Void Bets

Null And VoidHere we take a look at the notion of a void bet: what it is, why they happen and what impact they can have on things such as free bets, enhanced odds, accumulators and acca insurance promotions.

The reality is that void bets are a very small part of betting and many punters may go through their entire gambling “career” never being affected by one. Most bets pass through every stage of the wager as normal, from placement, through to the match or event, and finally the bet settling with funds being returned smoothly to the customer or entering the deep pockets of the bookmaker!

Our aim here is not to worry you, or indeed to overstate the influence of void bets, but simply to educate you and hopefully address any queries you may have regarding this issue. As with many things in life, and certainly gambling, forewarned is forearmed and a little knowledge now can help avoid a lot of confusion and resentment later.

What is a Void Bet?

A void bet is simply one that, for one reason or another (of which more below), is effectively cancelled. Sometimes the bookmaker may notify you by email that a bet has been voided and explain why. More commonly you won’t be told but will be able to see in the account history that the bet has been voided, with the stake returned to your balance.

When a bet is voided it is essentially as if it never happened. You don’t win anything but equally you don’t lose anything and the bet is entirely null and, well, void. The only exception to that concerns free bets but, again, we will deal with that more specifically below.

Why Has My Bet Been Voided?

Of course, one simple way to find out why a bet has been voided is to contact the bookie directly and ask them. With many of the best betting sites around now boasting live chat customer support, getting in touch is quick and easy, whilst phone or email are also good options.

However, here we detail the most likely reasons a bet has been voided. If you have a wager that has been voided you will more than likely be able to see an explanation below that fits the circumstances of your situation. However, if this is not the case – and our list is not all-encompassing – or you still aren’t certain, just contact the bookmaker with whom you placed the bet.

Reasons a Bet May Have Been Voided

  1. You requested it (!) - it may seem strange to include this option but a void bet can sometimes be instigated by the customer. This may be for a number of reasons, such as if you have made a bet in error or perhaps bet more than you intended to. The bookie is under no obligation to void the bet but if they are feeling generous then they may do.
  2. Postponement - a postponement is probably the most likely cause of a void bet. Postponements can occur in virtually any sport for reasons as diverse as the weather, a terrorist attack or even, infamously, the discovery of a fake bomb! The weather, with heavy rain, frozen pitches or tracks or even high winds, is by far the most common cause of a match or event being postponed.
  3. Injury - a late injury to a participant, be they a horse, golfer, tennis player or even a footballer, can cause them to effectively become a non-runner. Other than on ante-post bets and certain specials, non-runners are treated as void bets and your stake is returned.
  4. Palpable error - a palpable error, sometimes called a “palp”, can be the hardest type of void to accept. In this instance the bookmaker may have made an error and their rules and the industry standard regarding the issue means they can void bets taken in such a circumstance. One example might be leaving an in-play market running after the event has finished. Another might be where the team or player’s odds are the wrong way round and a favourite is listed at 10/1 with an outsider priced at odds-on.
  5. Changes to event - if a game, match or other event takes place but under altered circumstances, bookmakers may void certain bets. The precise details of such rules can be found under the rules of the relevant sport. Examples may be a tennis tournament taking place on a different surface, a pitcher other than the named one starting in baseball or a cricket match not meeting a minimum number of overs.
  6. Abandonment - if a match starts but doesn’t finish this will often lead to a void bet. Again, the reasons for the abandonment of a contest are many and varied but if, for example, a four day golf event abandoned due to bad weather, your bet on the outright winner may be void, whilst crowd problems or even terrorism could cause an event to be called off.

Void Rules May Vary By Bookmaker

The above examples are exactly that, examples, and should not be taken as hard and fast rules. Within most, if not all, of the scenarios listed above, there are lots of caveats. As said, rules can vary from sport to sport and also from one betting site to another.

Tennis InjuryA good example of this would be tennis. Different bookmakers have different rules regarding whether a bet stands or is voided if a player withdraws during a match due to an injury. Some consider that once the match has begun, bets stand, such that if your player withdraws they will be deemed to have lost. Other bookies require at least one set to have been completed before bets will stand, whilst some bookmakers will void all bets unless the entire match is completed. Needless to say, this latter situation can be highly frustrating if your player is two sets up and two breaks up in the third set when their opponent decides to quit with an injury!

In tennis, should a player withdraw injured some bets may still stand no matter what. For example, if a bookie normally requires all sets to be played in order for there to be “action”, they will almost always still settle, rather than void, wagers that have already met their conclusion. An example of this would be that if you bet on Andy Murray to win 3-0 and the game ends when he is 1-0 down, your bet would be a loser, rather than a void, as it has already lost.

In other sports, certain bets will also be allowed to stand even in the event of an abandonment. For example in football, rugby and other similar sports, if the game is abandoned in the second half due to bad weather, many bets that have already settled will stand.

Bets, for example, on the first scorer, if a goal/try has been scored, and first half score/result bets will be paid as normal. On the other hand, bets that are still effectively open will almost always be void in this scenario, such as match result, last goalscorer, correct score and so on.

