Shop Scanner Failures

An increasing number of betting shop bets are placed by the customer filling in boxes with a pen, much like buying a National Lottery Ticket.

These ‘marksense’ betting slips or coupons are often used for football or numbers bets, or for Tote Placepot and Jackpot bets on horse or greyhound racing. The betting shop computer reads the customer’s selections and prints out a receipt showing what they are and the potential winnings.

Almost all of the disputes about these bets stem from customer or bookmaker claims that the receipt printed did not reflect the customer’s written instructions, i.e. that the computer misread which boxes the customer had filled in.

Most bookmakers’ rules say that where there is any difference between what appears to have been marked on the coupon and the receipt, then the receipt is what is used to settle the bet. Some bookmakers say that the original coupon should be used.

On balance, IBAS prefers the former approach, for a number of reasons:

  • The customer has an accurate record of what their bet is, i.e. for checking the results
  • The customer has an opportunity to check the receipt and raise any concerns if it doesn’t match their original intentions, and
  • It eliminates any claim or suggestion that the bookmaker has altered the originally submitted coupon for their own benefit

Of course, the downside is that on some occasions customers may end up with losing bets they did not wish to place, or bets containing fewer winning selections than they had asked for. The reverse is that some customers end up with more winning selections and winning more than they would have if the coupon had been read as they intended.

In some situations, for example if the scanner has produced a receipt that varies wildly from what was apparently completed on the submitted form then a different approach may be required.

Overall however, we feel that the important thing is that all such situations are handled consistently – that a rule for determining settlement is published in advance and stuck to by both parties.

We strongly advise people placing bets using marksense forms to always check their tickets carefully and we hope that betting shop staff will remind their customers to do the same as often as possible.


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