Most bookmakers’ rules prohibit bets that combine two or more elements where one part of the bet winning makes the other part of the bet more likely to be successful. These situations are commonly referred to as ‘related bets’.
Some examples are clearer than others, for example a bet on Manchester United to win the Premier League at 3/1 combined in a bet with Manchester United to win the Premier/League FA Cup Double at 12/1 would be deemed unacceptable, because once they have won the double they have automatically already won the League.
Many bookmakers’ rules specifically prohibit the combination of bets for the same team, or individual, or horse to win more than one different event in the future. For example, they would say that betting on Liverpool to win the League and the FA Cup in the same season can’t be combined as individual bets because if Liverpool have a team good enough to win the League in that season, it follows that they must also have a team good enough to win the Cup. So bookmakers often quote ‘special’ combined prices on the double instead.
Generally speaking, bookmakers look to apply related bet rules whenever the outcome of one part of the bet affects the odds, or would have affected the odds, of the other.
In 2015 we received several disputes from betting shop customers who had written out accumulator bets on a number of Conservative or Scottish National Party candidates to be elected to parliament in marginal seats. When they were all successful, the bookmakers said that these bets were accepted in error and tried to enforce terms that allowed them to divide the customer’s stake by the number of MPs listed and resettle the bets as singles on each individual to win their individual constituency.
The IBAS Panel accepted that the bookmakers concerned had in place rules which clarified that such bets were prohibited and that their various websites would not have permitted the equivalent bets to be processed online. However, the Panel were concerned that had any one of the candidates selected by the customers not won their seats then they would not necessarily have known that they were entitled to winning single bets on the other, successful selections and would therefore have thrown away their receipts rather than claiming what they were entitled to.
The IBAS Panel then worked with the bookmakers involved to offer the customers concerned fair, alternative settlements that reflected regional ‘swings’ towards the Conservatives and SNP but also reflected that none of the individual seat victories were ‘automatic’.
There are considerably fewer disputes about related bets online, where in most cases bookmaker software is designed not to accept multiple bets where one selection’s success relates in any way to another’s. However, IBAS does accept that the rules still apply. In most cases where a related bet is accepted in error online, we will look to resolve the situation fairly, where appropriate by asking the bookmaker to create a price that they would have offered on the combined, related selections.