Matchbook - Overview & Rating
Pros and cons
Characteristics of the Bookmaker – short
Matchbook.com operates only in English.
Matchbook opened its betting exchange back in 2004, making it one of the oldest exchanges on the market. Initially, its focus was very much on US Sports, something that slowed its progress in Europe. However, by 2011, Matchbook was very much ready to cross the Atlantic after it was purchased by investors with links to the British betting and banking sectors. Expanding its offering for key European sports – Premier League and Champions League football, rugby and, of course, the horses – made it a genuine challenger for Betfair and Betdaq, the more established betting exchanges on the market.
Later, Matchbook added a casino, supported by Evolution Gaming, although it lacks lotto and traditional poker tables. Last year its license was suspended by Britain’s Gambling Commission due to concerns about compliance with money laundering legislation. Matchbook regained its license in August 2020 and began operating in the UK once again.
The Matchbook website is clean and crisp, with an easy-on-the-eye colour scheme (black background, splashes of dark red for contrast) and an intuitive interface for each market that owes much to the Betfair exchange.
Navigation is straightforward. Matchbook devotes the centre of the screen to its busiest markets, with the left-hand sidebar (as usual) giving direct access to the sport of your choice. A right-hand menu bar calls up bet slips, multiples, account settings and other features, including customer support options and the Matchbook podcast. Images are kept to a minimum and tend towards generic graphics rather than action shots, which suggests that the Matchbook exchange prefers not to spend money on expensive contracts with sports photo agencies.
Matchbook also offers mobile betting via its app on Android and iOS. For more details see Mobile Applications (www.matchbook.com).
Matchbook is a betting exchange, not a traditional bookmaker. Following the trail blazed by Betfair, it aims to give punters greater control by allowing anyone to ask for and offer the odds that they want. The advantages are immediate: you nearly always find better prices on the exchanges than on traditional markets, and you can offer odds on an outcome you believe to be unlikely. In simple terms, if you don’t fancy one team in a football match, you can lay it – effectively the same as a double chance bet about the opponent winning or drawing – and will often be able to get a slightly better price. In larger markets – most obviously a horse race – it becomes easy to profit from identifying contestants with little or no chance of winning by offering odds against them.
Matchbook Exchanges also make matched betting far easier. When a traditional sportsbook moves in play, the odds vary when the bookmaker decides they should. When an exchange moves in play, those markets are fluid from the kick-off. Thus, on Matchbook, if you back under 2.5 goals in a football match you can rely on the price moving in your favour almost immediately. Never mind cashing out after 25 minutes if nobody scores, you can lock in a (small) profit within a minute or two of kick-off. OK, doing this won’t win you millions, but it offers far more control than using a conventional book.
However, there can also be significant drawbacks. To make a profit, the exchange charges commission on the winnings from each bet. Remember that market-beating price you got? Not so fast. If 2% of your winnings go to Matchbook, is it a market beater? In fairness, Matchbook’s commission is generous compared with Betfair (typically 5%), but it can still eat away at your margins.
Then there’s a question of liquidity in Matchbook. We mentioned the prospect of locking in quick, small wins on markets that naturally become more likely over time. However, this depends on the market being well funded. For high-profile events, this isn’t a problem. But for thousands of low-level games, it can be an issue. If nobody is betting on your Romanian U23 volleyball game, you might struggle to lay a bet when you want it. Matchbook, noticeably, shies away from an exhaustive list of low-grade events, which may go some way to easing this problem. However, if an exchange lacks punters, it can be hard to place the bets you want.
Of course, it’s possible to use Matchbook as a de facto sportsbook, rather than an exchange. If this appeals, you’ll find plenty of sporting action to explore. The coverage is not the most extensive to be found, but it’s pretty thorough for most of the big leagues and most key sports. That also applies to Matchbook’s in-play options: strong for the big events, including horse racing, but surprisingly limited for second-tier tournaments. That’s a major handicap for a lot of exchange betting, with many bettors deliberately seeking the opportunity to make rapid trades on live markets, rather than simply placing a bet and awaiting an outcome at the final whistle.
Matchbook has one feature that is not common on exchanges. It offers multiple bets. However, this is a relatively limited feature. It is not possible to set up a single-game multi (eg Team A to win, and +2.5 goals to be scored) and you cannot have any ‘lay’ bets in your acca. In addition, each leg must be priced at 1.1 or more. Worse still, the equation to establish the odds for your multiple is not favourable compared with many regular sportsbooks.
