2020 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION - BETTING DISPUTES

22 January 2021

During the past two months, IBAS has received a substantial number of complaints from consumers that betting businesses have incorrectly or improperly settled bets on “NEXT US PRESIDENT”, or “US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WINNER” markets.

Some of those contacting IBAS have complained that settling bets prior to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony was premature while others have argued that the inauguration itself is invalid and will likely be subject to later legal challenge.

IBAS is not empowered to investigate the integrity of elections.

Our purpose is to consider complaints about whether betting businesses have acted fairly or unfairly, reasonably or unreasonably towards their customers. The question we must consider is whether each company concerned acted reasonably or unreasonably in their treatment of bets on the US Presidential election.

Following the inauguration ceremony on 20th January 2021, we can see no reason why any betting business would not close bets on the presidential election, paying out on Joe Biden as the 46th US President and treating bets on all other potential candidates as unsuccessful.

Reaching this decision does not make any comment on events that may transpire in the days, weeks, months or years to come. The decision makes no comment on the integrity of the election process. What we do believe is that when bets are placed on the outcome of an election, in the interest of fairness to every bettor there must be a point at which some bets are deemed to be winners and others are deemed to be losers. We consider the debate about the winner of the election closed from a betting perspective.

If you believe that there are particular circumstances why your complaint about betting on the election should still be considered by our Adjudication Panel, you are welcome to submit your case to IBAS.

If you have already been assigned an IBAS dispute number, please email IBASTEAM@ibas-uk.co.uk quoting your dispute number and the reasons why your complaint should be considered further. If you have not yet been assigned an IBAS dispute number, you will need to register on our website and complete a claim form, once the betting business has confirmed to you in writing (including by email) that you have fully exhausted the company’s internal complaints procedure.

PLEASE NOTE: for the avoidance of doubt, the argument that Biden’s presidency will be proven at a later date to be facilitated by electoral malpractice will NOT be considered a valid reason to explore your dispute further. Declining to adjudicate on claims of that nature is not to deny any truth in them but to acknowledge that there must be an appropriate, practical cut off point for bets on a presidential election.

Arguably that date was on 7th November 2020 when American news networks declared the election result, arguably that date was on 6th January 2021 when the US Senate certified the electoral college votes and arguably that date was on 20th January 2021 when the new President was inaugurated. Whichever of these - or any other date - was preferable, we are satisfied that there can be no reasonable basis for bets to remain open and unsettled any further.

HOW ARE WE DOING?

Total Value of Payments Awarded or Conceded to Customers in 2019.
£634,426
Total Requests for Adjudication.
6,282

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