When you are interested in sports betting and automation then you should focus on offers that allow access via API. Via programming interface you can write a piece of software that can automatically scrape odds, place bets or trade for you. We have compiled a list of bookies and exchanges that offer an API (application programming interface).
Summary Table of API Offerings
Betfair, Betdaq and Pinnacle are probably the most popular brands that offer API access for betting automation. However, the technologies differ slightly: Often you will find REST-based web services that make use of HTTP. For low latency applications stream-based approaches are used. Please not that some providers such as Betfair for instance charge extra fees if you want to use the API.
|Name||API Type||Client Sample Code||API Costs||Documentation|
|Betfair||REST via HTTP,
Stream based on sockets with JSON protocol
||299 GBP Activation Fee||Exchange API|
|Betdaq||SOAP via HTTP||No official sample code, create client from WSDL file||-||BETDAQ Pro|
|Pinnacle||REST via HTTP, offers OpenAPI||No official sample code, create client via openapi-generator||-||Pinnacle API|
Do you think there as a good option missing in our table? Please contact us and let us know!
When selecting a suitable bookmaker or betting exchange you should not only focus on the API offer. There are also other important criteria such as liquidity for instance. There is not point in building betting automation for an exchange that has close to zero liquidity.
Betting Automation via User Interface
If your favourite bookmaker does not offer any API you might still want to automate your betting activities. There are technologies such as selenium that can help you to automate processes in a browser. In theory it is possible to build a bot that would act like a human. The bot can logon to your betting account, navigate the menu to find a relevant fixture and place some bet.
Building Your Own Betting API
The drawback of such solution is that the interface is not documented. You will need to inspect the HTML code that is delivered to your browser and based on that you will code functionality that will do the automation. The problem here is that the HTML content of the website might change anytime, maybe for a redesign of the website. Typically this is not communicated in advance and your automation bot might just stop working. For a scraping bot this might be acceptable as you might just lose some data points until your code is adjusted but for a betting or trading bot the outcome can be much worse meaning that you could potentially lose your money.
Summary on API Usage of Bookmaker and Betting Exchanges
When using betting automation it is important to have a reliable partner that offers a well documented and official API. The provider should also follow best practices around software development such as announcing feature deprecation in advance. Otherwise you might not have much fun with betting automation.
Personally, we have used Betfair in the past for betting automation. However, the reason for this is simply liquidity which is higher compared to other offers. The extra activation fee that was introduced is certainly a barrier for money sports bettors that want to make a transition from manual betting or trading towards betting automation.