Normally, a multiple is calculated by multiplying the odds for each selection. Thus, looking at the World Cup qualifiers on March 30, Matchbook offers 1.4 about Serbia defeating Azerbaijan and 1.934 for Russia to win at home to Slovakia. That beats the prices available on most conventional sportsbooks. However, instead of offering the double at 2.71, Matchbook quotes 2.56 – taking 0.15 off the punter’s return. As a result, the sportsbooks come close to catching up.
Taking a longer-odds double from the same evening, we can see how a conventional sportsbook can overtake Matchbook, despite offering substantially lower single prices than the exchange. If we stick with Russia to beat Slovakia and add a punt on Luxembourg getting a draw against Portugal, we get generous single prices at Matchbook – 1.934 about Russia, 9.2 about the draw in Luxembourg – but the double comes out at 13.72. That is comfortably topped on the Betfair sportsbook (14.96) and is just edged out by Paddy Power at 13.75. Considering that Paddy’s single prices are 1.83 and 7.5 – well south of Matchbook’s figures – it’s clear that multiples on Matchbook aren’t all that attractive. So, while the chance to build multis is a nice idea, it might need a bit of work before it can fly.
In common with many exchanges, Matchbook does not go big on bonuses and freebies. Moreover, it seems to be getting stingier over time. Last year, there was a sign-up offer worth £30. By February 2021, that was down to £10 after staking your first tenner at even money or better. But in March it changed again, and the current sign-up deal promises 0% commission until April 12.
And that’s pretty much it. Matchbook has no free-bet club, nor any offers in its casinos. Instead, it relies on offering better odds than regular bookmakers and matching the lowest commission rates on the other exchanges.
Matchbook has two static sources of information about its services – an FAQ which deals with basic issues surrounding account set-up and the like, and the ‘insights’ pages, with hints and tips about how to get the best out of the exchange. In addition, Matchbook members can access a live chat to answer specific queries and this generally provides a swift response to most questions. More complicated issues can be addressed by email ([email protected]), but at present, there is no active telephone hotline.
The registration process starts in the top right-hand corner of the screen with a big red button that says ‘Join Matchbook’. Clicking on that opens the first page of a three-page registration form. There are familiar questions about names, contact details, passwords and the like, plus a chance to use any bonus codes that might be available. New Matchbook users are also asked to supply a security question and a deposit limit.
However, while many online gambling sites are happy to rely on electronic checks to confirm the bona fides of new users, Matchbook insists that everyone must submit a photo ID and proof of address. Acceptable Photo ID includes a scan of a passport or driving license, proof of address might be a scan of a recent utility bill or bank statement. Statements from banks that operate exclusively online are not accepted, nor are mobile phone bills. Until these documents are submitted and verified, no withdrawals can be processed. If the documents are not provided within 72 hours of opening an account, there may be restrictions placed upon the account in question and new accounts are often suspended if they fail to comply. This suspension can be overcome with help from the support desk, but it is an extra rigmarole that most users would prefer to avoid. Full details of the account verification process can be found at 2-Account Verification (matchbook.com).
Matchbook’s strict application of the verification rules is largely connected with the temporary suspension of its license in 2020. It is not likely to be big trouble. However, it is noticeable that on sites like Trustpilot, the most frequent complaint comes from individuals who were unable to verify their account and then could not withdraw funds that they had deposited earlier.
Matchbook works with Visa, Mastercard, Paysafecard, Neteller and Skrill, although not all of these are available in every country. It is also possible to make withdrawals via bank transfer, but only for $500 or more. It’s possible to open accounts in Matchbook in Sterling, Euros or Dollars (US, Canadian, Australian or HK).
Minimum deposits are set at £10 (or currency equivalent), as are minimum withdrawals. The minimum stake on Matchbook is 10p (or currency equivalent) and the only maximum, usually, is determined by the size of the market.
However, it is important to note that cash can only be withdrawn once Matchbook is satisfied that you have verified your account details. The most frequent criticism of the Matchbook site in online reviews comes from people who were unable to do this and then found they could not access the funds in their accounts.
In February 2020, Matchbook had its UK license suspended following a two-year investigation by the Gambling Commission. There were concerns about compliance with money laundering controls, as well as customer care issues, which led to £740,000 fine for Triplebet, the website’s owners. After six months, though, Matchbook was back – promising that it had learned its lesson. The Matchbook website had ‘implemented significant improvements to its compliance practices’ in the words of the Gambling Commission and a company spokesperson added: “We are extremely proud of the dedication and commitment of our staff during a very challenging economic period that has enabled Matchbook to once again offer a much-improved exchange platform to UK residents as we continue to grow our market share and deliver an industry-leading platform and liquidity pool for our customers.”
