Betfair is a betting exchange that allows punters to bet at odds set and requested by other punters rather than by a bookmaker. Befair members can make both 'Back' bets (normal bets on a selection to win) and 'Lay' bets (bets on the opposite side of the Back, against the selection).
Betfair punters are able to offer odds based on their own opinion rather than on a set bookmakers' margin. A commission of 5% is charged by Betfair.
It is possible to use Betfair to lay horses in place betting markets. In the place betting prices the odds are much lower than the win odds so this can make it an attractive option for laying horses rather than backing them to win. The advanatge of the realively short odds if you want to lay a horse for the place is that you can avoid the potential high liability and payouts associated with laying longer priced horses in the win market.
With Betfair you essentially become the bookmaker in lay betting and you back the wager of another punter who wants to back a horse to be placed or to win etc. Therefore, if the horse you lay to lose runs a place (or wins in a win market) and you have laid it not to run a place then you lose your stake multiplied by the odds.
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