The definitive Smarkets review by Catbets

The definitive Smarkets review by Catbets


Smarkets are a betting exchange who offers an industry low 2% commission on all winning bets it accepts through its exchange. Smarkets are a limited company (Company registration number 06475845) in the UK and has offices in Los Angeles, London and Malta. Smarkets was founded in 2008 by an American entrepreneur, Jason Trost. During its existence, they have accepted over £3 billion worth of bets via its exchange and their 2016 accounts show them as having a net worth of £15.5m. This is my Smarkets review, I hope you enjoy it!

How long have I used Smarkets?

I first signed up to Smarkets in April 2015 which was the same time I first started doing matched betting. In that time, I have placed over £155,000 worth of bets and paid approximately £3100 in commission (at the time of writing this review). At first I used Betfair to do all my matched betting but then I found out about Smarkets and how low their commissions were on winning bets. In a month, I had placed around £10,000 worth of bets on Betfair and worked out that had I used Smarkets instead, I would have saved around £300 for the month in commission which is quite a hefty saving! Using Smarkets since then, I have saved a staggering £4,650 in commission as Betfair charge 5% commission on winning bets compared to Smarkets low 2% commission! That difference really adds up over time as you can see with my own experience.

Smarkets review

This is me attending an event Smarkets held at their London office back in 2015 which they kindly invited me to.

When I first started using Smarkets back in 2015, there wasn’t much liquidity in their markets which made it very difficult to get bets matched on their exchange. If you aren’t sure what I mean by liquidity, it is basically the amount of money that is available to get matched (the numbers underneath the back and lay buttons).

Smarkets review

Smarkets interface

I have taken this image as an example to help you understand what liquidity is. This is a football match between Watford and West Ham about 20 minutes before they were due to kick off. The numbers I have highlighted in red is the liquidity (amount of money available) at the moment. So for example, I could bet £8,952 right now at odds of 2.34 on Watford and get the money matched instantly. If I wanted to back anymore than £8,952, then I would be in a queue to get my money matched. On the other side, I could lay Watford at odds of 2.36 and get matched instantly with £9,968. If I wanted to lay a bigger stake than £9,968, then I would have to be in a queue to get the whole stake fully matched. Until that point, the bet would remain partially matched leaving the excess over £9,968 unmatched.

This was a real problem back when I first started using Smarkets as even the most popular football games didn’t have enough money in them for you to be able to get matched successfully, even with a small £50 lay stake. Their site was also very, very, very slow on a Saturday when all the popular football games would be about to play, along with the copious horse racing meetings. I am pleased to say however that both of these features have massively improved since then and I use them literally for all my matched betting activities now. The money in the markets is enormous and most Premier League games will see over £1,000,000 matched during the whole game. Even most horse races have £100,000+ matched so getting your bets matched on their exchange is certainly now no longer a problem!

Industry low 2% commission

Smarkets market themselves as having the lowest commission on winning bets on the market. This is true as some of its competitors such as Betfair offer 5% on winning bets which is 2.5 times more expensive. This makes Smarkets excellent value to use them as a betting exchange in comparison with Betfair as you are getting a huge saving. Take below the comparisons.

Size of bet Betfair (5%) Smarkets (2%) Saving from using Smarkets
£10.00 £0.50 £0.20 £0.30
£100.00 £5.00 £2.00 £3.00
£1,000.00 £50.00 £20.00 £30.00
£10,000.00 £500.00 £200.00 £300.00
£100,000.00 £5,000.00 £2,000.00 £3,000.00
£1,000,000.00 £50,000.00 £20,000.00 £30,000.00
£10,000,000.00 £500,000.00 £200,000.00 £300,000.00

As you can see, you are saving a huge amount of money in comparison to using Smarkets. As I mentioned earlier in this review, I saved £4,650 using Smarkets instead of Betfair and that’s after putting £155k through Smarkets. As you get to the point where you have put over £1,000,000 through Smarkets, you are saving tens of thousands of pounds just from using Smarkets as the place to lay your bets off!

Smarkets review

Smarkets 2% commission

Matched betting really is a volume game. The more bets you place, the more money you earn. Therefore, to ensure you are doing it as profitable as possible; you should use an exchange where the commission is lower to maximise the returns from your matched betting endeavours. Imagine if you hadn’t read this article and you had already placed £500,000 worth of bets on Betfair. You would have saved yourself £15,000 from using Smarkets instead. This is huge money when it is eating into your matched betting profit margins.

Take advantage of the industry low commission at Smarkets by clicking here.

£10 Welcome Bonus

Smarkets also offers new customers to its exchange a £10 welcome bonus. All you have to do to qualify for it is deposit £20 and if your first bet loses, Smarkets will refund you £10 which is also refundable as cash. This means the refund will not need to bet with again and is yours to withdraw as you wish to do so. This offer has been around since I have started my matched betting career and is a great incentive for you to at least sign up to their exchange.

