Matchbook is not a traditional fixed-odds bookmaker but a sports exchange that offers peer-to-peer betting. The company was launched in the United States in 2004 but was purchased by UK investors in 2011. The operator does not make money from taking and paying out bets but by charging commission on winning bets. The standard commission is 2% and is charged on the profit from a bet. The commission rate is 4% in some parts of the world.The operation is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The core product is sports betting but the Matchbook website also features a casino and live casino. The exchange service is available on desktop computers and mobile devices. New customers cannot claim a welcome bonus. Matchbook are operating in a market dominated by Betfair which was the first betting exchange and currently the most used.
Matchbook is a rare operator in the UK because there is no welcome bonus. The majority of conventional online bookmakers and betting exchanges offer new customers free bets or bonuses. The most common sign up offers are match deposit and match bet bonuses. The value of the bonus is related to the value of the qualifying deposit or bet. Matchbook have not invested in a welcome offer but focus on offering competitive rates of commission for winning bets.
There was a welcome offer that came in the form of a £10 refund if the bet lost but this expired in January 2020. At the time of writing there is no indication if this offer will be replaced with something similar. Even that sign up offer was for a small amount and did not provide a great incentive to open a new account, make a deposit and place back and lay bets. Customers with Betfair can claim a welcome bonus for up to £100 in free bets.
Customers with Matchbook can place doubles, trebles and accumulators. The site claims that it is the only betting exchange that offers this facility. However, bettors can place accumulators in the Betfair sportsbook. In fact, acca betting with Matchbook is akin to conventional betting because only back bets are allowed. An icon indicates if there is acca betting on an event. Multiple bets are allowed in match result, totals and handicaps and both teams to score markets for 11 sports.
Customers can select 2 to 10 options in an accumulator with Matchbook. Any non-runner will be voided but the bet still stands. A treble becomes a double at the accumulated odds. There is no commission charged on accas. Customers do not have a lay option with an acca and these bets cannot be cashed out. Accas with Matchbook are the same as single line multiple bets with fixed odds bookmakers. They provide the potential for a decent win for a small stake.
Exchange bookmakers like Matchbook can offer better odds because there is no built-in profit margin. The exchange business model is based on charging commission on winning bets. Matchbook can offer better odds on horse racing than regular bookmakers. However, the same could be said of Betfair. Matchbook compares their horse racing back odds with odds with bookmakers and not other betting exchanges. Horse racing odds with can be up to 20% better than the industry Starting Price. Betfair’s exchange odds also offer better value than fixed odds.
Customers with Matchbook pay a standard commission of 2% on all winning sports bets. Customers who do not make a net profit on a bet do not pay commission. Matchbook provides a platform for back and lay bets at a mutually acceptable price. Customers are not betting against the bookmaker so there are better odds which are subject to a commission of 2%. For example, if a bettor backed an outcome for £100 at 2.0 (Evens) the profit on a winning bet is £100 so the commission is 2%. A typical three-way match result market with a conventional bookmaker has a built-in profit margin of 3 to 5% so the equivalent odds with Matchbook offer more value.
The Matchbook app can be downloaded on to the iPhone, iPad and Apple watch. Mobile customers visit the iTunes stores and search for Matchbook. They then click Download and the app is installed on the device. The app can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate icon. The Matchbook iOS app replicates the website so offers betting on a range of sports.
The Matchbook Android app cannot be downloaded from the Google Play store because it does not feature any gambling apps. However, the Android app is easy to download from the Matchbook website. Mobile users locate the site and set security settings to allow Unknown Sources. The Matchbook Android app has all the features of the desktop website.
The Matchbook mobile website is easy to navigate so sports and events can be located using a few taps. The mobile site is efficient and the betting options are displayed in a clear way. The site offers sports betting in pre0-match, in-play and ante post markets. The registration process is quick and easy but mobile users cannot claim a new customer bonus.
The Matchbook app is fully functional so mobile customers can enjoy the following features:
In-play betting is one of the options on the menu of popular betting markets. Clicking this option takes customers to Matchbook’s live betting interface. At the time of writing customers could bet on live events in tennis and football. The most popular events for in-play betting are the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis and football fixtures in the English Premier League. Betting is suspended after a key event such as a goal or sending off in football or break of serve in tennis. Updated odds appear after a short space of time so in-play betting can continue.
The cash out feature with Matchbook allows customers to lock in a profit or limit the potential loss during a live betting event before the outcome is known. The cash out value is partly dependent on the liquidity in a market. Cashing out allows customers to gain control of outstanding bets. The cash out option is displayed against the potential outcomes in a market. As the market moves, the cash out value responds accordingly. The option is not available when a betting market is suspended after a significant event. The actual cash out value is calculated based on the stake and odds of the original bet and the current price and level of liquidity.
Matchbook does not offer live streaming of betting events. Customers can view a graphical representation of a live event and there are live statistics. Several UK traditional operators provide live streaming for football, tennis and horse racing. Matchbook’s live interface is basic and just displays the current odds. A better live service may be introduced in the fullness of time.
