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Betting Issue – Help/Opinions gratefully appreciated!

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Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 45 total)
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  • #12749
    • Total Posts 602

    I’ve recently found myself embroiled in a betting argument with a bookmakers, and as someone who doesn’t really bet that much, I’m hoping that the more knowledgable of you in this field might be able to help. Here (and apologies, it’s a bit long!) is an e-mail I sent to the bookmakers in question (I’ve left the name of the bookmakers out from the original e-mail):

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Yesterday, on Sunday 16th August, I made my way as usual to a bookmakers in my home town. Although most people would probably enter a bookmakers shop to watch all races, I am a particular fan of horse racing in Germany, and I was delighted to see that the Group 1 Rheinland Pokal was being shown live from Cologne. Even more of a thrill for me was that I was going to see Wiener Walzer, who I saw win the German Derby when I visited Hamburg last month. Therefore, I decided to have a bet on the horse, and thought it best to shop around for the best prices. After a few minutes shopping around, at about 2:30 pm, I entered your shop in my home town and asked the assistant behind the counter if they had prices on the Rheinland Pokal. They did, and he showed me the prices on a screen. Wiener Walzer was 33-1, which I thought was an excellent price. However, I also noticed that you were offering just 15/8 on Eastern Anthem
    (available elsewhere at around 7-1) and, if I remember correctly, Poseidon Adventure at just 7-1 (available elsewhere at around 14-1). Therefore, I felt that Wiener Walzer was the only horse worth backing with yourselves, so I had £20 each way at 33-1. A few minutes later, I heard that the ground in Cologne was becoming good to firm, and coupled with the fact that Wiener Walzer is a fast ground horse, added to the fact that he is one of my favourite racehorses (I actually have several photos of him which I took at the German Derby), I decided to have another £5 each way. By this time, I was in a different part of town, so I put my £5 each way bet on at a different branch of your company. Once again, I asked for prices, once again the assistant got the prices on the screen, and once again Wiener Walzer was 33-1. The £5 each way bet took my total bet to £25 each way, which for a ‘pound each way’ person like me was a bit excessive (it was actually my biggest bet ever), but this is one of my favourite racehorses, being offered at what I considered a value price.

    The race itself was a fantastic advert for German horse racing as Wiener Walzer and Getaway battled it out down the home straight. I was willing Wiener Walzer on, and after a delay due to photo finish, Wiener Walzer was declared the winner. I watched the race in a branch of another bookmakers where some of my friends who had also backed Wiener Walzer with yourselves at 33-1 were assembled, and after a few minutes, we headed for your branch to collect our winnings. I let my friends collect their winnings first, and then it was time for me to be paid out. Someone who I believe is a Trainee Manager at your shop, then said that he could not pay me in cash as he didn’t have that money on the premises. He offered me the choice of a cheque, or I return the following day, where he said he hoped to have enough cash to pay me out. I said that as not to cause any problems, I could return the following day during my lunchbreak.

    Today, Monday, 17th August, I called in to my usual bookmakers on my lunchbreak from work on the way to your shop. I was then informed by the manager of my usual bookmakers (who himself had backed Wiener Walzer with yourselves and was paid out accordingly at 33-1) that your Trainee Manager had been to visit him earlier that day, and had told him that for some unexplainable reason that you were no longer unable to honour my bet. Although the price of 33-1 had been available for the whole day, bets were for some reason now being settled at an SP of 5-2. Not surprisingly, I declined this for the simple reason that my friends had been paid out at 33-1, however for some reason, your company broke their promise of paying me, and all of a sudden, I find myself over £1000 out of pocket.

    To summarise, I feel I’ve been make a victim, and actually feel as if I’ve been discriminated against. I cannot understand how winning customers can be paid out at 33-1, yet customers like myself with identical bets are either offered a price of 5-2 or being refused altogether, and I simply cannot understand how a major corporate company like yourselves could operate in this way. Whilst my friends celebrate with their money having been paid out at 33-1, I am left without anything. As I had already been promised the money by your branch, you can imagine how distraught I feel. £1000 is actually quite a lot of money to me, and I was to use it to achieve two dreams, One was to visit Wiener Walzer at the Schlenderhan Stud in Cologne, as I had very kindly been invited over to see him next month. The second dream was to visit the Velka Pardubicka in the Czech Republic, one of the great horseraces in the world. Only last night, I was checking flights and hotels. Now, I’m checking nothing.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail, and I sincerely hope that integrity and common sense prevails in this situation, and that everything is sorted without me having to escalate the matter further.

