DISPUTES AND I.B.A.S. (Part 1) – Cyril’s betting advice (part 30)

Football Betting


The first thing that any punter MUST do, is make himself aware of the existing rules in whichever betting level/situation he intends to bet in.
Sounds simple enough but how many punters can truthfully say they’ve read the rules in the local betting shop? Very few, I’m certain.
The last firm I worked for, TAYLORS RACING SERVICES of Reading, had the smallest "rule book" I’ve ever seen. Even then there were a few instances when the punter disputed the pay-out. When referred to the rules, it was obvious he hadn’t bothered to read them. I’ll lay odds this is an everyday occurance all over the country.

Read the rules before you bet. If you do think you have a case, check the rules first.
Undoubtedly your bookmaker will have a procedure laid down to look at any complaint you may have. If, after going thru’ the "in-house" process you’re not happy with the outcome, you can take your case to an "ombudsman". In this country it’s known as the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (I.B.A.S.).The bookmaker who laid the bet must agree to you doing this. Any bookmaker who didn’t agree wouldn’t be in business for long. The outcome of the dispute is considered Binding on Both Parties.

In the "Good old Days", The Sporting Life, racing paper had the onerous task, via their Green Seal service, of settling betting disputes. When they merged with the Racing Post and ceased publication the need for an arbitor was taken over by the newly formed I.B.A.S. May 1998 saw the demise of Green Seal Service, being replaced by I.B.A.S. As with many undertakings it has risen from it’s initial "New Business" status to one now on a solid footing. Subsequently as it has grown, so has betting volume.(A lot to be said for the Exchanges).

Their workload has risen tremendously. In the first full year of operating they had 950 requests for adjudication. Of these 682 were referred to the adjudicating panel. (Not all requests are referred. For various reasons. Some are just frivolous complaints and others hadn’t bothered to go thru’ the bookmakers complaint procedure.)
The latest full year figures are for 2007, when 2607 requests were received and 1668 were referred. Close on two-thirds of all requests being referred. This average of referals seems to hold good each year.

The disputes when broken down, make interesting reading. Heading the list, unexpecteddly to me, is Football, followed by Horseracing. These two make up between them 63% of all disputes. Year on year these  two mediums make up a similar percentage of disputes.

The subject of disputes are once again fairly consistant. Late bets, prices laid in error and ambiguous instructions. Between them they make up exactly 50% of disputes for 2007. Percentages are fairly consistant over the years. Not surprisingly the larger part of disputes are with the six largest bookmakers. To be fair, they do handle the larger part of all bets placed. The one medium which does come out smelling of roses is the Exchanges. Just 2% of recorded disputes. Just 372 bets were queried in the year. Figures of amounts awarded to complainants are not up to date. The last available, 2005. showed a jump of some £77,000 on the previous year. I can’t even hazard a guess at what it might be now. The advent of computerised systems should be having a lasting effect on settling disputes. So, hopefully mistakes in this medium will actually fall.
The one thing that is apparent from the data I’ve read is, there are more disputes, simply because there are more bets being placed. When you consider that there are more than seven hundred licence holders who have registered with I.B.A.S. you begin to see that problems will happen, it’s inevitable.

Next time, I’ll look at the possible pitfalls that can cause a difference of opinion between the parties.