Bookies behaving badly

We look at some examples of "less than ideal" behaviour by bookmakers.

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We spend a good part of our lives trying to find winners.

We’ve looked many times at the challenge of getting a bet on, and also some of the new battles punters may be faced with in this area.

Jump all those hurdles and get your bet on however, and surely you’re good to go?

Well… most of the time.

Unfortunately, we’ve come across some examples of bookmakers not playing a completely straight bat on bets already placed.

Read on for some examples…

Incorrect treatment of bets

Just last week we saw an example of one large bookmaker grading voided bets as losers.

The bets involved individual player markets where the player in question did not play in the match, so they clearly should have been refunded.  They were instead marked as losses, and the stake not returned.  They would have remained so had the punter not picked up on it.

Ensure you track and follow up all bets, be they winning, losing and otherwise.  It could make a significant difference to your bankroll.

Delayed settlement, or non-settlement of bets

In what might seem a fairly brazen practice, there are example of bookmakers simply not settling winning bets until or unless they’re prompted by the punter.

One recent example was a long-term bet on the English Super League Premiership, which the punter placed before the season.  The bet came in some months later, only for the bookmaker to not settle it for a week after the season had finished.

The bookmaker, with whom the punter had not placed another bet with in the months since, did settle and pay out when queried.  Had the punter not contacted them though, it seems that may not have happened.

You may think you’ll never miss a winner, and hopefully you don’t!  But if you’re a keen punter placing multitudes of wagers, especially long-term bets, things can slide off the radar if you’re not keeping proper records.  Make sure you do.

Rejecting bets, changing odds

This is one old chestnut that still happens frequently.  Bookies know who smart punters are, and flag all of their wagers to be intercepted and reviewed before being approved.

Many punters have experienced the extreme frustration of having a bet or market placed “on hold” when they try to bet, only to be offered massively lower odds when it becomes “active” again just seconds or minutes later.

Remember: minimum bet limits now prevent this on NSW and Victorian racing.  Bookies must take your bet at advertised odds (up to the defined limit).  If your bookmaker is clearly flouting this, report them to Racing NSW or Racing Victoria.

Palpable errors

A ‘palpable error’ in a market is basically when a genuine error is made by a bookmaker, and the wrong odds are displayed.  They’re generally fairly easy to spot: think of a two-horse race with both sides being above even money.

Punters may occasionally come across these and think they’ve found a huge value bet.  Don’t be so sure: all bookmakers will have a clause in their terms and conditions that covers palpable errors, and allows them to simply cancel any winning bets.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely unreasonable.  Errors happen and this just protects the bookie when they do.

What’s less reasonable is the practice some adopt, which only cancels the bet if it wins, but not when it loses.

It’s a little rich to claim an entire market is invalid due to a palpable error, but only for those who placed a winning bet.

In short: be very, very wary if you come across a clear market error.  It may end up being a case of “can’t win“, rather than “can’t lose“.

Been the victim of some dodgy bookie practices?  Let us know, or share your story below.