The betting exchange model features peer-to-peer betting. Matchbook provides the platform for backers and layers to get matched bets at odds that are acceptable to both parties. If there are more backers than layers the odds go down. If there are more layers than backers the odds go up. Matchbook sits in the middle between the backers and layers and charges a standard commission of 2% on all winning bets. The key to a functioning betting exchange is liquidity in a market. Matchbook claim to have decent liquidity in their markets so the exchange works well.
The default Matchbook Home Page displays the most popular betting sports and a separate A-Z of all the sports of which there are less than 20. In addition to the regular sports, customers can place back and lay bets for Politics and TV Specials. The most popular betting sports with Matchbook are football, tennis and horse racing. Here is betting information about these three sports:
Horse racing is the first option on the Popular bets menu. Customers with Matchbook can take and accept bets on UK horse racing and some ante post markets. There are two betting options for each race: win and place. Betfair covers meetings from Ireland and overseas and offers more options for each race such as place only betting and a variety of places.
There is very little liquidity in some racing markets which means customers will find it difficult to get bets matches. Matchbook is a UK-facing betting exchange and customers expect betting on horse racing. However, the number of options is limited compared to the range of betting markets with Betfair for races at meetings in the UK and Ireland and other parts of the world.
Customers with Matchbook can bet on over 100 football (soccer leagues). The competitions covered include the main domestic leagues in Europe and South America. The most popular football leagues for Matchbook exchange betting are the Premier League in England and the Champions League. There are pre-match, in-play and outright betting markets for these competitions.
Matchbook offers 16 markets for a typical fixture in the English Premier League including the match result, handicaps and totals. There are also options to back or lay alternative handicaps and totals. The betting interface displays the current back and lay price and liquidity in the market. Bets are matched when there is a backer and layer at the current odds.
Tennis is the third most popular sport for exchange betting with Matchbook. The operator offers markets for matches on the ATP and WTA Tours and Challenger tournaments. For each match, customers can select from 10 markets, including the match winner, handicaps and totals. The lack of liquidity prevents bets being matched for anything other than small stakes.
Tennis is also a popular live betting sport. There is the cash out betting but customers can also manually place a counter bet to the original bet to win money regardless of the outcome. Outright betting is available for the winners of upcoming Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon, and international team tournaments, including the Davis Cup.
Casino customers enter the lobby to select their preferred game. Casino games with Matchbook are displayed under the following headings:
The range of table games and slots includes some established favourites and new titles. Customers can play a number of versions of roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker. Matchbook offers over 200 slots games. The product range includes a number of themes, such and TV and Entertainment and Sport. Customers can also play several different versions of video poker. The Colossus Jackpot is one of the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games on offer with Matchbook. Prizes are taken from a pool and the dividend is based on the pot and the number of entries for each option. There are also a number of other Jackpots games which can produce a life-changing win for a small stake.
Matchbook customers can play several versions of roulette, baccarat, blackjack and video poker in the live casino. Real life dealers operate from a small studio. The costs of production means live casino options are limited to the most popular table games and a few other minor games. Players can navigate to their chosen live game in the lobby. The range of table games and slots in the regular casino is extensive but there is very little to choose from in the live casino. The Android and iPhone apps have proven to be popular for casino and live casino betting. The games are over quickly and there is always the next spin.
Matchbook allows customers to deposit funds using debit cards, prepaid cards and e-Wallets. At the time of writing customer can transfer funds using credit cards but this payment method will be banned for UK customers in January 2021. Customers can withdraw funds using the same methods and there are delays of 3 to 5 days while deposits are immediate. Transfers of betting funds are safe and secure because Matchbook uses modern encryption.
Matchbook operate under British gambling law and are licensed and regulated by respected regulatory bodies. Transactions are encrypted which means financial details are safe. The operator adopts stringent identification procedures to prevent under age gambling and money laundering.
Customers can contact Matchbook by telephone and email or by using Live Chat. The department is open from 8am to 1am GMT. The site also features a comprehensive Help Centre and FAQ service. Matchbook is committed to responsible gambling and through exclusion measures and banner links to support bodies. The UK operation is a member of the Independent Bookmakers Arbitration Service (IBAS) which settles disputes between bookmakers and their customers.
The three most popular UK-facing betting exchanges are Betfair, Betdaq and Matchbook. It is difficult for any new operator in the exchange betting market to make an impact. Matchbook do not offer a welcome bonus but charge 2% commission on sports bets which is the joint lowest rate in the industry and matched by Betdaq. Betfair’s base commission rate is 5%.
In 2019, Matchbook had been trading for 15 years but eight as a UK exchange. The company struggles for liquidity in some markets which makes any betting exchange unworkable. Increasing liquidity is the key to success and Matchbook are finding this difficult. Exchange bettors are initially more likely to visit Betfair and Betdaq despite higher rates of commission across all sports.
Despite low rates of commission, Matchbook do not have significant market share in the UK. The odds levels are relatively good but some markets fail to attract many bets so there is very little liquidity. Betfair have over 90% of the market while Betdaq account for about 8% of exchange bets. Matchbook struggles with gaining customers and creating liquidity. The small number of markets for soccer and tennis matches are a negative and the lack of live streaming does not help. The company can continue to operate as a betting exchange but they need to invest in more betting options.