A customer of the bookmaker seeks adjudication on the settlement of a horseracing bet he placed at one of the company’s shops on January 27, 2016. The customer complains that his bet, a £10 win single on No 3, Out Sam, at 50/1 in the 3.0 at Catterick, has been settled at 1/4, which was also the starting price. The bookmaker states that settlement has been made at a revised price because the bet was struck at an obviously incorrect price.
The price of 50/1 was applied to the slip by the customer and was unendorsed by shop staff.
The Panel have carefully considered the customer’s submission in support of his claim, together with representations from the bookmaker.
Whenever a customer places a bet with a bookmaker, he agrees to be bound by the bookmaker’s rules. Bets are accepted subject to their conforming to the bookmaker’s rules and not unconditionally.
This bookmaking company, in common with most other bookmakers, has rules which entitle them to correct errors in the display and transmission of prices or terms, or errors made by their staff in the acceptance of bets. In this particular case, the company have invoked the following provisions of their rules:
“A betting shop is, by its very nature, a fast moving environment. Odds move rapidly and bets are taken continuously, consequently mistakes can occur. We will do all that we can to avoid this but we cannot accept responsibility for any obvious errors or omissions in respect of the announcing, publishing or marking of prices, handicaps, place terms, runners or results despite our every effort to ensure total accuracy.
“If we do make an obvious error then the following rules will apply:
“When a bet is placed on a market offered before an event has started and more advantageous odds or terms than those actually available with us are applied, we will either settle the bet at the correct price or terms available or at the best price or on the best terms available with any of the following companies at the time the bet was struck....”
The customer states he queried the price when placing the bet. A member of shop staff checked the price on the till and not only confirmed 50/1 was correct but also told the customer the bet would be paid out 50/1 even if that price proved to be incorrect. The 3.00 at Catterick was a three-runner novice chase.
The bookmaker explains that their appointed broadcasting service provided incorrect board prices for the runners for approximately eight minutes and the customer’s bet was placed during that period. The broadcaster subsequently made an announcement advising of the issue, which affected bookmakers industry-wide.
Out Sam, who had run well to finish third in a much stronger race at Ascot on his chase debut, was priced at 1/3 in that morning’s Racing Post betting forecast. Major Ivan and Halcyon Days, who were making their chasing debuts, were priced at 5/2 and 33/1 respectively.
The bookmaker has supplied the Panel with price histories showing that correct early prices were available from 08:20:10 until 14:52:28, after which board prices were available, with the odds for Halcyon Days and Out Sam transposed. This error was not corrected until 14:59:09, shortly before the “off”. The customer’s bet was placed at 14:53:05, when the correct price for Out Sam was seemingly 1/4.
In the Panel’s view, it was unfortunate that the bet was accepted at an obviously incorrect price. However, the Panel consider that it is not unreasonable that companies should be able, in their rules, to reserve the right to correct such errors. In view of the obviousness of the error, the Panel agree that the bookmaker was entitled to invoke the above rules and settle at the correct price of 1/4.
The Panel therefore adjudicate that the disputed bet has been correctly settled.