Most bookmakers impose maximum limits on how much a customer can win by betting on different events. Often those limits vary depending on what sport or event is the subject of the bet.
The Gambling Commission, the regulatory authority for betting and gaming in Great Britain, explains that each bookmaker has a duty to make available their maximum payout limits for customer information.
IBAS believes that bookmakers could do more to prevent the acceptance of bets where the maximum possible payout is higher than the bookmaker is willing to pay. This could involve using computer software to highlight online bets that exceed the cap or betting shop tills to flag up where a football or other coupon bet risks breaching the company’s limits. However, those requirements are not written into the law and if the bookmaker is acting lawfully our Adjudication Panel may not feel empowered to rule against them.
When IBAS receives a dispute about a bet that has exceeded a bookmaker’s advertised limits, we will focus first on whether and how those limits were made available to consumers (generally) and to the disputant (individually). We will also consider whether the rules surrounding those limits are fair.
We strongly advise all customers placing multiple bets to read their bookmaker’s rules and establish what the company maximum payouts are.
If you have had a bet on 15 football teams in an accumulator and you stand to win £500,000, if the house limit on football payouts is only £250,000 you could have picked one or two fewer teams and still stood to win the same amount, taking extra and ultimately entirely unnecessary risks in the process as the final couple of teams added nothing to your returns if you won but risked the whole lot if they had lost.
If you can’t see a bookmaker’s rules in their shop or if you can’t find them on their website, don’t be afraid to ask for help – it could save you a great deal in the end.