June 20, 2019 at 08:59 #1446089
In the first two days of Royal Ascot, two high-profile front-of-market horses (Accidental Agent and Ickworth) refused to come out of the stalls.
How should bookmakers deal with these situations? Or rather, what is the ‘fair’ response? There are quite a few schools of thought and so many questions to answer on both sides.
Are ‘racing incidents’ like this just ‘one of those things’ that can happen in a sport involving animals and should punters accept these risks as part of the price they take?
Should anything unforeseen or unfortunate ALWAYS result in a refund: tack problems, refused to race, broke down when going well etc?
If bookmakers should refund stakes in these situations, how far should they go? Refunds as cash or a free bet? Singles only or multiple selections as well? Is this an irresponsible way to shield people from the inherent risks of betting on sport or just a very cheap way to generate goodwill and positive PR?
Should refunds be decided on a case-by-case basis? Accidental Agent and Ickworth for example had previously unblemished records and hadn’t looked likely to plant themselves. However a blanket ‘justice refund’ offer would be open to abuse from punters looking for a freeroll on a known planter. If backing Accidental Agent next time with a firm known to consistently refund stakes you’d be benefiting from extra protection on your bet despite his chance of sleeping in the stalls being factored into his odds.
Or perhaps the industry could deal with these situations by counting horses like Accidental Agent as a non-runner and applying a Rule 4 to all bets. AA backers aggrieved at failing to get a run for their money would be happy with a refund. Backers of the race winner perhaps wouldn’t be so happy at a deduction but arguably shouldn’t complain given that a rival taking a fair % out of the book effectively did not have a chance in the race.
What is the answer?June 20, 2019 at 09:41 #1446093
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I haven’t paid much attention in the past- what happens normally re stakes in low grade weekday races where nobody is watching? Is it the same for market leaders and longshots?
In big races that are on terrestrial telly, if a complete rag plants do punters get goodwill refunds?
I can’t remember what happened with bets in the case of Labaik at Punchestown in the novice hurdle- super talented but a known planter; planted; jockey persisted as horse was risking a race ban for too many RRs- eventually got kicked into a trot to technically compete in the race, thus avoiding a ban, finished distant last. Officially bets stand but did the bookies give goodwill refunds then? Big race and well fancied- but a known RR horse and that had been factored into his price at Cheltenham.June 20, 2019 at 09:44 #1446094
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Nah, should be no refunds, part of flat racing is handling the stalls, if they dont handle them then tough luck as unfortunate as it is, same applies to deaths
If someone wants to do a justice refund then fine, but definitely shouldnt be mandatory
Will just result in shorter prices, same as BOGJune 20, 2019 at 09:45 #1446095
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I agree with ham- one rule for all.June 20, 2019 at 10:21 #1446104
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You can’t expect a refund after an injury or a refusal (I mean during the race) occurs.
BUT, you could handle this like many bookmakers handle the goalscorer odds:
“must start the game, otherwise bets will be void”.
If a certain player isn’t in the starting line-up, the bets are generally voided, if a horse fails to start (NH Racing) or leave the stalls (Flat), you could handle it the same way. But like in other sports injuries and even death are part of the game, in those cases there can be no refund at all.June 20, 2019 at 10:33 #1446106
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There is no justice in having justice refunds. Temperament is all part of racing. Rules of racing say a horse must have a chance of winning for a bet to be valid… and at the point gates open any runner can win. If the horse doesn’t come out it’s tough; but where do you draw the line? How long does the horse need to stay in the stall? 3 seconds? 5, 30? I lost money on the Haggas horse the other day who reared in the stalls and hit his head? Came out but no chance after that and wisely all but pulled up. imo I don’t deserve anything back – “that’s racing”. What about Kemboy in the Gold Cup? Baulked and fell at the first. What about one that plays up at the start and misses the break by 10 lengths? If that is a non-runner what about one that misses the break by 7 lengths? 5 lengths, 3 etc and how do you judge that distance? Where should the line be drawn? What if a horse who loses 10 lengths at the start and then goes on to win? Is he the winner or an official non-runner? Too Darn Hot in the 2000 Guineas and hundreds of other ante-post bets every year are unable to run due to injury. Ante-post odds take the chance of injury in to account, but bookies are still making money from injuries… And so too are punters – getting bigger prices on their horse because another does not run. How is that more ethical?
Can see first time punters believing they “didn’t get a run for their money” without justice refunds. Personally, I’d be bloody annoyed if bookmakers take out a Rule 4. However, although I understand the “to be fair” arguement, LS – that money back without a R4 certainly is technically unfair on bookmakers. But bookmakers are always offering special offers to entice punters in and/or to keep their clients happy. Keeping punters coming back is all part of the business and this doesn’t happen that often.
It’s a public relations thing. Let every bookmaker choose if a horse deserves a refund (without R4’s). Am sure goodwill Justice Refunds reward the bookmaker in the long run – as long as punters don’t come to expect refunds.value is everythingJune 20, 2019 at 10:58 #1446112
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Agree with this, with the priviso that, if it’s due to any sort of stalls malfunction, there should be automatic refundsJune 20, 2019 at 11:12 #1446118
SkyBet have led the way with the ‘justice refund’ in recent years – so much so that people are coming to expect refunds in more and more circumstances, not just at the big meetings either.’Expect’ really is the word too! Bookmakers who don’t offer the concession are slated as scum, thieves and all the rest by disgruntled punters on Twitter. We didn’t refund on Dominus the other week when he bobbled out of the stalls and lost his jockey and the subsequent social media rage was rather unpleasant.
Personally I think that the answer might be to look at it on a case by case basis. If the horse has any previous for pre-race antics then I’d say the customer should factor the chance of planting into their bet. If a horse plants out of the blue as Accidental Agent and Ickworth did, then perhaps a goodwill gesture is in order. The last thing you want to do is upset your ‘core’ race-to-race customer base.June 20, 2019 at 11:51 #1446128
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I think that’s a good compromise, LS.value is everythingJune 20, 2019 at 12:34 #1446137
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Why not play the “Justice Refund” in lots of high profile events (football and sports included) and be the punters best friend. Be the goto bookmaker when people think of placing a bet. Paddy Power has a similar reputation for this. There is surely an excellent business case doing so. Bookmakers natural reaction is to cream off as much profit they can eek out of their loyal “core” customers but to give a little bit back occasionally can totally enhance their reputation and drive the business forward.June 20, 2019 at 12:43 #1446140
There’s definitely a lot of sense in that, Mtoto.
As a scoreboard decision:
There must be a fair % chance that a casual punter who didn’t get a ‘justice refund’ from their regular firm when other bookies coughed up will then decide to bet elsewhere. It’s probably a false economy for the bookie to save the sum of one bet on that occasion if they stand to win steadily from the customer long-term.June 20, 2019 at 13:04 #1446147
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The last thing you want to do is upset your ‘core’ race-to-race customer base.
I backed Ickworth with Ladbrokes and got refunded. Never realized until i checked my e-mails last night and was really surprised. Certainly would give them priority over other firms in the future if it was a choice between two or three firms.June 20, 2019 at 13:19 #1446151
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Always happy to take a refund if offered but never expect one. I believe it should be up to the individual bookmaker to make the call. Let’s face it in most circumstances they do not have to pay up and only do so to drum up business / Keep loyal customers (losers ).
If it kicks off on social media just do as normal and ignore. No point in getting upset over a bad loser’s gripe.June 24, 2019 at 15:19 #1446905
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Personally I know the risks when I make the bet, so I’m not expecting at all a refund, but it is clever business to make these justice refunds in order to have the customer happy.
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