IMPORTANT UPDATE: WBX has closed down
WBX closed its betting exchange effective 17:00 (GMT) on March 16 2015. Although betting will be suspended, Members will still be able to log in to withdraw their funds and to see their balances and unsettled bets. All long-term markets will be settled in the normal way, when results are known. The WBX support team will continue to provide support and are available from Monday – Friday, 0900 – 1700 GMT.
A note from the CEO, Malcolm Gray:
To our loyal members and affiliates,
I have always taken a long view with WBX and believed that we’d become a genuine alternative to Betfair on the strengths of our great platform and commitment to putting every exchange player back in control. Unfortunately the business strategy is no longer viable due to the rising costs of regulatory compliance and levies in the United Kingdom, along with the increasingly prohibitive stance of various betting jurisdictions.
Though I am of course disappointed that WBX is closing, I am proud of my team and the fairness in which the exchange has operated for almost 10 years. Please rest assured that WBX will continue to service its Members and affiliates in the same spirit during the wind-down period.
Thank you for your support.
The following is an in-depth review of the betting agency WBX (the World Bet Exchange). This review covers the history, features, interface, sports & racing markets, upsides and downsides of the service.
This review is part of our comprehensive Bookmaker Reviews section. The Betting Agencies page provides information and reviews for other sports betting agencies that are suitable for Australians. The following details are updated periodically to keep them up to date.
History, Location and Licence
WBX was launched in 2006 to provide direct competition with Betfair. Like Betfair, WBX is a betting exchange rather than a bookmaker. Members can back or lay outcomes to effectively act as the punter or bookmaker, respectively. WBX has sought to grow its market share by charging lower commissions than its larger rival. WBX claims that Betfair members pay 35% more commission than WBX members.1
A key point of difference between WBX and Betfair from an Australian perspective is the fact that WBX is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission while Betfair holds an Australian license in addition to its UK and Malta licences. For this reason WBX permits Australians to bet in-play (live) online while Betfair only permits in-play betting over the phone. Unlike Betfair, WBX does not charge any premium charges to winning punters.
Services and Features
|Deposit options||Credit card, Skrill/Moneybookers (which supports POLi), NETeller, international bank transfer, cheque, Paysafecard|
|Withdrawal options||Credit card, Skrill/Moneybookers, NETeller, international bank transfer|
|Transaction fees||1.8% fee for credit card deposits. $15.00 for international bank transfer withdrawals. Most other deposit and withdrawal options carry no fees.|
|Currencies||AUD, GBP, EUR, USD, CAD|
|Odds formats||Decimal, American, Fractional, Hong Kong, Indonesian, Italian, and Percentage Odds|
|Minimum deposit||£5.00 (NETeller), £10.00 (Skrill/Moneybookers), £15.00 (credit card)|
|Maximum bet/payout||None that we’re aware of. Unlike Betfair, WBX doesn’t impose Premium Charges on winning punters. Members wishing to withdraw more than £250,000 (or currency equivalent) in any seven day period may be required to give seven days notice.|
|Deposit turnover requirements||None that we’re aware of|
|Bonus credit turnover requirements||None that we’re aware of|
|Bookmaker margin||WBX charges a maximum commission of 3%-5% depending on the market. This rate is discounted when you accrue loyalty points. Please note that as with any exchange the effective margin is dependent on the level of member participation in the market. The margins are higher in less active markets. Due to the loyalty discount active members can pay as little as 1.2% in commissions. WBX is the only exchange to offer a loyalty refund, meaning that if a member increases their discount rate the earlier commission they paid will be discounted as any excess is refunded.|
|Forbidden Jurisdictions||United States|
|Mobile betting||Tablet and mobile versions of the website are available with no download required|
|Identity checks||Customers must verify their age either by making a small credit card deposit or by emailing/faxing in a scanned copy of photo ID.|
|Dormant account fees||None|
|Support||Email and phone (UK number)|
Betting Interface and Website Layout
The WBX interface uses a familiar three-column layout. Markets are listed on the left in an expandable drop down menu. Odds are displayed in the centre and the betting slip is displayed on the right.
The sports menu is intuitive and easy to use, although it can take a bit of time sifting through the various sub-categories if you’re jumping around from sport to sport. This is because all expanded categories remain open when you select a different sport. There’s a handy search box at the top that enables you to jump straight to a specific fixture, although it doesn’t work well if you try to search for a league because you’ll get “Your search has returned too many results. Please refine your search.”
The odds panel in the centre can be viewed in Sportsbook or Exchange mode, with the latter providing market depth information and lay odds. The odds display is virtually identical to Betfair, with the best available odds highlighted in the centre boxes and the market depth displayed below in less prominent text.
The betting slip is displayed in the ‘Place Bets’ tab in the right column. Numerous options are available to tailor the display of your bets to suit your needs. The ‘Details’ Tab provides an overview of the market, including the maximum commission rate and your loyalty points level. The ‘My Bets’ tab displays your matched and unmatched bets for the market in question.
Those who are familiar with Betfair will find the WBX layout intuitive and easy to use. Sports betting beginners may be thrown off by the back-lay nature of exchange betting but the site will feel like a traditional bookmaker if you switch the odds view to “Sportsbook”.
Because WBX is a UK-based service, the market offerings and member participation levels reflect the UK more than the Australian market. With that being said, a broad range of sports are covered. We’ve observed markets for the A-League, AFL, NRL, rugby union, the major American codes (professional & NCAA), boxing, combat sports, cricket, cycling, darts, golf, European ice hockey, Formula 1, snooker, tennis and football leagues from around the world.
Every time we review WBX the liquidity has improved in leaps and bounds since our last visit. Some now outdated stats we were given are that WBX processes over 3 million bets per day with 5,000 sports betting markets on offer each week – 500 of which are live betting markets. As of late 2014 the liquidity is very good for football and tennis markets, especially the English Premier League and the bigger tennis tournaments. The liquidity is also perfectly adequate for the major US sporting codes, including college sports.
A previous lack of liquidity was a major criticism we had of WBX in earlier reviews but we are pleased to see the that odds and market depths will now suit the needs of most punters.
Winner and place markets are available for greyhound and horse racing events across the UK and Ireland. Australian horse racing isn’t covered, although at the time of review there was a Ante Post market for the Melbourne Cup.
Live Sports Betting
Unlike Australian bookmakers2, WBX does support online in-play wagering. This is the biggest drawcard of the service from an Australian perspective because the combination of in-play and exchange wagering means you can effectively hedge during live events. For example you can place a back bet on Lewis Hamilton prior to a Formula 1 race and then place a lay wager on him in-play to hedge your previous bet.
The live betting interface is the same as that for the rest of the site, but with a ten second delay before your wager is accepted. Unfortunately, not all events support live betting. Those that aren’t supported display a permanent ‘Suspended’ status above the odds while the event is in progress.
- Online in-play (live) betting in an exchange environment
- Lower commissions than Betfair (can be as low as 1.2% with the loyalty discount)
- No premium charges for winning punters
- Lower minimum stake than Betfair (£1.00 vs. $5.00)
- Support for POLi deposits through Skrill/Moneybookers
- Less liquidity than Betfair
- Virtually no offerings for Australian horse racing
WBX will appeal to Australian punters who are looking for a betting exchange that offers online in-play betting. There’s less market depth than Betfair, however liquidity is improving very quickly. WBX is best suited to low/mid stakes punters who wish to place back and lay wagers online during live events.