    I look forward to hearing from you within the next 48 hours, and enclose pictures of the betting slips that may help in your investigation.

    Yours sincerely


    I did get a reply from the bookmakers in question, and they referred me to IBAS, an arbitration service for this kind of incident. IBAS got back to me on Thursday, and told me my claim had been turned down as there was an error on the screens and 33-1 wasn’t actually a correct price, even though I got this price at two different branches. Also, they said that my freinds who got paid out are now obliged to return their money.

    I don’t really know where to go with this. I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong, but now I feel like a criminal! Because my knowledge of how the betting world works is limited/non-existant, I was hoping maybe some TRFers with a bit more betting expertise could maybe offer their opinions on this. Have I been hard done by? Did I do something wrong? Will I ever get my money?

    Darren – AngloGerman

    New Website – Anglo German Racing

    • Total Posts 8992

    If the screen price was wrong (and it seems that it probably was) then your bookmaker will invoke the ‘palpable error’ ruling which covers them in cases where they make an obvious mistake.

    It does seem unfair – there is no palpable error ruling in your favour if you, for example, back the wrong horse number or something like that. However you can’t really expect the bookmakers to pay out in cases where technologocal glitches, etc, mean the prices offered are clearly offered in error.

    I’m afraid Darren, painful as it is, you’ll probably have to put it down to experience. As for your pals, it’s up to them whether they come clean or not. I know what I’d do. :wink: The least they could do is buy you a drink or two.

    • Total Posts 2391

    I’ve just checked the SP on the RP and Betfair websites and both have it at 9/5 which does suggest the 33’s was an error and as such the bookmaker will be covered by their rules and was correct to offer you the revised terms – a conclusion IBAS also reached.

    Clearly, you yourself are not at fault having placed the bet in good faith and furthermore are unfortunate not to have been paid out like your friends, however, I don’t believe there is anymore to be done other than take the SP offered.

    • Total Posts 2165


    First, check and copy down what appears in the bookie’s rules about (a) error / palpable error / inadvertent error / mistake / similar wording, and (b) what it says about disputes and how contractually bound in you are to an IBAS decision.

    With bets now enforceable at law, the position is not what it once was, the position of IBAS is not necessarily what it once was, and the contract terms are far more important.

    Take a look at this recent-ish news item:

    Having done all that, if you want to take it further, your next step is

    a) to send them a seven-day letter demanding payment and saying that if it is not received then you will issue legal proceedings (this protects you on recovery of costs – in fact allow 7 + 5 days for actually issuing the Court action)

    then assuming no joy at the end of that period

    b) to go here and file an onlne County Court claim against the bookie for what you say he owes you:

    All online claims are issued out of Northampton County Court, hence the reference to it in the above news item.

    For the sum you’re claiming (plus interest and costs), the case will be put on fast-track and informal determination with limited downside to you if you lose.

    However I would bet there is a good chance that – like the guy in the news item – you may also get an offer to settle out-of-court after your proceedings have been served.

    An adverse Court decision made public is something that many off-course bookies would not want to see, preferring life to go on as it was before wagers became actionable in the Courts and for folk to continue to assume that IBAS is the be-all and end-all..

    So if you show you’re serious about holding them to a contract freely entered into by them – and insist that having induced you to bet through their negligent misrepresentation, they can’t get out of it and make you pay for their mistake – you may find a fear (even if not by the individual bookie, then likely by the trade organisation behind him) of having the position actually tested out in Court.

    best regards


    • Total Posts 17716

    This is merely another example of bookmakers stacking everything in their favour. If you’ve asked staff for a price, in two different shops, and they still can’t get it right then that’s their problem as far as I’m concerned. They had the option at the point the bet was struck – just as staff in a shop don’t have to sell an item to a customer, even at the advertised price – to refuse your business. However, despite knowing the terms of the bet, they have accepted an offer made in good faith.

    They should, in my opinion, pay out and I would suggest that a trip to the Small Claims Court wouldn’t do you any harm.

