The majority of bets you place online will be fair, following standard processes. Every now and then however, which is simply the nature of sport as opposed to mechanical games, unforeseen events can mean a bet being voided by a bookmaker.
Void bets crop up for a number of reasons. The basic description of a void bet is a confirmed bet that has been struck between a punter and a bookmaker that is subsequently cancelled.
A void bet is essentially null and, well, void. No profit can be gained, nor can the bookmaker keep your stake as everything is returned as though the better was never struck at all.
Why Are Bets Voided?
Bets can be made void for a multitude of reasons. There are even more wacky reasons why bets are made void and they change from sport to sport, but this list will give you a better idea of why it happens:
- Non-Runner – although the term non-runner is synonymous with horse racing, it is also in effect the classic ‘void’ bet. If you back a horse when it is declared to run then the horse is pulled out without facing the starter, you receive your money back.
- Not Playing – similar to the above; in sports such as football in which there are goal scorer markets, your bet can be void if the player in question is subsequently not named in the team.
- Postponements – naturally due to weather and other outside influences, races, matches and tournaments can be postponed or cancelled. Some bookmakers, when for example a football match has been postponed, may keep your bet live until they know whether or not the game is to be rescheduled. The advice when this happens is to ask for your bet to be voided, as when the game is eventually played the circumstances and the teams may be slightly different which could alter your thinking.
- Abandonment’s – matches and sometimes tournaments, such as four-day golf championships, may have begun but are eventually abandoned due to weather or other such reasons. Unless you have decided to take a cash out offer, your bet may become void as the event cannot be finished and no official result will be known.
- Errors – bookmakers may void a bet if it has been struck, or paid out, in error. For example, money may be paid out on a bet involving a goal for a team which, after a VAR check, is then ruled out. The bookmaker has the right to void such bets.
- Bookmaker Rules – bookmakers may well void bets if even a planned event you have bet on goes ahead, but has changed in some way. For example, a cricket match be go ahead with reduced overs, or a horse race may be moved to a different track after a cancellation. Bets are then void, and punters will have to assess the situation before deciding whether or not to bet again.
Examples of Void Bets
In terms of an event going ahead under different circumstances, a good example would be that of horse racing’s Vertem Futurity Trophy in 2019.
The original race was planned for Doncaster on turf, but the ground was waterlogged. As this was a Group 1 race, organisers decided it was best for the programme if it still went ahead, and so it was moved one week to Newcastle on their synthetic Tapeta surface.
As the race now had a very different complexion, bookmakers took a different view of the runners, more entries were allowed and punters may also have changed their minds about their initial selections. So, original bets were voided and a new market was formed.
Some sports are more complicated than others. While that example was a simple one to give regarding horse racing, another more complex one was the very nearly voided race at Cheltenham in November 2021.
Only two runners, Gin On Lime and My Drogo, were entered for the third race. As the pair approached the second to last fence, they both appeared to fall. This would have meant no result and a void race.
However, it became apparent that Gin On Lime’s jockey had miraculously kept her feet in the irons, hadn’t made contact with the turf and stayed on board the horse. This meant she was able to allow the horse to stand up, complete the race and claim the win as the only finisher.
Void Bets in Accumulators
With a single bet, it’s obvious that a void bet simply means you get your stake money back. Accumulators are just a little bit trickier however, as one void selection should not stop you claiming a win if other legs of your multiple bet were successful.
In normal circumstances, the void leg of the bet is simply scratched. So, a five-fold acca simply becomes a four-fold, a treble becomes a double and a double becomes a single, etc.
|Original Bet||One Void Leg||Two Void Legs|
|Lucky 63||Lucky 31||Lucky 15|
One complication with accumulators is when an offer, such as a price boost, has been accepted. For example, your bookmaker may offer a 10% extra bonus on a winning acca if it features five selections or more.
When one selection is made void, your other four may still win by you cannot claim the extra 10%, so the bet will be settled as a four-timer with no bonus added.
If you’re betting on specials and one selection if void, the bet can stand as an alternative special featuring the correct number of selections. So, a Lucky 31 would become a Lucky 15 and so on.
Voided Free and Qualifying Bets
Bookmakers, in general at least, will not necessarily reinstate any free bets you’ve been given if that bet has since been voided. In most cases, you simply lose that free bet as it is classed as a privilege rather than a right.
Similarly, you are often asked to place a ‘qualifying’ bet in order to unlock a bonus, and when that qualifying bet is subsequently voided, it simply cannot count towards your bonus.
That being said, bookmakers can use goodwill gestures and can often be persuaded, either personally in communication with punters or by the industry as a whole when competitors are showing up better, to give you another chance after the void bet to still get your bonus.
So if your free bet or qualifying bet is made void, jump on to live chat or send a quick email to see if their customer service reps can sort you out.