While betting operators will inevitably compete to innovate and promote new betting markets and opportunities, it is important that the rules and terms used to define how the markets worked are carefully thought through and clearly explained.
Increasing numbers of IBAS betting disputes are caused by markets with unclear or complex settlement criteria.
For example, if a football transfer deadline day special offer is ‘Messi to Leave Barcelona, 10/1’, the website, screen or advert needs to clarify whether ‘leaving’ Barcelona requires a permanent transfer or whether a loan move is sufficient.
Betting on ‘first to leave the Big Brother house’ should stipulate whether the individual needs to be evicted by a telephone vote or whether a walk-out or producer-initiated departure will also count.
In some cases where the terms are not fully transparent but where one interpretation of the market is clearly the most logical, the IBAS Panel will use either common sense or general industry precedent to determine what the basis of settlement was intended to be.
However, where there is more than one reasonable and plausible interpretation of a term in any consumer contract, the 2015 Consumer Rights Act stipulates that the term which is most favourable to the consumer must apply. IBAS has implemented this term on many occasions and will continue to do so where a market is carelessly, unclearly described and open to legitimate conflicting interpretations.
IBAS also considers that where terms are set out by a bookmaker, they must be provided in an accessible medium to the customer. For example, if a market with more than one reasonable interpretation is listed on a bookmaker’s mobile app without an explanation of the key terms, a link should be provided from that page to allow the customer to click through to the full website where the relevant terms are displayed. While there will always be a reasonable emphasis on customers to research the nature of what they are betting on, there is a limit to how many hoops they can be expected to jump through.