There can be fewer things more frustrating in betting than researching a value wager or two, getting your money on with a bookmaker and then watching on as the event is cancelled/abandoned/postponed for reasons beyond anybody’s control.
Typically, your stake will be refunded by the bookies, but there’s always that ‘what if’ feeling about the one that got away…
What is a Void Bet?
From time to time, circumstances unfold that mean a bookmaker can void your bet, with your stake money returned to your account. So you get your money back, but all the work you did to find the bet is wasted along with any hope of winning money.
Usually, the reasons for a bet being made void are plainly obvious, e.g. if a football match or horse racing meeting is postponed.
Other times, you may be left in the dark as to why your bet has been made void – but you may find some of the reasons for that listed in this article below.
Why are Bets Made Void?
There are a number of common instances where a bet will be made void:
- If the event is cancelled
- If the event is postponed
- If the event is abandoned
- When your selection is a non-runner
- Where a first goalscorer pick starts on the bench
- When a palpable error has occurred
- In any other scenario covered by the bookie’s T&Cs
It’s worth noting that the rules are slightly different for abandoned games/races etc. If an official announcement is made that the event will be replayed or continued within 72 hours of the original, bets already placed may stand.
Note too that some betting markets will not be voided even when an event is abandoned. For example, you may have bet on the half-time market in a football game. If the contest is called off in the second half – and the teams later come back to finish the match – then you original bet is likely to stand.
Given how frequent retirements in tennis games are, it’s possible that punters will face an injury-related void bet from time to time. Each bookmaker has different rules on this – some will pay out as a winner on the non-retired player, others will void your wagers when the match is not completed.
Can a Bookie Void a Bet Without a Reason?
Sometimes, your bet may be voided despite there being no obvious reason as to why.
This will often be due to the bookie making a palpable error – that is, they have set their odds so wrong that they are able to void wagers at the inflated prices. This can happen when their odds are inputted into a content management system incorrectly… e.g. 100/1 instead of 10/1.
A bookmaker can also void a bet when they believe the punter is guilty of ‘arbing’, that is, placing one side of a bet with them (i.e. Under 2.5 Goals) and placing the other side at another bookie (Over 2.5 Goals) where either outcome locks in a profit. Arb opportunities are typically quite rare involving the mainstream UK betting sites, but they do occasionally present themselves – the practice is very much frowned upon.
Occasionally, a bookmaker may find themselves ‘over exposed’. You see it at big money events like the Cheltenham Festival, where a flurry of bets are placed on a particular horse in the parade ring, for example. Faced with a large liability, sometimes bookies don’t have the time to lay off their potential losses, or they can’t find enough of a match on the Betfair Exchange or through an agent.
In this case, your bet should NOT be voided – this does not fall under the remit of acceptable rules for a void wager.
Suspicious Betting Patterns
Unfortunately, there are instances where you might innocently be caught up in the middle of a suspicious betting pattern.
You might have done your homework and picked out a value selection, but where the market moves in mysterious ways – huge bets come in on niche competitions, for example, or big money is placed on typically low-key markets – you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A bookmaker can void bets where they believe foul play is afoot or where inside information is suspected – as was the case when Paddy Power suspended their betting market for the Royal baby name in 2019.
Spot fixing is also becoming an increasing problem in lower league football, non-mainstream cricket matches and minor tour tennis events – your bets could be voided in these sports, through no fault of your own, where suspicious betting patterns emerge.
What Happens If One Leg of My Acca is Void?
It’s a bit more complicated when one or more legs of your acca are voided.
Generally speaking, the void selection is removed from your multiple calculation. So, a 120/1 five-fold would become a 40/1 four-fold if a 2/1 selection is voided, and so on. This rule applies if you have placed a cover bet as well – such as a Lucky 15 or Yankee.
Unfortunately, some offers and promotions are also struck off when a leg is made void. That includes Acca Insurance and Profit Boosts where you need to place accas of four legs or more – if one selection of a four-fold is void, you are now essentially betting on a treble… and don’t satisfy the criteria of the promotion.