In-play betting explained

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What is in-play betting?

In play betting is the fastest growing betting medium in the country. It allows punters to place bets (either back or lay) after events have started - hence the term 'In play'.

It means you can react to what is happening as you watch a live event. Most people will have an opinion of the outcome of a sporting event before it takes place - in play betting allows the bettor to either back up that opinion or change their mind on the outcome.

Best of all, you can change your mind as often as you like! As long as you have money in your account, you can bet on whichever market you choose, changing your bets as circumstances dictate.

How in-play betting works

Once an event has started, punters have the opportunity to place bets on a number of different markets.

In Tennis, for example, punters can bet on the next point, games to deuce, total points in a game, total games in a set, set score, plus a host of other markets.

In football (see the example screenshot to the right), you can bet on the half time result, next team to score, next corner, next goal scorer, plus the winner of the match and many more markets.

Some sports lend themselves more obviously to In play betting than others. Horse Racing is a good example of a constantly changing sporting event where each race can be affected by factors that allow punters to bet on what they see happening as the race progresses.

Bettors can open accounts with various bookmakers and Betting Exchanges and then watch the sport - with or without having placed a bet. betfair require a minimum of £10 as a deposit to open an account, Ladbrokes just require you to be logged in and have a positive balance OR have placed a bet in the last 24 hours. This gives bettors access to all live sport. Sport not shown live on UK TV can be accessed purely by having an account - simply maintain a balance of just £1 to watch it on Live Streaming. NB Horse Racing shown on TV needs the punter to have a bet on it to watch through live stream.

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Why use in-play betting?

In play betting allows the bettor the opportunity to bet with more evidence than they had at the start of an event, hence they are more informed before they place a bet.

For example, you may support a team who you think has a good chance of winning a match but you are not sure. So you hold off betting before the match and wait to see how the first quarter goes. How are your team playing? What are the tactics like? Have the opposition done what you expected? Is the referee as strict as you thought? All questions the bettor can ask whilst watching a match. Then after they have assimilated the information, the bettor can place a more informed bet.

But In play betting also allows you to change your mind. You may place a bet before the event but then whilst watching the event you may realise things aren't going your way, and put another bet on to redeem the situation.

Redeeming losses - back or lay

In play betting allows punters the chance to redeem any pre-event losses. On Betting exchanges such as betfair, you can act as either a punter (BACK) or a bookmaker (LAY). In this situation, if occurences within a sporting event aren't going as you predicted, you can redeem your losses by laying the outcome (See our guide to betting exchanges for more details). This option to BACK OR LAY is only available on Betting Exchanges. Traditional bookmakers don't give punters this choice. betfair revolutionised the betting market when they introduced their exchange and is rapidly becoming a major player for in play betting turnover.

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Grand National in-play

A horse race such as the Grand National would be a good example of how to use In play betting. Before the race, you place your bet with a traditional bookmaker (eg bet365). If your horse falls early in the race then your bet is down and your money is lost. However on Betting exchanges such as betfair, you can bet In play on another horse or any number of other horses. This keeps you interested in the race. The Grand National takes roughly 11 minutes to run so there will be plenty of fluctuation in the prices throughout the race. Discernible punters will be able to either maximise winnings or minimise losses by using the full range of In play bets available on Betting Exchanges.

Who benefits from in-play betting?

In play betting is particularly attractive for punters who like to watch (via Live Streaming) and bet; punters who like to change their mind or reinforce their original position/opinion; punters who can react to events as they occur; punters who are patient; punters who are prepared to bet on any number of different markets and happenings throughout a sporting event.

In the past, punters were forced to take bookmaker odds, which tended to be marked up at roughly 125% in the bookies favour. Now, with the introduction of exchanges, the bettor has more freedom to choose a price they want to take. Normally, the bookmakers are unlikely to quote an outcome of a sporting event at greater than 150 to 1; exchanges are far more liberal, with prices up to 999 to 1 available during an event. Indeed during a sporting event, the price of the eventual outcome will fluctuate greatly depending on happenings. A side going 3 nil down in a football match will see their price extend.

If you like to bet, then In play betting should be a serious consideration for you. You change your bets when things aren't going as you expected or if they are going exactly as you thought then you can continue to bet on your selections. Additionally you can cover your losses by reacting to a live event and betting with more information. You have the choice.

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Where to bet in-play

As discussed above, most online bookmakers offer Live streaming and in play betting. The choice of where to bet comes down to whether you prefer the more traditional route of betting on events to win, or whether you prefer to have the option to bet against yourself by laying bets i.e. acting as the bookie.

If you're looking for a solid, reliable traditional online bookmaker, we highly recommend bet365. A major player in Live betting, bet365 bet365 stream over 140,000 events live to your PC every year - so you can bet as the action unfolds. Highlights include Masters Series Tennis tournaments and matches from some of the top domestic Soccer leagues in the world. To use the Live Streaming service you will need to be logged in and have a funded account or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours. Any fixture/event on their website which has the Play or Video icon next to it is scheduled to be shown via Live Streaming.

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If, however, you prefer the flexibility and excitement of being able to act as a punter or a bookie, your best bet for a betting exchange is the original and best - betfair. betfair Live Video streams live sporting events to betfair customers including Horseracing, Greyhound Racing, Football, Tennis, Snooker, Volleyball, Basketball and Darts. betfair Live Video is currently free of charge for all content with the exception of horseracing. However, to watch and bet on a horse race simply requires you to place a bet of at least £2 via the exchange. Then you can sit back and watch the race.

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