Almost all bookmakers or sportsbooks rules are written to defend their entitlement to correct any odds or handicap lines which are published by clear mistake, such as when two prices are transposed, an inputting ‘typo’ misrepresents the intended price, or as a result of some demonstrable technological or software error.
‘Obvious error’ or ‘palpable error’ rules must not be used to protect operators from errors of judgement or movements in the market they have failed to detect and respond to.
When a dispute relates to a pricing error, the Panel will look to establish the reason for the claimed mistake and request evidence from the bookmaker to support their claim about the price they say that they intended to offer at the time the disputed bet was struck.
Panellists will consider whether the error would have been discernible to a customer with a reasonable knowledge of betting and the sport in question.
In general terms we do not consider the principle of correcting obvious errors to be unfair but in each case we will check whether the rule has been implemented reasonably and fairly.
IBAS encourages bookmakers who have advertised prices in error to resettle bets at the best price offered by any of their major or local competitors, to avoid any accusation that the incorrect price was advertised deliberately to attract additional trade.
Some betting shop disputes are caused by prices being written onto a betting slip, most commonly by the customer and being processed through the shop till without the cashier checking whether that price is still available.
Most bookmakers will argue that a customer’s right to taking the latest odds for their selection is limited to the price that is actually available at the time the bet is struck (i.e. when it has been paid for and processed through the electronic till). To support a claim of a late price, we will require bookmakers to supply data from their pricing databases to show what price changes were implemented and at what precise times.
Much the same as where prices are advertised in error, our view is that in most cases it is fair and reasonable to say that a customer who has missed a price should only be entitled to the price that was available when the bet was processed. However, we will also look for other potentially extenuating circumstances, such as where the price was written onto the bet by a member of staff, whether the price was the first of several requested as part of a multiple bet, or whether there is any evidence of the specific shop or company having had any technological issues with the shop screens or other displays during the day in question.
We strongly advise all betting shop customers wishing to take the current price (instead of starting price) about their selection to ask the bookmaker’s employee to mark the prices for you. This does not guarantee an entitlement to whatever they have written – your bet is with the licensed bookmaker and not with their employee – but it will strengthen the customer’s case to some degree in almost all situations.