This is a funny one, because every bookie has their own rules so there is no one true answer to suit every situation.
That’s another point, the situation will have a huge impact on whether you can or can’t cancel a bet once you have confirmed it.
The general rule is that, no, once you have entered a bet, placed and confirmed it, you cannot cancel it, but it’s not always quite so done and dusted as that.
Let’s quickly have a think about when this situation might occur.
All bookies cover canceling or voiding bets in their terms and conditions, and they all use words like “Unfortunately” and “Sadly” before going on to basically say, tough luck.
To be fair to them, if they didn’t take a strong stance here they would be inundated with people trying to cancel bets, and the punter needs to take responsibility for what they do. One bookie we saw even claimed they were not allowed to cancel bets by law – which is absolutely untrue but shows you how disinterested they are in discussing it.
So, why might you want to cancel a bet in the first place?
Accident – You were half asleep and bet on Man City instead of Man Utd; you went to click Cancel but your finger spasmed and you clicked Confirm by mistake; you were going too fast and bet £100 instead of £10. Whatever the situation the fault still lies with you, but you do have a very slim chance of the bet being voided.
Bad Judgement – You convinced yourself that Burnley were going to do a Leicester and win the Premier League, but you’ve since had a coffee and realised that is mental. Yeah – that’s totally your fault, you’re not getting your money back.
Technical Error – Something went wrong with the website, whatever that may be. I’ve never known this to happen, but if it did, you would definitely have grounds to cancel the bet.
Ignorance – You didn’t read or understand the terms and conditions of the bet before you took it, and it isn’t quite what you first thought it to be. This is another situation where you only have yourself to blame. You could claim that the terms were impossible to understand, but bookies are very careful when it comes to wording them, so you would have a fight on your hands.
The absolute best thing you can do if you find yourself in one of these situations is to contact the bookie. Immediately.
Don’t do it in ten minutes, do it now, and do it via the fastest method possible, the phone if that is an available option.
The closer it is to the time that you placed your bet the stronger your case will be. Hopefully the situation won’t have changed so it won’t appear as if you are trying to back out after finding out some new information. It will be apparent that you saw your error and immediately went about trying to rectify it.
Bet cancellation is down to the bookmaker’s discretion, so it really is a situation where stating your case rationally and with intelligence will help, and then fighting your corner if you feel you have been mis-sold or mis-led.
Things to have ready:
- Account number and username
- Bet ID
- Issue with the bet
- Screenshot if possible and/or appropriate
- A cool head – don’t get angry
Your chances are still slim, but some bookies are kinder than others, and your specific situation and how you handle the interaction will also have a lot to do with the outcome.
If you don’t have a leg to stand on and the customer support team have pointed this out to you, have a look and see if cash out is available.
If it is and the odds haven’t changed, you could cash out immediately for near enough the same amount as your stake. You might lose a small percentage of the stake but that is a small price to pay for a bet that you never wanted to take in the first place.
Many of the more reputable bookies, such as bet365, will offer you full stake cash out value if the odds have not changed. Unibet also made an announced recently that they will give 100% cash out pre-event if the price has not changed, for example.
Even if the odds have changed, you could decide it is more worthwhile to take back what money you can than to leave it in and potentially lose the lot.
There is always the possibility that you could get a little bit more back too if the situation has changed and the odds have been altered in your favour.
Whatever the situation, if it’s available then cash out is your friend here.
Cash Out Unavailable
If you have tried everything else and cash out is not available on your bet, then, unfortunately, you just have to suck it up and take the hit.
See it as a learning opportunity. As patronising as that may sound, you dropped the ball on this one, so own it and use the experience to make sure it doesn’t happen again. At least then some good will come out of it.
The Bookies POV
Bookmaking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. Bookmakers have to adhere to very strict regulations on every aspect of their business and it is no longer the shady underworld industry that it once had a reputation as being.
They are still businesses, however, and they need to run efficiently to make money. If their millions of customers were allowed to cancel bets willy nilly it would be impossible for them to run efficiently, especially if their staff had to deal with each instance – they would need scores of new staff to handle it.
Aside from that, it’s very rarely their fault that a customer wants to cancel a bet. Usually it is human error or a slip in judgement or a loss of control. Bookies can’t be held accountable for these things, we are all accountable for our own actions.
Finally, let’s look at how many steps there are to placing a bet:
|Step 1||Find Your Market|
|Step 2||Find Your Bet|
|Step 3||Select Your Bet/Odds|
|Step 4||Move to Betslip|
|Step 5||Enter Stake|
|Step 6||Place Bet|
|Step 7 (Sometimes)||Confirm Bet|
There are countless opportunities there to spot your mistake and to have another think before you commit. There are even further steps if you are placing multiples or each way bets, so from the bookies point of view it’s really not their problem most of the time.
Everything we have discussed thus far assumes the bettor was of sound mind when they made the bet and with no previous gambling problems.
If you have an addiction to gambling and have made a bet that you cannot afford then you may well be able to do something about it.
If you have previously made yourself known to the bookie or to GamStop or a similar organisation, then they may be able to help you with this. Responsible gambling has never been a hotter topic, and bookmakers don’t want to be associated with a scandal.
In fact, if you have tried to self exclude and been allowed to bet anyway then you certainly have a case and the bookmaker in question could get into a lot of trouble with the UK Gambling Commission for allowing you to deposit in the first place.