets. As a general rule, I feel like you are getting better prices with Matchbook on common sporting events, but worse odds on smaller leagues (or alternatives or side bets). If you are used to gambling large sums of money, you will probably feel limited too. Matchbook’s biggest rival, Betfair, gets more volume which allows them to provide higher limits.
Limited liquidity (cont'd): The liquidity problem was enhanced when Matchbook closed its doors to US customers in 2011, but they have since made great effort into expanding towards Europe and Asia.
Less betting options: The variety of betting markets is fairly limited. If you focus on leagues that are well-known, you’ll be fine though. Also, you won’t find many prop bets. Live in-play betting is supported on Matchbook, but the market participation can vary wildly (you will find it hard to match your bets on certain instances).
Lack of promotions: The initial bonuses are not great, you generally get something like 25$-50$ in free bets. Better than nothing, but I find BetDAQ’s initial offering much more enticing with 0% commission through your first month.
Higher-level of complexity (placing bets): Some players find it fairly confusing to figure out how to place wagers on betting exchanges, whether accepting other players’ odds, or posting your own offer. I recommend starting out by making small bets to make sure you’ve got a good grasp of the process. In order to make life easier for you, I have written a comprehensive tutorial with images to show you how to place bets with Matchbook (depending whether you are accepting or posting odds, and whether you are trying to make a “back” or “lay” bet). Click here to read the Matchbook tutorial!
- Bank wire
- Bank wire
Here are a few bad comments I found on Top100Bookmakers.com about Matchbook:
- “Their software is awful and they don't always offer all bets. You can't bet high stakes, only at big competition matches you can. At smaller competitions, mostly, the pot is empty so nothing to trade. Matchbook is reliable, they do pay out. Their service is okay, but nothing special.”
- “Charged me 2% to withdraw with no warning and no notice. This is theft. Please stay away from matchbook.”
- “The worst exchange that ever existed. They advertise about one per cent commission, but they charge not only winning bets, but also the losing ones. Good heavens. The site itself is the worst designed among all bookies. Without apparent reason they may block your login and winnings. Many times they don't give the bonus. All these reasons are enough for staying away.”
ANALYSIS: The first comment raises the liquidity issue, which is more present on smaller markets. The second comment does not make sense to me: the fees are stated on their website. Also, players should protect themselves by inquiring about their fees in writing (so that you have evidence if a dispute arises). The first bit of the last comment is also non-sense: Matchbook is not hiding the fact that you are also being charged on losing bets. It’s still much better deal for you to be charged 1% on all bets, rather than 5% on winning bets only (as do other exchanges)! A few people have talked about the design of the website which is not great, so they could improve in this regard. I would have liked to know more about Matchbook blocking access to your account. How often did it happen? What reason did Matchbook give?
Let’s now focus on good comments from the same site, Top100Bookmakers.com:
- “Easy to use, great prices and liquidity. They don't clutter up the screen with loads of markets that are a waste of time. I'd recommend it to serious bettors.”
- “Matchbook has a great team support and fastest withdrawals among all other Exchanges. The thing I liked about them was they have really low commission and it can save hundreds of dollars.”
- “I was referred to matchbook, I did not know them. They have good odds, good support, I think they should work on their marketing to improve betting offer and promotion offers for players. Payments are ok, I received money couple hours after I made a withdrawal.”
ANALYSIS: I believe the most common positive comments that are being brought up about Matchbook concern their good odds and how they pay in a timely fashion.
A player from the Netherlands filed the only complaint that can be found on AskGamblers.com. The issue revolves around a bonus that is taking time to be credited in the player’s casino account. Three days after the story was posted online, the problem was solved as Matchbook not only gave the bonus, but also 50 additional free spins of a popular slot game. The sportsbook explains the delay occurred because there was some confusion as to which of the many signup offers he wanted to get.
ANALYSIS: It didn’t take long for Matchbook to deal with the issue, while giving away compensation to the player as a gesture of goodwill. That’s nice to see.
A guy from Ukraine posted an email he received from Matchbook after one of his bets got canceled: "Dear Customer, Some of your bets have been cancelled on the Melbourne vs North Melbourne game. For consistency, Matchbook, using all available resources, will determine the fair market value (probability) at the time the bet was matched.comparing against this value, if the probability of the incorrect offer, is 20% less than, or 20% greater than, the fair market probability, then Matchbook reserves the right to void the trade in question. In this case the probability was off above 20%. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. Regards, Matchbook Support."
ANALYSIS: That’s the first time I have ever heard of such a practice by Matchbook, and it does concern me. Basically, they seem to be voiding bets if the lines were out of whack, compared to the general consensus among regular sportsbooks. That’s weird. If a player posts odds that are considered “off” and the offer is accepted by another player, why should the bet be canceled? It’s up to the player posting odds to make sure he is offering reasonable lines. Maybe that rule was designed to protect people posting odds from getting ripped off when lines move quite a bit in a short period of time, for instance because the public just learned that a key player will be missing tonight’s game. Still, I’m not sure I agree with this procedure. If my house is worth 400 000$, and I’m not aware of it and selling it for 200 000$, then it’s my problem. Am I sounding too harsh, or does it make sense to you?.
A thread was started on MajorWager.com about Matchbook. Here are the most relevant responses:
- “Matchbook is awesome. Sign up, learn how to use the system. You will not regret it.”
- “Matchbook gives a thumbs up from me too one of my fav books.”
- “Matchbook lacks volume and I think some of it actually generated by them. Stick with Pinny, no hassles, low juice and real easy.”
- “I don't hesitate at all in recommending them as a top 3 book- as long as you don't like to bet 10k/game. I couldn't imagine life as a bettor without using the exchanges.”
ANALYSIS: That sums up pretty well what I think about Matchbook. Very good odds, which is a very important factor, but you need to take the time to learn how the betting exchange works, and you may feel limited if you are a big gambler that has deep pockets.