The introduction of Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems to betting shops has given bookmakers much greater control over how their shops are operated. Previously shop staff could process an off-slip when all bets for a race had been taken but now the EPOS system automatically generates the cut-off time. Backers have to realise that the new system is much less flexible and that if they cut placing a bet too fine they may find it is void, as happened here:
The time at which a bet is placed is principally the responsibility of the backer and it is beyond argument that a bet must be placed before the start of any race or event.
The off-slip process for EPOS slip capture systems is now well established in licensed betting shops and is generally understood by customers.
Nevertheless, whilst some companies operate a strict 'off to time' policy, when deciding whether a bet has been placed in time or not, many other bookmakers have built into their EPOS system a facility which allows customers, waiting at the counter, a finite period of additional time in which to place bets, before an absolute off-time is recorded.
However, the length of any 'add on time' is dependent on the distance of the race in question. In this case, on Wednesday, 30th May 2007, the customer placed a single bet for the 2.00 at Brighton, that afternoon. The official off-time for the race has been independently confirmed at 14:01.27secs. The customer's bet was recorded at 14:01.33secs.
The bookmaker states: 'The EPOS slip capture system that is used in all our shops generates an electronic off signal for all betting opportunities and any wager accepted after this signal has been passed will be deemed void win or lose.'
Whilst the company does allow an additional period of time to elapse, before printing an absolute off-time for certain races, in this instance the disputed bet was recorded after the 'add on time' threshold for the race concerned.
Consequently, the Panel must rule that the bet is 'late' and, therefore, void in accordance with the aforementioned rules.