OBVIOUS ERROR CASE STUDY #1

  1. A customer seeks adjudication in his dispute with his bookmaker over the odds at which a football bet should be settled.

  1. The Panel have considered written submissions from the customer and the bookmaker.

  1. On 28th July 2016 the customer placed a bet on the bookmaker's website during a Copa de Brasil third round second leg tie between Chapecoense and Atletico Paranaense. He backed Atletico Paranaense to qualify at odds of 1.95. The bet was struck at 01:22:11. At that time the match was in its 94th minute and the score was 1-1.

  1. One minute and 13 seconds later the match finished 1-1 and Atletico Paranaense qualified for the fourth round on away goals. The first leg had finished 0-0.

  1. The customer claims payment on a successful bet at odds of 1.95. The bookmakers say those odds were offered by mistake and settled at the odds they say they should have offered, which were 1.03. The bookmakers say they did not realise the away goals rule applied. Odds of 1.95 reflected their belief that the tie would go to extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shootout if no goals were scored in the remaining one and a bit minutes. There was a strong chance that no more goals would be scored. Hence the bookmakers say the odds they would have offered for Atletico Paranaense to qualify if they had known the away goals rule applied were 1.03.

  1. When a person opens an account with an online bookmaker they click to accept that bookmaker’s rules.

  1. The bookmaker's rule on errors explains that where they detect an obvious erroneously issued price, they reserve the right, before, during or after an event, they reserve the right to resettle the bet at whatever the correct price had been at the time.

  1. Other bookmakers have similar rules. There is a long-standing convention in betting that bookmakers can correct odds if the ones offered were obviously wrong and unintended.

  1. On most occasions obvious errors can be directly linked to some specific system failure. Either the prices of two teams are transposed, prices are incorrect as a result of a typing error, or a delay in receiving live match information means that prices are published which fail to take into account some event that had demonstrably already occurred.

  1. However, on this occasion the bookmaker has explained that the reason for offering 1.95 on Atletico Paranaense was that they were not aware that away goals would count double for the sake of progressing one of the teams to the later stages of the competition.

  1. The Panel note that the bookmaker's rule does not distinguish between the types of possible obvious errors or the reasons why errors have occurred. IBAS has typically held that errors should be corrected where they are the result of a technical malfunction or human inputting error, but not where they are the result of error of judgement. In this case, the Panel are satisfied that the method by which the tie would be settled would have been in the public domain and no more accessible to the customer than the bookmaker. The Panel recognise that with hindsight the prices offered for both teams were clearly wrong, but they do not feel that this type of situation is properly covered by the rule that was applied. Hindsight can be applied to any situation to show that a particular price was more generous than it should have been.

  1. The Panel therefore adjudicate that the proposed settlement rules on obvious errors cannot be used to resettle the customer’s disputed bet.

HOW ARE WE DOING?

Total Value of Payments Awarded or Conceded to Customers in 2016.
£548,056.25
Total Requests for Adjudication.
7,159

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