Related Contingencies

Related EventsThe phrase “related contingencies” may well sound like some form of complex legal speak or the sort of term an insurance assessor might use but it is, in fact, a relatively simple piece of gambling terminology. Here we explain exactly what it means and why it is useful to be aware of it, especially if you’re intending to place accumulator bets.

We cover in greater detail what multiples betting and accumulators are elsewhere but in essence an “acca” (as they are sometimes known) is a bet that has more than one leg or selection. A very simple acca might, for example, be a bet on Red Rhumba to win the first horse race of the day and Blue Murder to win the second.

With an accumulator you have separate odds for each leg/selection of the bet but just one stake. If the first selection wins, the stake and winnings rollover onto the second selection, and if that wins you’re bet is successful (assuming it is a “double”, the most basic acca which contains just two selections).

In the example above, if we assume both horses were even money favourites, a £10 double would return a total of £40. When Red Rhumba wins you double your initial £10, meaning you have £20 on Blue Murder at evens, thus leading to a profit of £30 and returns from the bookie of £40.

What Is a Related Bet?

A related bet, or related contigency, is where one or more selections in a multiple bet directly effects another selection in the same multiple. For example, you couldn't bet on being stuck in traffic one day, doubled with arriving late for work that same day. That's because if you are stuck in traffic, it decreases the chance of you arrivng at your destination on time.

You Can't Place an Accumulator on Related Bets

Accumulators can only be placed on bets where each leg or selection of the wager does not directly impact the probability of any of the other legs winning, or constitute part of the result of the other leg. So, whilst our two hypothetical horses listed above may be trained by the same trainer and ridden by the same jockey, just because the first horse has won it doesn’t DIRECTLY alter the chances of the second horse winning.

If, however, our two horses were running in the same race and you decided to back them to finish first and second, this would not be a double but a single bet, in this case a forecast. If you tried to place a £10 double on Red Rhumba to win at 2/1 and Blue Murder to place at evens this would be rejected by the bookie or, if accepted in error, you would be unlikely to get the “correct” double odds but paid at a lower – and correct – forecast price. This is because it is a related contingency, where one part of the bet directly affects the likelihood of the other part of the bet winning or losing, and in this case actually constitutes part of the result.

Football Scorecast Bets

Scorecast Venn Diagram

Looking at scorecast betting in football may offer a better example of what we mean by a related contingency. A scorecast is a single bet (like a forecast above) on a correct score football bet and the first goalscorer in that game. The bookie will display odds for correct scores and, separately, for first scorers in the same game; they will also then have a third market: the scorecast that combines the two.

For example, you may see that Man United are 13/2 to beat Everton 1-0, with Wayne Rooney priced at 4/1 to score first priced in a separate bet. A newcomer to betting, one who is not aware of the notion of related contingencies, or perhaps hasn’t heard of a scorecast bet, may try to place a double on United to win 1-0 at 13/2 with Wayne Rooney to open the scoring the second leg at 4/1.

Let’s say our novice knows more about football than betting and they get their wager spot on. Having placed a £20 bet they are expecting a very tasty return of £750. Nice work if you can get it! That’s a very handy winner at odds of more than 36/1… at least until it comes to trying to collect their winnings. The true odds on the scorecast would have been much closer to 20/1 and whilst a return of £400 or more would still be very impressive, it would be a major disappointment if you were expecting almost double that.

 OddsReturns For £20 Stake
Wayne Rooney 1st Goal 4/1 £100
Manchester United Win 1-0 13/2 £150
Related Double 36.5/1 £750
Scorecast 20/1 £420

Some punters may view this as a con but in truth it’s perfectly reasonable because first goal and correct score betting are related contingencies. The outcome of one leg clearly affects the odds and probability of the other. If Wayne Rooney scores first, Man United are clearly more likely to win 1-0 than if he hadn’t scored, not least because his goal automatically rules out all possible correct scores where United have “nil”.

What Happens if the Bookie Accepts the Bet in Error?

Offer of a Handshake

Bookies, computers and certainly people can all make mistakes and on occasion a bookmaker may accept a bet as a double or more complex accumulator when, instead, they should have quoted one single price for the combined bet.

One very famous example of this concerned an unhappy punter that thought he was in line for a HUGE £7m payout but instead won just £31. Cliff Bryant placed a series of wagers on a white Christmas, betting it would snow in 24 different locations, mainly across the north of England.

He placed these as an acca and whether he was trying to “pull a fast one” or simply didn’t know the rules is unclear. However, anyone with any knowledge of related contingencies would understand that betting on a white Christmas in Leeds at 10/1 and also snow in Wakefield just 10 miles away at 10/1 wouldn’t yield a double of more than 100/1. If it is snowing in Leeds, clearly this means snow just 10 miles away is much more likely and odds of 11/1 may have been more reasonable.

The bet was accepted in error and was actually paid simply as singles, with each single bet winning, leading to a rather disappointing payout for Mr Bryant! Any bookie would do the same and this verdict would be upheld by the relevant regulatory bodies, be they IBAS, the UK Gambling Commission or even the courts. As ever though, forewarned is forearmed and if you understand related contingencies you would better understand the likely returns and thus avoid that awful sinking feeling!

More Related Contingency Examples

What is and isn’t a related contingency may not always be crystal clear but most online bookies have systems that will detect related bets and not allow you to place them as accumulators. Should you be betting in a retail outlet on the high street a member of staff should also do the same, although of course, as we’ve seen, errors are always possible.

In general the best advice is that if something seems too good to be true, perhaps it is. Doubles within the same match or event are also often likely to related contingencies, for example a bet on a tennis player to win a match 2-1 and also to win the match outright cannot be combined as a double. This is because the outcome of Player A winning 2-1 wholly contributes to the fact that they have won at all. Likewise a bet on Liverpool to win a Cup game 1-0 cannot be combined as a double with a bet on them to qualify for the next round of that cup competition because if they have won 1-0 they have also, clearly, qualified for the next round.