Smarkets £10 free bet

Smarkets £10 free bet

If you are doing the free trial with Oddsmonkey, you can easily make an extra £10 by using Smarkets initially instead of Betfair because of their sign up offer. For example, if your first lay bet loses, you will get refunded £10 meaning you can make £55 from the Oddsmonkey free trial!

Smarkets mobile app

When I first started doing matched betting, I was using Betfair mainly for a good 3 months before I realised the benefits of using Smarkets. However, one of the benefits I found using Betfair at the time was the fact that Betfair has their own mobile app. This made it even easier to place bets whilst I was on the go and away from my laptop. Smarkets sadly didn’t have their own mobile app until recently.

Smarkets mobile app

Smarkets mobile app

The Smarkets mobile app now makes my matched betting experience even more efficient. I can now still enjoy the low 2% commission and still be able to place my bets conveniently whilst I am away from the house, just using my mobile phone. The app is free which is even better! The app is essentially an app version of their website which helps for familiarity purposes as everything is exactly the same as the desktop version of Smarkets’s website. Below is an image of what the Smarkets mobile app looks like on a typical mobile phone.

Smarkets mobile app

Smarkets mobile app

Technology and intelligent betting

In January 2017, Smarkets made a big change to their user interface and the change has certainly worked for the better. The site before had mainly a white background which sometimes made the liquidity numbers more difficult to read. However the change has seen a better website appearance and all the numbers on the website are easier to read and acknowledge. There is no reason now why you should make any mistakes using their platform as everything is as clear as it possibly can be. Their website now is very easy to use and it is smooth. Before, the site would sometimes often lag and this proved very frustrating when you urgently needed to get a lay bet on and matched. This I can honestly say cost me money once due to the extremely low speed.

Their site also has a very clever feature. If the lay odds on the exchange suddenly shorten at the very last millisecond, your lay stake will change accordingly and this always works in your favour. This works in your favour as you will guarantee yourself a bigger profit due to the liability been lower and the lay stake been higher. This is something that has worked for me a handful of times and just means you will get the best possible value every time you place your lay bets on Smarkets. This however will not work if the lay odds drift at the very last second. This is useful as you can then manually recalculate your lay stake and place it there afterwards.

Better features for trading

Betfair has always been the number one platform to use for trading on the exchanges. However the new features that Smarkets has on their platform are certainly giving them some competition. The new features at Smarkets let you trade out and keep in play.

Smarkets trading features

Smarkets trading features

The trade out option basically allows you to “cash out” for either a profit or a loss on your current trade. It cleverly works out the appropriate stake to use so that your profit or loss is evenly distributed across all possible outcomes. This allows you to make the same profit or loss no matter what the end result is. The option to now keep your bets in-play is also useful if you want to get a specific price but the price you want is not yet the best market price. Before, any bets you placed before an event went in play, they would just be cancelled and it can be easy to forget to lay bets off, especially when you have left the house. This now lowers your risk by giving you a better chance of your bets been matched.

Summary of Smarkets review

Smarkets have certainly grown massively over the past few years and have upset Betfair by giving them some fierce competition in both the betting industry and matched betting industry. Many matched bettors are now seeing the value Smarkets has to offer. Given the fact their industry low commission of just 2% will save matched bettors a lot of money long-term, many are making the switch to using Smarkets as the main betting exchange. I say long term because the more bets you place, the bigger the saving. For example for a £10 bet, I showed you that you would be around £0.30 better off, but you’re not really going to miss £0.30. I am confident you will miss £3,000 a year eating into your matched betting profits. This is the advantage of using Smarkets over Betfair that will appeal to many matched bettors out there! Imagine you have placed over £1m worth of bets; you will save £30,000 using Smarkets, which is huge!

Smarkets have also developed their website and technology massively over the past two years to bring its users a much friendlier experience and a much better interface. The site is now very quick on Saturdays which is the busiest time of the sporting week whereas before it was painfully slow and I’m sure this cost people money. Smarkets have realised this issue and have worked extensively to put it right and be quicker than ever and reduce the downtime altogether on their site.

I really like the intelligent lay betting feature it has on both its website and mobile app. This is a feature that works in your favour every time by making your matched betting more profitable. Betfair doesn’t give you this benefit and this ensures you are always getting the best possible lay price.

The mobile app for me is a game changer. Before, it was upsetting to not be able to use Smarkets on the go. Sure you could use the browser on your mobile but this was often deterred by the lag that Smarkets once had on its site. Now the lag has been updated and the introduction of the new mobile phone app, you can now place your lay bets whilst you are away from your home or wi-fi connection. I used to have to rush home to ensure my lay bets are placed but now I can simply login to the app and place the bets I need to whilst I am away. This really is invaluable and avoids the trapped feeling of having to stay at home all the time to do your matched betting.

Overall, Smarkets gives you excellent value by offering you the lowest commission possible which will save you a lot of money. Their updated and improved site makes your experience of using them to lay your bets off better than ever.

To make your matched betting experience more efficient and profitable, sign up to Smarkets by clicking here.

Smarkets review

Adam @ Catbets

Feel free to message me and I will ensure your queries are dealt with immediately. My email address is adam@catbets.com and I get back to all messages the same day.

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