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Betfair Exchange: In Play Delay Explained…

Betfair Exchange Delay
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Have you only just noticed the in play bet delays imposed on betting exchanges?

It’s not uncommon for new users to be unaware they exist. However, this can be a problem if you haven’t catered for it in your overall approach.

This article will run you through why in play bet delays exist, how long they are and anything else you need to know…

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Why Delay Bets In Play?

On first glimpse you might wonder – why on earth would a betting exchange delay bet submissions in play?

Actually, there’s a good reason for it.

Exchanges like Betfair take thousands of bets in play daily. Many of which are from the average recreational punter. However, there’s several other pools of shrewd operators in these waters…

in play bet

Some make extortionate amounts by betting in-play. Their overall in-play strategy is to hoover up bets left in the market at poor value. It’s a competitive business, typically known as court-siding.

As far as the exchanges are concerned, these people add nothing to the ecosystem. They just take out after-all.

So, in an attempt to level the playing-field and protect exchange liquidity providers* against those with a time advantage, the betting exchange enforces a time delay on bet submission.

This delay allows a small time frame for any bettor (or the exchange) to remove their existing bet from the exchange market (without a delay).

As an example:

  • You place a recreational bet on the tennis from your living room and wait for it to be matched.
  • Some seconds later, a point is scored against your original decision – you no longer want the bet.
  • Anybody who attempts to match your bet now is now subject to the in play bet delay, cancellation is not.

This means; you have a short time to cancel your bet before anybody else can match it – assuming the televised pictures you are watching are live.

If the bet delay didn’t exist, pretty much anyone in their right mind would be too scared to offer a bet in the market (unless they were ahead of the TV too).

How Long Are In Play Betfair Delays?

An accurate answer to this question depends on what sport you are betting, and with which exchange.

In horse racing the bet delays are significantly shorter than football and tennis. You may have seen in the news recently that race courses aren’t so happy about punters hovering drones over the course in a bid to hoover up.

It’s crazy the lengths some people will go to.

In reality; someone will always have an advantage, betting exchanges are a free market. However, having significant delays on certain events increases the chance for overall liquidity.

By sport, the current delays:

  • Horse racing bet delay – 2 seconds.
  • Football bet delay – this depends on which league. Typically 5-8 seconds.
  • Tennis bet delay – 5 seconds.
  • Cricket bet delay – 5 seconds.
  • Special bets delay – 5 seconds.

But these are just on the worlds largest betting exchange – Betfair.

Other Exchange In Play Delays:

If you’re looking to scalp out a few quid in-play, you may want to look up some alternative exchanges. Overall liquidity is significantly lower, but it’s nice to know there are other options…

Commission rates may vary.

More Help:

Did you find this article useful? Have a question of your own?

If so, please subscribe to the YouTube channel where we routinely answer followers questions about exchanges, trading and betting in general.

If you need help with something please submit your question in the comments below.

You can see the in play bet delays at work here:

Related: FULL Sports Trading Explanation (With Examples)

*exchange liquidity providers are usually large algorithmic players that provide the initial money to seed a betting market.


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