David Smith of Loughborough has been left unhappy after Betfred are refusing to honour his bet, in spite of the fact that he wrote down the name of the wrong horse on his betting slip.
He was expecting to receive £212,000 but ended up only being paid £23,000 on his 6-fold accumulator. Betfred feel that their decision is justified because they have paid out on what Smith actually wrote on his slip rather than what he’s saying he intended to write.
The punter went into his local Betfred store and selected 6 horses for his acca, writing down Bailarico when he intended to write Bialco. He realised after the latter horse had won in the race he was part of at Perth but before the former horse had taken part in his race at Goodwood, bringing it to the attention of the shop staff who, he claims, told him he’d be paid out on the name of Bialco if his bet was a winner.
In the end, however, the firm paid him on Bailarico and now he is considering take the matter to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service.
Why Smith Thinks He’s Owed The Higher Amount
When he turned up at his local Betfred store, David Smith picked the following six horses for his accumulator bet on that day’s racing:
- Ardera Cross with odds of 40/1
- Indian Temple with odds of 7/1
- Shanroe with odds of 9/2
- Pennsylvania Dutch with odds of 15/2
- Sir Busker with odds of 4/1
Ordinarily it would be clear that the punter would be paid out on the odds of the horses that he’d actually written on the betting slip, but Smith feels that he has a case because he wrote “2.15 P” down on his slip next to the name of Bailarico. This is pertinent, according to Smith, because Bialco was running in the 2.15pm race at Perth, which he subsequently won.
It’s possible that the bookmaker might well have allowed him to make the claim if there hadn’t also been a horse called Bailarico running in the 3.40pm race at Goodwood on the same afternoon.
What IBAS Must Decide
The issue for the Independent Betting Adjudication Service to weigh up is whether there’s any onus on Betfred to pay out on the intended spirit of the bet.
It’s difficult to argue against the fact that Smith at least thought about betting on Bialco, given the fact that he wrote down the time of the race and the initial of the course next to the horse’s name and that name was similar to the one that he actually did write down. Yet saying that Betfred should pay out would set a dangerous precedent moving forward.
What would stop punters from writing down similarly named horses and the time of different races, claiming after the fact that they had meant to write one or the other down depending on which one was a winner?
Would Smith have insisted that Betfred pay him nothing if Bialco had lost his race and they attempted to pay him £23,000 for the bet on Bailarico? It’s unlikely. It’s massively unlikely that IBAS will do anything other than side with Betfred on this particular occasion.
The Decision IBAS Could Make
David Smith is being supported in his claim against Betfred by Paul Fairhead, who is an online campaigner that regularly works on behalf of punters. Fairhead has pointed out that Betfred have a rule which allows them to split the stake in instances where it is ‘ambiguous’ what a bettor intended to place his wager on.
Obviously in this instance that is slightly complicated by the fact that the horse is part of an accumulator, but it would essentially see Smith paid £90,000, which is an increase on the £23,000 Betfred have agreed to pay him but still some way off the £212,000 he thinks he’s owed.
Even that is something that Betfred are likely to argue vociferously against, however. A spokesperson for the company said:
“Unfortunately the customer had written Bailarico on his slip which was running in a race at Goodwood that day and finished third. Our rules state that we settle on the named selection”.
If IBAS decide that splitting the stake is the fairest thing to do then Betfred won’t have much choice to abide by their ruling, of course, but even that would put the Independent organisation in a spot of bother moving forward. Setting a precedent now that would give punters room to claim they deserve four times the payout on a bet because of ambiguity on what they wrote on the slip won’t please bookmakers at all.
What Else Is In Smith’s Favour
Another thing that IBAS will have to consider is Smith’s story in full. A lot of that will come down to testimony from the people working in the shop on the day, who Smith claims accepted his story about intending to write down the name of Bialco instead of Bailarico, informing him that he’d be paid out in full if his bet was a winner.
Indeed, he also claims that when he gave them his betting slip at the end of the day the decision from the person in the shop was to pay out the £212,000, but that they needed to refer it to Betfred security before the payment could be made.
It was at this point that the authorisation came back to pay him just £23,000. Is that something that the Independent Betting Adjudication Service will take into account when it weighs up the case? Smith, who attends the Loughborough shop regularly, as claimed that the manager who normally works there would have spotted his error at the time of placing the bet and informed him about it, but he was off that day.
The 60-year-old declared himself to be ‘not happy’ over the way the entire thing was handled, with ‘nobody to explain what really happened’ present in the shop.