Betting with Bookie - Sportsbook vs. Betting Exchange

in peerplays •  last year  (edited)

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Betting with Bookie is an ongoing educational series designed to demystify the betting experience. Each article will tackle sports betting terminology and concepts in a simple way, in an effort to make you a better bettor.

Betting on sports typically takes place via one of two avenues: a traditional sportsbook or a betting exchange. Superficial similarities aside, they are actually quite different in how they operate.

Traditionally, the only option when placing a sports bet has been to use a sportsbook. When you place a bet with a sportsbook (also known as a ‘bookmaker’), you are betting directly against the sportsbook itself - the sportsbook acts as the ‘house’ - and any winnings you may have are paid to you directly from the sportsbook’s own funds. You might say that the sportsbook is a counterparty to your bet.

Some well-known sportsbooks are Bet365, William Hill and Bovada (which offers BTC betting). The Vegas sportsbooks are also - surprise! - sportsbooks.

The sportsbook model has been the standard way to bet since at least as far back as horse racing in England in the 18th century. However, in the very last years of the 20th century, a quite different method of sports betting was invented, also in the UK. This new model was called the “betting exchange”. Simply put, a betting exchange is a platform where sports bettors match each others’ bets. With a betting exchange you do not bet against the house (sportsbook, bookmaker) - you bet against other bettors.


A useful analogy is a stock exchange. A stock exchange is a platform or marketplace where you can buy and sell stocks with other users of the exchange. The stock exchange does not buy or sell stocks - it is simply a matchmaker between two parties who wish to take the opposite side of the same deal (one buys a stock, the other sells it).

In the same way, a betting exchange is never the counterparty for a bet placed by any of its users - it is a matchmaker for two parties who wish to take opposite sides of the same bet (one ‘lays’, the other ‘backs’... more on this in a later post). And, just like with the stock exchange, the betting exchange takes a small fee or commission from users for the use of the platform (again, more on how betting exchange commision works in a later post).

One interesting area of flexibility in betting exchanges (compared to sportsbooks) is the ability to set the odds (or “price”) of your bet yourself. Even if no counterparty is ready to take your bet straightaway, the bet will be placed “unmatched” on the orderbook for all other users to see and can be taken (“matched”) at any time by another user. This is in contrast to a sportsbook, where your only option is to take or leave the price being offered.

Bookie is bringing provably fair sports betting to the world by building our betting exchange on the Peerplays blockchain.

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I didn’t know this existed! I am definitely going to check this out.

Nice to hear from you guys! Looking forward to the full release!

Any word on how the Dapps will be integrated into the core wallet?


Hi jdc,

Glad to hear you're excited about Bookie!

In answer to your question - if you mean "will DApps like Bookie be available in the Peerplays wallet?", then the answer is no. Each DApp will be its own standalone application. The Peerplays wallet will remain as a wallet, where e.g. profit share, voting, and affiliate fees will be handled (and it will be getting some upgrades through 2018).


I just read through all your blogs and you have some great incite and education on sports gambling. Being from the US I never new about betting exchanges as I don't think they exist here due to legality. I look forward to your future posts. Before I saw your blog I had written my own on sports gambling and I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.


Hey there. Thanks for the nice words regarding our new article series. We know betting exchanges are a fairly new concept to many, especially in North America, so we're happy to hear you find value in these posts.

Keep up the good work with your own posts, too!

This article does a fantasic job explaining the differences between the traditional sports book and the exchange, but it fails to mention which one Bookie will be. From my understanding, Bookie will be a combination, where the odds/spread is predetermined by bookie, but bettors are going against one another and not the house. Is that correct?


Hi @suit5,
Sorry about missing this comment from a couple weeks ago! Bookie will be a betting exchange, which is peer-to-peer. So, no house, like you said.