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What happens when your bet is cancelled?

There are many reasons why a sport event and punters' bet might be cancelled. In this article we will take a closer look at bookmakers' policy and see what happens with your bets when they are dropped.

  • What’s the policy across different bookmaker? Here we’ll look at what you can commonly expect in terms of policy from most quality betting sites when it comes to what happens if the game is cancelled, alongside what happens in the case of an accumulator cancellation, postponement and post kick-off abandonment.
  • What are some common reasons games are abandoned? Here we’ll go through some possible reasons your game could be abandoned, by giving some common examples we’ve seen throughout history.
  • FAQ: Because there’s so much to take in in terms of policy, we’ve created this bite sized version of the most important questions answered as both a supplement and a reminder to this article.
  • Conclusion: We’ll leave you with our final thoughts on game cancellations, how they reflect your betting site and how to make the best out of a bad situation.

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What’s the bet cancellation policy across different betting sites?

betway insider homepage article - game is cancelled

Cancelled games are of course a source of great disappointment, and while that in itself is unpredictable, the impact it has on you should not be. Here we are going to take a look at what you can expect should the unexpected take place, alongside some suggestions for excellent bookmakers so you have peace of mind about what happens when the game is cancelled.

A big part of the problem with this question is that there are a lot of different answers to what happens if the game is cancelled. There is no single rule set for this from betting sites, because, to an extent, they set their own terms and conditions, as long as they are in accordance with the law. This may make you a little bit apprehensive because it sounds like the bookmakers can do whatever they wish in the event of a cancelled game. However, there’s usually no reason to worry.

What you have to remember is that all of these betting sites are in competition. Fierce competition. That means that they are, if they are smart at least, going to do whatever they can in order to make their product as attractive as possible. This is why not only are the terms and conditions for such outcomes generally very fair, but there is also quite a lot of consistency between different betting sites.

This means that we can go through each possible outcome and tell you what the likely response from most bookmakers is going to be. However, this does come with the side note that you shouldn’t assume this is the case with your preferred betting site and you should check the terms and conditions on their site, ideally before placing a bet.

With that said, let’s break down the key variables for cancelled games, and what you can expect should such an event take place.

 

What if my bet is cancelled before the game?

This is the simplest example we are going to look at. In the case of almost all good betting sites, an event being cancelled also cancels all bets placed on it. That means that it is null and void and your stake is returned to you. Essentially, it is like the bet never happened.

This is actually such a common policy that if it is not the case, then you should have some serious questions about the quality of your betting site. To be clear, what happens if the game is postponed is a different question, as is our next one.

 

What if the game is cancelled after kick-off?

This is a touch more complicated, as there is some more variation amongst the betting sites when it comes to matches that are abandoned after the whistle blows. For many, it is essentially the same as a cancelled game with bets being null and void so long as it is abandoned before the 90 minutes. As most markets end at that point anyway, a match being abandoned in extra time for instance, would not make a difference to the result.

It’s also important to understand what counts as an abandoned match, as usually a match that is temporarily halted but then restarted will not count as an abandoned game. Another important point is that some markets can be determined before the 90 minutes, for example, first goal scorer. If that bet is correct before the abandonment, most betting sites will still honour that outcome.

This certainly appears to be the case for Betway, who state “Any event (match) abandoned before the completion of 90 minutes play will be void except for those bets, the outcome of which, has already been determined at the time of abandonment.”.

However, they go on to say that you would not give a refund in the case of a combination bet, if one event is abandoned but the others have already been unsuccessful, stating “Example if event 3 of a betslip is abandoned but you have already been unsuccessful with event 1 or event 2, your bet will remain unsuccessful.”.

Another example of policy in this regard is Interwetten, who state “In addition, bets are rated as lost if they could not have been won, even if the match was continued up to regular playing time”. In essence, in the majority of betting sites, you will receive a refund if the outcome is undetermined, whereas you will not if it has been determined as unsuccessful already, regardless of remaining play time, which we think is entirely reasonable.

Lastly, if the match is not abandoned but rather postponed, the rules then change to how the bookmaker deals with these matches. Speaking of which…

 

What happens if the match is postponed?

Of course, your bet may get the chance to play out even in the case of abandonment, if that is only temporary and the match is postponed to a later date. In many cases, this means that your bet can carry on as though nothing had happened, simply at a later date.

However, many betting sites have a time period for postponed games, beyond which the bet can be considered void. This is the key policy difference, with some betting sites offering 48 hours and others offering up to a week. So, be sure to keep an eye both on updates and on the individual policy of your betting site.

 

What if the match is cancelled or postponed on an accumulator bet?