    To incorrectly display a price of 33/1, one would assume that the actual price was 3/1. How likely is it that a horse running in Germany on a Sunday, with a limited viewing and betting audience, would be backed in to 9/5? Why was the error not picked up before the race given that, to end up at that price, it must have been shortened at some stage?

    The company involved don’t begin with ‘B’ and rhyme with ‘bald, cheating b*stard’ do they, as it’s fairly clear somebody’s pulling a fast one?

    Pegwell Bay
    • Total Posts 208

    If I walked past my local Porsche dealership and saw a beautiful brand new 911 Cabriolet for sale at 100 quid (because the sales assistant had forgot to put the last 3 zeros on the price tag), I wouldn’t expect to be entiled to buy the car for 100 quid, just because somebody made a cock-up.

    Same principal applies here.

    You clearly know your onions regarding German racing Anglo, and know that Weiner Walzer was never a 33/1 chance, more like a 3/1 chance. It was a palpable error, and you and your mates quite rightly tried to pull a fast one on whatever firm it was you placed the bet with.

    Your mates were lucky to get away with it. If they have anything about them, they’ll slip you a few quid as you were not as fotunate as them.

    • Total Posts 2165

    If I walked past my local Porsche dealership and saw a beautiful brand new 911 Cabriolet for sale at 100 quid (because the sales assistant had forgot to put the last 3 zeros on the price tag), I wouldn’t expect to be entiled to buy the car for 100 quid, just because somebody made a cock-up.

    that’s not the parallel to what Darren describes.

    his situation is more the equivalent of:

    – you see the price on the car

    – you go in and offer the dealer 100 quid for the car, as invited by his sign

    – the dealer doesn’t laugh it off, but accepts the money, drafts up and signs a contract of sale and goes through his normal sales procedure, and issues to you a formal sales receipt for 100 quid.

    now what do you think?

    under English law, consideration has to be "sufficient" (ie of some value however minimal – a single peppercorn will do) to found a valid contract: it does not have to be "adequate" (ie near-market-value of what is sold).

    on top of that, what if the dealer has a history of promoting business by offering the odd car at an incredible price? If Darren’s bookie has a history of offering enhanced odds and/or free 20 quid or 50 quid bets, that detracts even more from the position of generous odds to small stakes being anything unusual.

    IBAS works in a limited universe of interpreting bookie rules. It may or may not have interpreted them correctly here. (Darren suggests the bookie may have been making its own shows, different from those in other shops, and that angle is worth exploring).

    Right or wrong as IBAS may be though in its assessment of whether the bookie here factually made a mistake, what IBAS is irrelevant to is whether the law of contract – as applied by the Courts in the wider world away from the cloistered yesteryear of the bookmaking environment – will recognise the concept of "palpable error" as allowing the bookie to escape the consequences of the mistake..

    IBAS istelf admits its decisions are not legally enforceable. Its procedures would not stand up as any kind of way to settle legal issues. It is still working within a relatively small universe that has ceased to be anything like the whole story now for punter and bookie.

    Thing is, you won’t find the term or the concept "palpable error" in the legal texts that operate in the general contract world which the punter-bookie relationship has finally joined.

    Bookies like to call it inadvertent error to spin things in their favour, but it can just as accurately be called negligent misstatement / misrepresentation.

    Is it the label that makes the difference to how you feel about who bears the burden of the mistake ?

    Folk very much need to get out the defeatist mindset of yesteryear on this aspect. There’s been a seismic shift in making wagering contracts legally enforceable, and for the first time exposing them to being looked at with the same eyes as contracts that have always been legally enforceable.

    best regards


    • Total Posts 17716

    Do Porsche dealers have palpable error rules?
    I’d suspect not, and once a sale had been agreed and cash handed over, they’d probably respect their contract and not make up their own law, as the bookies have in the past in these cases.
    Wouldn’t be so bad if, were the shoe on the other foot, you could expect the bookie to say "I’m sorry sir, we inadvertently gave you 3/1. Kindly accept another thousand pounds, as it should heve been 33’s".
    Dream on. :lol:

    • Total Posts 1800

    Unfortunately the bookies rules probably cover mistakes on your part and their part in their favour either way – I can only see one mistake you made and that was not taking the cheque as anyone with the slightest knowledge of racing and betting would have known it was a proper cock up and therefore effectively daylight robbery – if you owned a business and one of your sales assistants deliberately or incompetently priced something up wrong you wouldn’t want to honour it, would you?

