Disputed Bet Instructions

IBAS Advice to Customers

Written Bets

  • Always write your bets as clearly as possible.
  • Always check that your stake is correctly recorded on the receipt you are handed.

Many of the betting shop disputes we receive result from customers who are disappointed by the way that their written instructions have been interpreted.

Sometimes it is the selection that is disputed, sometimes the market in which the bet was placed and sometimes the value of the stake itself.

In all cases, IBAS will look at the written instructions impartially to determine how the bet should be settled. This may result in a definitive settlement on the most obvious interpretation of the bet, a decision to divide stake monies equally between more than one reasonable interpretation, or a verdict that the instructions are open to too many interpretations and that the stake money should be refunded.

When the dispute involves the stake money itself, IBAS will generally adjudicate that the bet should be processed for the value that is recorded on the receipt and in the shop till, unless there is indisputable evidence, or an agreement between both parties, that a different sum was tendered and accepted.

Increasing numbers of betting shop bets result in customers being provided with printed receipts. In other cases, we advise customers to make every reasonable effort possible to ensure that bets are written clearly and carefully.

Although writing numbers (instead of names) can be quicker and easier for horse and greyhound selections, we strongly advise anyone using numbers to take just a few extra seconds to ensure that time and meeting for the intended race are both correct before approaching the till. If the selections are written clearly but there is any reasonable question about which race was intended, we will require the bookmaker to apply their relevant rules – which pre-existed the dispute – for determining how the bet should be settled; and that may not always be the race you had in mind.

When betting on lottery draws (such as 49s or the Irish Lotto) always be clear which draw your bet is for and whether you wish to bet on an outcome that includes or excludes the ‘bonus’ or ‘booster’ ball.  Bookmakers’ rules should set out how they will settle bets if no draw time or type is stipulated and the bookmaker should adhere to those rules even if they believe your unspecified intention was different.

Verbal Bets

Bets placed by telephone or in person at a bookmaker’s racecourse pitch often require more care and attention on the part of both parties.

From a consumer perspective, our advice is:

  • Listen carefully to what the telephonist or bookmaker’s clerk says when the bet is confirmed. This is called the ‘readback’ or ‘callback’  and according to most telephone bookmakers' rules it ultimately determines what bet you have placed. Even if you are positive that your instructions were clear and unambiguous, make sure that you listen to how your bet is described by the bookmaker’s representative. Do not be embarrassed to query that confirmation if you are in any doubt about what has been said or you suspect, even for a second, that the bet has been misinterpreted.
  • If the bet is placed by telephone, you can always call the bookmaker’s customer service or accounts department for confirmation of what bet has been recorded. Trying to have a bet changed before the event is, naturally, considerably easier than asking for it to be changed after the result is known.
  • If the bet is placed at a bookmaker’s pitch or at the tote counter of a racecourse, check the ticket that is issued to you to make sure that it confirms your stated bet. Some greyhound racecourse bookmakers do not offer printed tickets, which places an even greater emphasis on listening to the verbal confirmation of the bet. The bookmaker is required to call the bet, to give you the opportunity to notify him/her if your instruction has been misunderstood. 



Total Value of Payments Awarded or Conceded to Customers in 2020.
Total Requests for Adjudication.