An unknown number of Australian sports bettors have received their pay-outs from unfairly cancelled sports wagers at the Sportsbet site, after they had taken advantage of an error in the odds that were displayed on the platform. While players made the most of the error, the Sportsbet platform chose to cancel those wagers that had been placed. Yet, that decision by the platform was ruled as unfair by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC), which made the ruling that Sportsbet must pay out millions in winnings to those bettors.
During the 10th round of the 2019 Australian Football League (ASL) season, an unknown number of bettors took the decision to place a bet on a specific market. That market was whether or not any player would have 40 or more disposals during the round. In AFL games, a “disposal” relates to any player legally passing the ball to another player on the same team. Due to the fact that many bettors of this market knew that in previous AFL rounds, only four matches existed where a single player made 40 or more disposals, punters swiftly made the decision to select the “no” bet. Doing so pretty much guaranteed that they would be receiving a pay-out from it. However, Sportsbet had other ideas.
The gambling platform labelled the market as providing an incorrect offer, which it said was an obvious error on its part. This, Sportsbet said, gave it the right to revoke any wagers placed on it. Naturally, this didn’t make bettors happy, especially considering that there wasn’t a single player who made 40 or more disposals in that game. This led them to make complaints with the NTRC between May 24 and July 11.
NTRC Ruling States That Error Was Not Obvious
With so many complaints being brought against the Sportsbet platform, an investigation had to be conducted by the NTRC. Following the consideration of all the evidence, the NTRC made its decision – Sportsbet must pay out winnings to all those who had placed a bet on the market. Chairperson of the Racing Commission, Alastair Shields said in the official document released by the NTRC that “it would not be outrages to see the prices offered in error on offer”. So, because of this, the regulatory body said that anyone who had placed bets on the market are entitled to receive the full pay-out from their wagers.
It wasn’t made clear how many players had made wagers on the market, so a specific figure of how much should be paid out was also unknown. Yet, estimates from weeks prior to the event suggest that around 2,000 Sportsbet members had placed wagers on the market, meaning that up to nine million in Australian dollars is required to be paid out to those players.
The official ruling by the NTRC states that:
“In examining the evidence before it, the Commission is satisfied that prices offered by Sportsbet on each of the nine Sportsbet AFL +40 betting markets were offered in error and were not the prices that it intended to offer at the time the disputed bets were struck.
It is clear to the Commission on the evidence before it, that there was an obvious increase in the number of Sportsbet customers who placed a bet on one or more of the nine Sportsbet AFL +40 betting markets…However, the Commission is not of the view that an increase in the number of customers placing a bet as a stand-alone indicator, allows the Commission to form the view that the price errors were obvious errors in that they were clear to the mind of the Sportsbet customers or plain to see.
As a result, the Commission has determined that all bets struck on the nine Sportsbet AFL +40 betting markets for round 10 of the 2019 AFL season are lawful bets pursuant to section 85(1A) of the Act.”
Sportsbet accepted the ruling that was made by the NTRC, taking to its Twitter account and making a post which said that it would be in touch with all those players who were impacted by the occurrences surrounding such.