    I’d put that down as an opportunity missed which your friends luckily took and I wouldn’t throw any money after a small chance of getting more out of them as the costs of that could knock your 9/4 down to evens or worse – put it down to experience and next time you see it you’ll know to take advantage of it better perhaps.

    • Total Posts 2391

    Wit, the following are ‘Shop’ rules from Corals (available on their Website)

    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:

    1. We reserve the right to correct any obvious error made on a bet placed in one of our “betting in running” markets and settle at the correct price or terms which were actually available with Coral (absent the obvious error) at the time the bet was struck;
    2. When a bet is placed on a market offered before an event has started and more advantageous odds than those actually available with Coral are applied, we will either settle the bet at the correct price or terms available with Coral or, on condition that you can provide us with verification, at the best price or on the best terms available with any of the following companies at the time the bet was struck: – Bet 365, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Stan James, Totesport, William Hill.
    3. Where the incorrect odds or terms are less advantageous than those available with Coral the odds or terms will be amended to the correct odds or terms available.

    For example:

    Where Coral’s actual price for Ronaldo to score the first goal is 6/1 but you are quoted 66/1 in error then you will be able to determine whether your bet should be settled at 6/1 or the best price available with the companies listed above even if this price is higher than the actual Coral price.

    Where, however, you have been quoted 6/4 on the same bet the price will be amended upwards to 6/1.

    Using these as an example is the ‘contract’ subject to these rules or are they not worth the paper they are written on if we assume an genuine error has occurded in this case.

    • Total Posts 17716

    How do Coral define ‘obvious’? Do they expect their customers to be capable of forming accurate markets for every event in every sport?

    A price on any item, Pegwell Bay, whether it be a Porsche or a toilet brush, is merely an invitiation to treat; it is not the basis for a binding contract. The shop don’t have to sell the item at that price and the customer is not obliged to pay that price. However, once the customer says ‘I’ll give you £99 for this Porsche’ and the dealer says ‘OK chap, I accept your offer’, then we enter the wonerful world of contract law.

    Bookmakers overlook this simple premise for their own convenience and, as people have said, rarely (if ever) bring to light mistakes which benefit the customer. I would suggest that, of betting shop staff and gamblers, the former should have a better idea of how particular markets are priced up. What’s that I hear you cry? Shop staff are merely faces, only there to take bets as a representative of their employer and no working knowledge is required? That being the case then no working knowledge can be assumed nor expected of the customer and as representatives of their employer they have the option to accept and refuse bets.

    The Porsche dealer’s decision to sell at £99 may be questioned by the top brass at Porsche HQ, but they can’t refuse the sale by claiming that the dealer is incredibly busy and knows **** all about cars.

    • Total Posts 2165


    Using these as an example is the ‘contract’ subject to these rules or are they not worth the paper they are written on if we assume an genuine error has occurded in this case.

    "not worth the paper they are written on" is a strong term.

    certainly they have a worth to Coral in trying to establish for itself in advance a negotiating position against the possibility it ends up contracting to do something it subsequently decides it didn’t want to do.

    but are they the last word on Coral’s liability, so that a punter should look upon them and despair and meekly accept ? absolutely not – miles away from the truth.

    first question with Darren’s situation is – was it in fact an error ?

    As Corals say, odds move rapidly and it is far from unknown for horses to go from an early 33/1 to 3/1.

    Also, bookie was quite happy to pay out others at 33/1 and to promise Darren to pay out after the result was known.

    So what’s his basis to later change his mind on Darren ?

    second question with Darren’s situation – if it was an error, was it – in terms of the legal formulation – a unilateral mistake as to quality within the following rule:


    A fundamental mistake on the part of one party only, not actively caused or contributed to by any other party or his agent, as to the quality of the subject matter of the agreement does NOT invalidate the agreement, or otherwise give ground for relief in equity, even where the other party knows of the mistake, unless in the circumstances he has misled the mistaken party, or his knowledge and failure to disabuse him amounts to equitable fraud, or there is a duty to speak breach of which may found an estoppel.


    if Darren’s bookie has rules similar to those you quote, they wouldn’t in the least deter me from taking it to Court.

