Betting for beginners

Bookmakers' rules

Have you ever placed a bet, watched it play out and then gone jubilantly to your account to tot up your winnings, only to realise that you have less than you thought or you've even lost your selection?

Everyone has been there as a new bettor, and it sucks. Well, this is just one annoying but need to know piece of information when using your bookmaker, but sometimes there are rules that affect the settlement of your bet. In addition to that, each bookmaker will have rules surrounding how you use their service, how you deposit/withdraw and even maximum and minimum stakes.

A few examples of bookmaker rules that may catch you out

  • Deposits/Withdrawals: Note that there can be minimums and maximums, and bear in mind it can cost the bookmakers money to withdraw. Whilst it isn't a rule as such, avoid doing it often and upsetting them.
  • Betting retirements: If a horse drops out pre-race or a tennis player retires, your winnings if your horse wins could be less (this is rule 4) and your tennis bet could be void depending on how far in the game was.
  • Sign-up promotions: They seem attractive, and they can be good fun, but reading the rules regarding your bonus highlights just how tricky it can be to get out. Also, you may miss the fact you have to bet through your own money first.

Some bookmaker rules to be aware of

To cover all of the terms and conditions of betting with each bookmaker would take some time, so luckily you can read the terms and conditions for each bookmaker on their website. Many people overlook this, but there are some key pieces of information such as deposits and withdrawals, bet settlement rules and also market explanations. They also help outline what you must go through if you wish to make use of any free bet bonuses and sign up promotions.

Deposits and withdrawals

Part of your bookmakers' terms and conditions will be the deposit and withdrawal options available to you and also your daily, weekly and monthly limits. You should never become too invested in one bookmaker without understanding these issues first, as it could lead to disappointment and time wasted further down the line when you are unable to deposit, withdraw or stake to your satisfaction.

Bet settlements

There are a number of outcomes that offer two different betting markets, and sometimes bettors can use the wrong one. There are also settlement rules that affect sports like tennis and horse racing that can see your winnings reduced or voided. Learning about these can prevent you being disappointed at a later date. Below is a quick snapshot of some of the most common issues people overlook.

  • Mid-game postponements: These generally result in a void at most bookmakers, however don't expect your funds back straight away. You'll have to wait 24 hours usually in case the event is replayed or concluded. Some bookmakers also count the score at the time if it was past a certain point, so you may even lose your stake.
  • Tennis retirements: Rules recently changed so that every game has to have played out at least one full set before anyone can be paid out. Other bookmakers just void bets unless the match is completed. Just beware that if your player pulls out in the second set of a game or later, you could lose your money regardless of the score at the time.
  • Rule 4 in horse racing: Places are offered for those that fail to win the race, meaning you can win on an each-way bet even if your horse doesn't come first. However, whilst the number of entrants dictates the place rules, some bookmakers are harsher than others and only offer four places as opposed to five. As a rare promotion, some offer six. If you win a horse racing bet and wonder why you've been paid out less than expected then it's possibly because of rule 4. Rule 4 is the method used to adjust your returns should a horse retire. It doesn't affect your returns if the horse was an unlikely winner, but you'd be quite harshly penalised if the ante-post favourtie dropped out. This is because you've gained an advantage and the race is easier to win, so the payout reflects that. All of this is covered in a bookmaker's horse racing rules but it is often overlooked.

Account usage

A lot of people bet socially and this may involve betting with friends. What many people will fail to realise without reading the T&C's is that bookmakers forbid joint accounts or joint access. If bookmakers realise that more than one person has access to any account, your account will be suspended and you won't be welcome to make a new one. Also, any pending bets will be played out and you'll only be refunded what funds remain.

There are lots of rules to know, understand and respect when using your bookmaker, but these were just a few that are likely to affect you most as a sports bettor. It's always advisable to be aware of your bookmakers rules when joining.

It's human nature to skip past the small print and slap your signature on something. But when it comes to your bookmaker it does pay to know the rules. You'll want to know what you can and can't do with your account and how deposit and withdrawal methods work. Understanding ongoing promotions and bonuses as well as sign up offers can also help you utilise them to their full potential.

Bet settlement rules such as in the case of postponed sports events, retirements in tennis and non-runners or fallers in horse racing all have their own explanation and it does vary from bookmaker to bookmaker. You'll avoid disappointment if you make yourself aware of these rules ahead of time.

Ready to learn more? Why not get to know the different betting terminology used by the sports betting community.

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