Founded in 2008 by a consortium of finance and engineering professionals, Smarkets was designed to offer players a better online betting experience by offering a transparent exchange with some of the lowest commission rates in the industry.
One of the defining features of Smarkets is its interface and, thanks to its CEO, Jason Trost (a finance expert and software engineer), customers are able to complete trades in lightening quick time. In fact, thanks to an API that's capable of processing transactions in milliseconds, Smarkets members are able to take the best peer-to-peer odds and close more bets than virtually any other online betting exchange.
Thanks to Smarkets' consortium of backers, the development team has been formed with one goal in mind. That goal is to create a platform that's fast and efficient. Online exchange betting is based on speed and the faster a customer can ante-up, the better their chances of success become.
Smarkets understands this principle intimately and, for that reason, it has built a site using the Erlang programming language. Choosing to use this code (the hidden strings of letters and digits that form the visible pages) means that Smarkets doesn't suffer from punishing load and page refresh times. In fact, the operator itself describes its interface as a "resource-orientated" API, which means it's easier for customers to navigate, locate and place bets.
From an aesthetic point of view, Smarkets' homepage can be described as simple yet effective. Unlike other online bookmakers and betting exchanges, Smarkets doesn't bombard you with a slew of flashing images and banners when you navigate to its homepage. Preferring to focus on the odds first and its offers later, this site should prove to be a breath of fresh air for anyone who simply wants to focus on finding the best odds possible.
In terms of ergonomics, Smarkets is divided into two main sections - a left sidebar and a centre console.
The Left Sidebar
On this side of the main screen you'll find Smarkets' list of betting markets. Fixed in place and using a dropdown function to display the sub-markets for each sport, this sidebar allows Smarkets to keep its range of betting options neatly confined to one side of the page.
Indeed, by far the most impressive feature is the dropdown system. While some online bookmakers have this functionality, few have pushed the technology as far as Smarkets. Instead of using a single dropdown menu and pushing users into the centre of the main page, Smarkets continues to cascade its betting options until the user finds exactly what they want.
For example, when you select the heading "football", a dropdown menu will reveal a series of specific options such as "Today", "UK", "Europe" and "World". At this point you can select the market you're most interested in and reveal a further set of options i.e. if you chose "UK" you would be presented with a list of forthcoming matches and the time/date they're due to take place.
After selecting the match you're interested in, Smarkets' software will reveal all of the betting options and related odds contained within in its exchange.
The Centre Console
Once you've drilled down into the minute details of the betting market you're most interested in, Smarkets continues its minimalistic theme by confining your actions to the centre console. After scanning the available odds and finding an offer that suits your needs, you can then click on the odds (green box to back, blue box to lay) and a pop up will appear.
Inside this box you'll be able to adjust your stake and the price before confirming the bet using the "place bet" button. This dynamic is unlike many online sports betting sites and helps to enhance the "speed and efficiency" ethos Smarkets' owners have tried to create. Indeed, instead of having to constantly click around the screen to find and place bets, Smarkets keeps everything compact, easy-to-read and extremely light, which means transaction times are greatly decreased.
The Sports Betting Menu
Like all leading online sportsbooks, Smarkets has markets for every major sport in the world. When you scroll through the left sidebar, you'll find all the options you'd expect from a bookmaker, including football, horse racing, basketball, tennis and cricket.
However, thanks to the owners of Smarkets having a background in finance, it's also possible to speculate on a host of exotic markets. Politics, cultural events, award ceremonies and even financial markets are all offered inside this platform.
Naturally, as well as pre-event markets, Smarkets also offers in-play provisions. Covering five main sports (football, tennis, ice hockey, basketball and cricket), in-play betting at Smarkets works in much the same way as it would inside any other online betting site. Except when it comes to football, that is, as Smarkets' revolutionary 'Instant Match' feature allows you to take the best odds without being subject to any in-play delays.
The Tech Wizardry
As noted, Smarkets is one of the most efficient online betting sites in the industry. Choosing to use the Erlang programming language has allowed the developers to create a site that loads quickly and efficiently. Of course, a simple interface without any added extras can look a little lacklustre. Fortunately, Smarkets has addressed this issue by adding two interesting features.
Market Option: To give users an idea of other users’ views on a particular event, the percentage of bets offered for each market are displayed at the top of the page. For example, if you were looking to place a bet on Team X vs. Team Y, Smarkets' software would tell you how many bets there are for Team X (i.e. XXX%) and how many are against (i.e. XXX%).
In addition to this information, the amount of money wagered on a particular market will also be displayed at the top of the page. Using this data, you can start to build up a sense of how the market is moving and from that point you can start to look at where the value bets are.
Extra Info:As well as an insight into the movement of the exchange, Smarkets also offers additional information on the right-hand side of the page. This information can take the form of league tables, top bets or recent betting data related to the market in question. For example, if you wanted to place a bet on Arsenal but weren't sure of their position in the league, a quick look at the right-hand side of the page would give you an insight into the team’s league position and recent form.
Overall, these resources should allow you to become a more informed and, potentially, more profitable punter.
Added Extra: Low Commission Rates at Smarkets
To welcome new players, Smarkets offers a £10 bonus when you deposit £20 or more. Although this is slightly lower than many online bookmakers, the site does make up for this with one of the lowest commission rates in the industry.
Aside from its welcome bonus, Smarkets' headline claim is that it offers "industry low" commission rates. When you're using a betting exchange you will have to pay a small charge when you win a bet. Unlike traditional bookmakers that set their own odds and make money from losing punters, betting exchanges simply offer a platform where users can set their own odds or take the odds offered by others.
Because of this, exchanges have to charge commission on each winning bet (or the winning market) in order to make a profit. As a punter, your job is to find the site with the lowest commission rates possible and that's something Smarkets has worked extremely hard on. Compared to other operators, this site's 2% commission rates are extremely low and that means you'll get to keep more of your winnings when you ante-up.
View from the Betting Floor
When it comes to fast, efficient and affordable exchange betting, there are few sites that can match Smarkets. Thanks to its unique interface and added features, such as the aforementioned 'Instant Match' which allows you to get best odds without any of the usual in-play delay, Smarkets has become the choice for sports bettors who want a more lucrative experience.
Although the interface might not be as "attractive" as some platforms, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you're someone who values money over graphics and efficiency over style, then Smarkets is the perfect choice for you.
*Simple interface that allows you to get the best odds possible
*One of the lowest commission rates in the industry
*A varied betting menu that includes markets on politics and current affairs
*A range of payment options, including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Neteller and Skrill
*Free £10 when you deposit £20
To join Smarkets, follow our dedicated download link and create your first account today.