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.


  1. I can only agree with your last comment on a clear market error. Whilst horse racing is my bread and butter I have been an avid follower of English soccer all my life. Ladbrokes and their sister company Betstar are the only bookies I know who offer prices on games further afield than the next two weeks. In fact they price up the whole season. They get the prices wrong a lot of the time and I have made a profit on this most times simply by arbing the bet once other bookies or Betfair put their prices up.
    A couple of months ago these two bookies put up wrong prices on the Burnley v Liverpool game simply because they had Liverpool down as the home team instead of the away team. They priced them up as $1.35 favs so Burnley and the draw were bigger odds than they should be. I backed Burnley and the draw with a view of only making an approx $30 if Pool were going to end up at the $1.65 price I envisaged them to be on the day of the match. I split my bet with both bookies so as not to bring it to too much attention. Not only did both bookies restrict my account, they banned me from all promotions and promotional prices. What really peeved me was that they cancelled my bets but did not let me know! Good job I checked or my arb could have cost me money. I am not a Liverpool supporter but recently I noticed they priced them at $1.80 at home to West Ham. Right team at home this time but wrong price in my view. I put on $200 and they accepted $89 and rejected the other $111 – price changed to $1.65? Really. A World wide bookie changes his price on an EPL game on the back of a $200 bet! They also only accepted $19 out of a $25 bet on another football match bet recently too. Once you show your arm at either being smart, arbing or “playing” their money back promotions they will restrict or ban you. Everyone of them has done this to me over the past 3 years accept one.

  2. There is something dodgy going on with the Victorian TAB web site. Recently I went to top up my account with $100.00, when I went to complete the process a tab appeared saying that the transaction couldn’t be processed. Wanting to place more bets as the funds were low in my account I tried the process once again and the same thing happened. Trying once again it rejected me once more so I decided to give up. going back to the race meeting page I then saw my balance had grown to $300.00 more, $200.00 I didn’t wand in my account!

  3. Another time I placed a bet on a horse in a Victorian race through the Victorian TAB web site which duly won and should have paid $15.00 for the win. When it didn’t show in my account balance I decided to do a printout of my betting transactions and to my surprise I discovered that the bet had somehow been placed on a 40/1 horse in a Sydney race. Contacting the TAB and complaining about this I was told that once a bet was placed they couldn’t do anything about it. How’s that for coruption?

  4. Be very careful of Sportsbet when betting on novelties such as pre-taped reality TV shows.
    In the latest series of Australian Survivor, the opening price for Kristie, the introvert who was an unlikely victor was $3.50 in a 24 person field making it appear completely illogical to take that bet, while other stronger players were $20 to $50 shots. Then coming into the final 3, Kristie was quoted $1.50 chance while the two obvious favourites were quoted at $6.00 even though she needed to win a challenge against all odds.
    Sure enough she won.
    The concern is that Sportsbet’s rules allowed them to reject any bet they wanted on Kristie, while accept any bet they wanted on the opposition.