Betting disputes

A betting dispute is any disagreement over a bet, how it was placed, its outcome or its financial settlement.

betting disputesIf you open betting accounts only with reputable bookmakers, it’s unlikely you’ll need to be involved in any betting disputes. However, it’s still possible that you’ll have a disagreement with a betting provider about the outcome of a bet or financial transaction.

When do betting disputes occur?

Possible grounds for betting disputes include:

  • a winning bet not being paid out at the specified odds
  • an advertised betting special not being applied to a qualifying bet
  • failure by a bookmaker to pay out bonus funds on free bets or betting specials
  • account-related issues, such as failing to pay out funds from an account timeously once a withdrawal request has been lodged
  • bets made or lost due to technical failure of a bookmaker’s website.

What to do before you dispute a bet

Betting disputes are more likely to arise from technical errors, user errors or misunderstandings than from any deliberately unfair actions on the part of a bookmaker. Also, if you do encounter a problem, the first step is to ensure that you’ve read all the terms and conditions that the provider originally issued in relation to your betting activity. For example, free bets and betting specials often have associated conditions and these might affect when the bonus funds are paid.

Failing to meet specified requirements could result in the bonuses being withheld. All reputable online bookmakers include the rules and laws governing bet-related financial transactions on their websites. It’s important to review this information carefully before you place bets. If you wish to dispute the result of a betting transaction, you should review this information again to get the facts and determine whether you have grounds for the dispute.

Disputing a bet

If you find that you have a legitimate reason to dispute a bet, or if the documentation offered on a bookmaker’s website doesn’t clarify the rules governing your complaint, the next step is to raise the issue directly with the bookmaker. Reputable bookmakers offer excellent customer service. Often you’ll be given the option of engaging in an instant live chat with a representative, via the bookmaker’s site. If no live chat option is available, you can call or e-mail the bookmaker.

What happens when you dispute a bet?

Once you have contacted a bookmaker to lodge a betting dispute, the bookmaker will provide you with a case or ticket number for tracking the dispute. Depending on the situation, the dispute may be resolved immediately, or it may be escalated and take several days or even weeks to resolve. Note that it’s vital to maintain records of all correspondence with a betting provider about a betting dispute. If the dispute isn’t satisfactorily resolved and you need to take it further, your records will serve as evidence of your interactions with the bookmaker.

How is a betting dispute resolved?

A betting dispute is resolved once both parties are satisfied with the outcome. To resolve a dispute, a bookmaker may pay out funds determined as owing to you or provide you with an acceptable reason for the actions you’ve contested.

What if a betting dispute remains unresolved?

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of a bookmaker’s dispute resolution process, it may be possible to escalate the matter by bringing it to the attention of the third-party gambling commission responsible for regulating the bookmaker. To do this, you’re obligated to start by asking that the bookmaker escalate the dispute to the governing gambling commission. If the bookmaker doesn’t do so, you may then contact the regulator independently and state your case.

UK third-party adjudicators

In the UK, the Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating the majority of betting, including online betting. However, the Gambling Commission doesn’t handle consumer complaints. To escalate a dispute with a bookmaker, you need to contact a third-party commission or adjudicator instead. In the UK, examples of third-party adjudicators are the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) and the Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration (IPCA), which you need to contact in writing to state your case – the address to use is IPCA, PO Box 5698, London, W1A 7AW.

Note that not all bookmakers fall under the jurisdiction of a regulatory body. If this is the case and you want to take a betting dispute further, you’ll be required to take legal action against the offending party at your own expense.

Avoiding betting disputes

The best approach to betting disputes is to avoid them altogether. Here are some simple steps you can take to do this:

Avoid blacklisted bookies

You’re at high risk of getting into betting disputes with blacklisted bookies. Also, because these bookies often aren’t under the jurisdiction of a third-party gambling commission, you’re highly unlikely to win disputes or recover any funds. Search our list of blacklisted bookmakers for more information about which bookmakers to avoid.

Check if a bookmaker is regulated

If a bookmaker is licensed and regulated, this will be displayed somewhere on the bookmaker’s site – typically at the bottom of the home page of the site, or on the About page. If you can’t find this information on the site, our list of regulated betting providers to confirm whether the bookmaker you’re interested in is licensed.

Read the small print

Whether you want to place a bet on a specific betting market or cash in on a special or bonus, read the small print. This will clarify the terms and conditions under which you will receive a payout.

Understand the rules

Being patient and learning the rules governing the bets you’re making can save you a lot of money and frustration. For example, novice football punters often bet on handicaps despite not understanding how handicap betting markets work, and so can easily end up frustrated. The key is to match your betting to your level of knowledge and experience. Also keep your cash bets modest if you’re not absolutely sure you understand the betting rules that apply.

Avoid technological glitches

Errors in bet processing may be caused by technological glitches. A stable internet connection is essential for online betting activities – potentially, the loss of a connection can result in the loss of a bet. Similarly, you should ensure that your computer is connected to a stable power source or that its battery is adequately charged before attempting to place bets.