This one is of great interest to many of our readers because they are naturally worried that one cancelled or postponed match could put their entire accumulator at stake. And when you are several bets in and looking at the barrel end of a potentially huge payout, we can understand where that anxiety comes from.

Well, there really shouldn’t be any reason to worry. In virtually every bookmaker we checked out on this issue, the policy was near identical: if a match is cancelled and the bet is void, then it simply gets removed from the accumulator and it goes on as though that bet never existed. In other words, if you had bet on a treble, it would become a double, and so on, with the odds readjusted as would be the case were you to select that double in the first place.

Check our extensive guide to Accumulator Betting and Promotions here. 

If your betting site does not offer this and had a policy of viewing an accumulator with a void bet as a losing bet, then quite frankly, you should look for another betting site. In terms of whether the bet is considered void, won or lost in an abandoned game, that should be consistent with their policy in that regard for single bets, as discussed above. A postponed bet may still be viable if it fits within the timeframe set out by terms and conditions.

Finally, if all matches are cancelled, then, just as should be the case in a singles bet, the bet should be void and your stake returned.

Similar to this is Jackpots, which often require several bets to be successful. There’s a little more variation on this, but most betting sites essentially provide a percentage of the jackpot depending on how many events are cancelled. For instance, 1XBet has the following policy:

“1 event considered to be cancelled – 35% of Jackpot is paid out;
2 events considered to be cancelled – 25% of Jackpot is paid out;
3 events considered to be cancelled – 10% of Jackpot is paid out;
4 events considered to be cancelled – 5% of Jackpot is paid out.”

As you can probably imagine, the key variable between betting sites in this event is the percentage paid out.

 

What are some common reasons games are abandoned?

Of course, a game could be abandoned for any number of reasons, many of which are complete unknowns. No one, for instance, would have predicted the cancellations due to Coronavirus. More commonly though, games are cancelled for things like the weather, unruly fans (although thankfully that has become less common) or due to a lack of players on either side, either from disciplinary reasons or through injury.

We’re well aware that this can be a lot of information to take in, so we’ve broken down some of the most vital elements into bite-sized chunks. With that in mind, here are some of the most important answers to questions about cancelled games.

FAQs

Do betting sites all have the same rules when it comes to cancelled games?

Not necessarily. Different bookmakers do have different rules and of course, as long as they are acting in accordance with the law, they are well within their rights to do so. However, most good betting sites do act in a similar if not identical manner. To get a detailed look at the common rules, check out the section above this one. And of course, always check the terms of your chosen bookmaker to be sure.

In brief, how do betting sites commonly respond to cancelled games?

If a game is cancelled, not postponed, then the bet should be viewed as void and your stake refunded. This is the case with the overwhelming majority of bookmakers.

In brief, how do betting sites commonly respond to postponed games?

That usually depends on how long it is postponed for. If it is postponed for a long time, then your bet will likely be made void and you will have your stake refunded just as if it was cancelled. If it is on soon, however, your bookmaker may simply keep the bet on until the new date.

In brief, how do bookmakers commonly respond to abandoned games?  

This depends on whether your bet has been settled.For instance, if you have already won your First Goalscorer bet, then the abandonment should not affect that fact. Similarly, if a bet could not have been won if the game had been played to full, the bet will be considered lost. Otherwise, it will be treated just like a cancelled game.

In brief, how does a cancelled game effect accumulators?

A cancelled game would simply be voided in an accumulator, meaning the accumulator would continue as though the selection was never chosen. So, a 5-fold becomes a 4-fold, for instance, with relevant adjusted odds. If all the games are cancelled, then the accumulator is void and you should get your money back.

 

Keep in mind that this FAQ is, as the questions suggest, a brief version of the terms, for a more complete understanding, please go back and read the rest of the article.

 

Conclusion

As long as you are careful about what betting site you are using, you should have no issue when it comes to games being cancelled, postponed or abandoned. There is no example I could find across trusted, respected betting sites, in other words any that I would recommend, that the policy on this matter was not fair and reasonable.

While sports can be unpredictable, your bookmaker's policy should not. Cancelled games are a great test of your bookmaker's integrity and trustworthiness.

In the case of mass cancellation of sports, which fortunately doesn’t happen very often, I think you should take it as an opportunity to try out alternatives from your usual preferred markets.

Great betting sites always have an incredible amount of variety available for you to bet on, meaning that even if you are disappointed by a cancelled game, there’s still plenty else out there.

Check our extensive guide to Virtual Sports and introduction to Esports here.

Who knows, you may end up finding a whole new market which you enjoy and further increase your scope of betting variety as a result.

Ben Gibson

Hello there! I'm Ben, Yorkshire based copywriter with eight years professional experience. Passionate about sports, cooking, writing and collecting vinyl. Work is brought to you by the power of countless cups of tea.

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