Finally you should be aware that even if an event is postponed, your bet won’t automatically be classed as a void. In the specific rules for a given sport most bookmakers list a timeframe for re-arranged fixtures. If the contest is rescheduled with, for example, 72 hours of the original match, bets will stand, whilst if it is arranged for a date beyond that it will be voided.

How do Void Bets Affect Free Bets and Wagering?

Void bets do not usually have a negative effect on punters, other than the disappointment that you don’t have the chance to land a winner. In most scenarios, it’s just a case of “as you were”, with nothing gained and nothing lost, however this may not be the case with regards free bets.

Almost all betting sites offer some form of free bet or welcome offer and if your free bet selection is subsequently voided you may miss out. Where normally the cash would be returned to your account and you could bet on something else, this is not always the case with free bets. This is a rule of thumb and does not occur with all bookies and if it does happen to you it is always worth contacting customer support to see if they can reinstate your free bet.

If their terms state that free bets that are voided will not be returned, any decision to grant you another free bet will purely be as a goodwill gesture and the bookmaker is under no obligation to give you another freebie. Unfortunately if you are unlucky enough for this to happen to you, it will just have to be written off as bad fortune. Move on and accept it – there are plenty more fish in the bookmaking ocean!

Similarly, void bets will not count towards the wagering requirements of bonuses though this is less of an annoyance and you will get your funds back to have another bet.

One last relevant scenario is where your qualifying bet (in order to gain a free bet or bonus) is voided. Unfortunately this may also mean you lose your free bet, with the possibility that some bookies will count this as your first bet. As it was void, no free bet is garnered, however, as your first bet has been placed, there is now no opportunity to gain a freebie as most offers relate to your first bet only. Again, unfair as this may seem, it is best to move on and also well worth noting that the chances of this actually happening are very slim.

One Leg of My Acca Has Been Voided – What Now?

Another question that often crops up with regards void bets is how they impact accumulators (accas). For example, if we assume you place a five-fold football bet, with four games on Saturday and one on Sunday. The first four bets all come in but the final game is cancelled due to heavy snow.

Thankfully the impact of void bets on standard accas is minimal. The leg that is voided is simply discounted, such that your pending five-fold then becomes a winning four-fold. A treble with one leg void becomes a double, whilst a double with one match voided is allowed to stand as a single bet.

Similarly any multiple bets such as a Lucky 31 or 63 are treated the same way. As such a Lucky 63 with one leg voided becomes a Lucky 31. The stakes for the other bets (the single on the game itself and all the relevant multiples) are refunded and the wager treated simply as if you had only selected five matches/bets in the first place.

Acca Insurance and Offers

The last area we examine stays in the domain of accumulators but here looks at when these have been placed alongside some form of acca offer. One of the most common accumulator promotions is “acca insurance”, which refunds your stake (often as a free bet) where just one leg of the bet has failed.

Let’s assume you pick five tennis players to win their opening matches at Wimbledon and only four win. In this instance you would normally lose, however if the betting site you placed the five-fold with offered acca insurance, you would get your money back!

All such promos have a minimum leg requirement, such that the insurance and money (or free bet) back only applies if your original acca contained a certain number of selections or more. This is usually four, five or sometimes six.

Unfortunately, if one of the legs is a void bet and this causes your acca to drop under the minimum number of selections needed, acca insurance will not apply. Again, it is well worth noting that the odds of a void alone are quite slim, so the chances of a void happening AND all but one of your “live” legs winning are even slimmer.

Another form of acca betting promotion is the enhanced odds accumulator. This sort of bookie special pays out at enhanced odds when you have a winning accumulator with a certain number of selection. These types of offer usually work in one of two ways.

Some enhanced prices may be listed on a special coupon that is, for example, trebles and upwards only. Other promos may pay out a set bonus on winning accumulators with a certain number of legs, often increasing the bonus the more legs you pick. Here a percentage, ranging from, say, 5% for trebles, up to 100% for 14-folds, is added to your standard winnings. The actual numbers will of course vary from bookie to bookie.

Regardless of the exact mechanics of the bonus in question, a void bet will have the same effect. If the void bet causes the total number of legs to drop below the terms of the offer, your bet and payout will be treated accordingly. In the case of an enhanced odds coupon, your entire acca will be paid at the standard odds, whilst a bonus-based acca will drop to the relevant bonus level based on the number of settled selections.

Void Bets Conclusion

Finally, in case you have reached the conclusion that void bets are something to fear or worry about and that the risk they pose makes the whole thing not worth bothering with… that isn’t the case!

Void bets happen only very infrequently, and when they do their impact is generally minimal. On most occasions you will simply get your money back and can get another bet on before you’ve even had time to bemoan the initial void. Occasionally things may be more complex and the key thing to note is that precise terms vary according to the nature of the void. The rules also vary by sport and according to who you placed the bet with. If in doubt contact your bookmaker and you’ll usually get a fast, simple answer.