Matchbook’s return was welcomed by the gambling media, which regards the site as one of the four key exchanges operating in the UK. And, on the principle that competition is generally a good thing, it’s hard to disagree. It’s also worth noting that this case highlights the advantages of working with licensed bookmakers: where there is a problem, a regulatory body can intervene in support of clients.
Bonuses, mostly. Matchbook doesn’t offer much by way of sign-up bonuses, nor does it have any apparent rewards for regular punters. It’s true that exchanges, by and large, prefer to compete on versatility and improved odds, but it’s also true that the likes of Betfair and Smarkets will inflate your initial balance when you register your account.
The registration process, with its insistence on scanning ID documents and sending them to the website, might be off-putting for some. However, Matchbook here is in line with standard regulatory requirements; the exchange is merely opting out of the online verification process used widely by other sites.
Perhaps the biggest loss in Matchbook for the serious punter is the limited range of in-play markets. True, Matchbook runs live betting on the big games, but there’s a surprisingly high bar in place. For example, on Monday, March 29, the only football match running in-play was the Spanish Segunda Liga game between Fuenlabrada and Real Mallorca. None of the internationals in Africa or Latin America was going live, nor were games in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. Football in these competitions is routinely available for live betting on rival exchanges and sportsbooks.
Products and apps
Matchbook offers Betting Exchange, Casino, Live Casino services. The services are available in the mobile mode as well. The company also offers an app with the same options available for Android and iOS devices. You can download the apps from the Play Store and App Store.
Bonuses & Promotions
You can fund deposit in Matchbook via VISA, Mastercard cards, Neteller, Skrill and paysafecard. The minimum deposit sum is £10. The maximum deposit sum is £6,000 per day. The processing is instant. No commission is held by the bookmaker for deposit.
In Matchbook you are required to set a monthly limit for your deposits.
The withdrawal can be made through VISA, Mastercard cards, Neteller, Skrill and bank transfer. The minimum withdrawal sum is £10. There is no maximum limit for withdrawals. The processing takes 1-3 days for card methods and bank transfer and up to 12 hours for Skrill and Neteller. No commission is held by the bookmaker for the withdrawal for all methods except for bank transfers if the payout requested is less than £2,000. In that case, Matchbook charges £35 for the payout.
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Matchbook accepts 6 currencies: the British pound, Euro, US dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar.
as an arbitrator
Matchbook offers 2 methods for contacting the support team: email and live chat. You can choose the real-time translation option for those who don’t know the English language.
You can learn about the feedback and opinion on sum withdrawals and betting in Matchbook in the “Feedback” and in the comment to the review. Learn here about the experience of Matchbook users. Share your experience with everyone.
Instead of a traditional ‘cash out’ button, Matchbook encourages punters to take the initiative and use market movements to lock in a profit or cut losses as the action progresses. Let’s take an example. Before kick-off, place a bet on over 2.5 goals in a football match at a price of 2.1. Midway through the second half, the score is 1-1, and the price for over 2.5 goals is now at 1.7. By laying at the price, you can ensure that you profit regardless of the final score. If, though, you placed a similar bet and the game is still goalless at half time, the price could be up around 3.0. At this point, you have the option of cutting your losses – especially if the teams are parking the bus and playing defensively – or letting it ride in the hope that things will perk up in the second half. This can also be done in faster-paced markets. Fancy an outsider to start strongly in a horse race? You can back, wait for it for the horse to set the early pace, and lay it while it’s among the frontrunners. On Matchbook, you can also set a trade price in advance – so if your 15.0 outsider moves up to, for example, 10.0, you’re ready and waiting to take a locked-in profit. To help with all of these equations, the Matchbook exchange has a dynamic profit-and-loss display, helping you to work out exactly what your bets will bring you.
It depends. Matchbook itself aims to process all withdrawal requests within six hours. However, depending on which financial service you are using, it can take rather longer for the funds to hit your account. Some online services offer almost instant transfers, but traditional bank cards might need a couple of days to complete the transaction. It’s usually worth confirming with your preferred account to find out how long it will take to process a payment from Matchbook or any other betting site.
No. Matchbook is an exchange, so punters can accept the odds available at any given time or request the odds that they would like. If another user is happy to match your requested price, you have a bet. If nobody takes your odds, your money is refunded when the market closes.
In common with all gambling in the UK, Matchbook is only available for users over the age of 18. That is why, typically, all new accounts undergo a verification process to ensure that children do not fall into gambling.