    In fact I would be encouraged that is the best their legal bods could come up with.

    with those kind of words, if I was in Darren’s situation i would fancy myself as having a considerably better than evens chance of prevailing.

    i would also seek to get the RP involved if it got to an actual hearing – he could go down in a little piece of history as the man who sank the palpable error rule.

    with all the technology these days, are bookies really saying they can’t block their tills accepting prices that they’re not offering ?

    and if they are offering prices, they are inducing folk to bet on a basis that legally they have to honour except in very, very exceptional cases – and from Darren’s account his case wouldn’t be seen as exceptional.

    best regards


    The Ante-Post King
    • Total Posts 8695

    The company involved don’t begin with ‘B’ and rhyme with ‘bald, cheating b*stard’ do they, as it’s fairly clear somebody’s pulling a fast one?

    A fiver says it begins with an "L" Equi?
    Darren,you know the score,you have tried to be clever and its backfired!
    Had Mastercraftsman been priced up at 33/1,on the morning of the Irish 2000 gns,i would have tried the same ploy,but i would know for sure i wouldn"t be getting paid out at the price! Mind you 3/1 was xmas that day!

    • Total Posts 1988

    I feel for you brother. I have lots of pictures of my favourite horses hanging in my house (mediocrities that overturned odds-on favs) that me and my mates went all over town backing in multiple shops.

    Unfortunately you made the novice’s mistake of going to IBAS.

    No punter should ever, under any circumstances, use them.

    Here are my dispute resolution methods, in order of preference:

    1) The media – RP news desk, ATR, etc. Graham ‘Heineken’ Green deserves special mention here for getting to the shysters other journos cannot reach. He got one of my putters on five large from the in hiding Thomas Tool of Premierbet.

    2) The internet – well read forums can cause a rethink. Places like Punters Lounge, Betfair and here.

    3) If they have a credible local licensing body take your case up with them. Even our crummy GC are useful in certain cases involving small amounts or where they’re giving you the runaround – the bookies don’t fear them finding in your favour but they fear the amount of pointless paperwork they’ll send their way.

    4) Serve court papers – they will almost invariably back down as they don’t want to establish any nasty case law. The only firm I’ve heard of that didn’t back down was BF in a next manager market.

    In your case, which most in the media on on this forum would consider weak, I would go straight to #4.

    • Total Posts 2789

    One question Anglo – and answer it with the honesty you clearly possess.

    The horse is top-class, you know the form intimately…at the time of placing the bet, did you honestly think that 33-1


    a palpable error?


    Chris B
    • Total Posts 145

    One question Anglo – and answer it with the honesty you clearly possess.

    The horse is top-class, you know the form intimately…at the time of placing the bet, did you honestly think that 33-1


    a palpable error?


    It shouldn’t matter, it’s their mistake and they should honour it. They should hold their hands up and say ‘we ****** up, and as a goodwill gesture we will honour the bet and ensure this doesn’t happen again’.

    If a punter writes the wrong info on a betting slip I bet the bookmaker won’t allow him the mistake and refund his money.

    As for asking your friends to return the money, I’d tell the bookmaker to go **** himself after hearing what has happened to you.

    I had a similar situation where I was scribbling a bet down and managed to put it on even though the horses had just started running.

    When the race ended and my horse had won they said it was void as the prices shouldn’t have still been up and it should have said ‘race off’.

    I explained they had only run about 10 metres (and it wasn’t a 5f race), and asked them to honour the bet, but they only paid a fraction of it out.

    In my opinion it is the bookmaker’s fault (if the screen is operated from the national office), or the staff in the shop if they operate it, and it is just tough luck for them and they shouldn’t be making mistakes like that, and if they do they should hold their hands up and pay out, because it doesn’t happen often.

    • Total Posts 1537

    As the do gooding, bookie fanboys on many forums like to turn the table on punters, let’s turn the tables on the bookmaker. If Darren had taken 10/11 when it should’ve been 5/2, would the bookies admit their mistake ? Nah…they would just give you some shyte about you taking the price.

    I think as a gesture they could at least give you 25% of the price you took. Surely the fact they paid others out at the price gives you a bit to work with ?

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