For a bet to be struck, it must be matched with another customer, someone who has an opposing opinion.
When submitting a bet offer, bets can be returned as unmatched, partially matched or matched in full.
The below example shows a bet that has been matched - it cannot be changed or cancelled.
The status of your bets is displayed under the 'My Bets' tab. In the following example the bet is unmatched. Be sure to click on 'Continue' after your bet offer has been confirmed, otherwise your bet slip will not be updated.
Until your bet offer is matched by someone else, you do not yet have a bet. If nobody matches your bet before the market closes or is turned In-Play, then your bet will 'lapse' and you will get your money back.
IMPORTANT: Your bet could be matched a split-second after the unmatched bet slip has been shown as above. Just because it hasn't been matched instantly does not mean it can't still be matched.
Unmatched bets stay in the market as offers until you decide to cancel them. In a worst case scenario, you could place another bet thinking your first bet wasn't taken and then another and another as the prices change - then the market moves back the other way and you get matched several times when you only wanted one bet! It is much safer to change the odds of your unmatched bet than trying again and again to get matched.
As prices and amount of money available constantly change on an exchange, particularly just before a race or when a market is In-Play, you may have to adjust your odds or stake to get matched. Note that the odds and stake value can still be changed in the image below - you are still able to change or cancel it at any time until the bet is matched.
Customers always want the best price whether backing (as high as possible) or laying (as low as possible). Be aware that the Betfair market screen will normally refresh every 30 seconds but the Betfair server can process hundreds of bets per second. In a busy market, prices and volumes will change constantly - don't assume that the prices only change when you see them on screen. Click on the refresh button just above the market to view the latest prices.