Online sportsbetting operator Sportsbet has to pay up as a result of errors made accepting various wagers on Australian football league games. The operator mistakenly set its rewards sky-high based on certain conditions of outcome, but the unusually good prices and returns have now returned to bite them where it hurts most, despite the fact that they had exercised due caution by cancelling the affected bets even before the games got underway.
The wagers paid to the Australian sports betting operator were all actioned during this year’s Australian Football League. Round 10, played earlier this year in May, has now caused the operator to be hundreds of thousands out of pocket because of incorrect odds published on its platform.
Terms And Conditions Fail
Interesting to note is that the operator did in fact make provision for such a mishap in its terms and conditions. It clearly states that in the event of “obvious or manifest errors”, which in essence refers to every conceivable manner of error, however negligent on its own part, it remains well within its rights to cancel those bets before any applicable games or matches commence. Which is of course exactly the nature of the events that followed the bets now reversed.
But bettors weren’t appeased, despite having been made aware of the consequences of errors on the part of the operator. Shortly after the company cancelled the bets, they filed a slew of complaints with the Northern Territory Racing Commission, the regulator that has jurisdiction over the games and bets in question.
Not Wilfully Negligent
Last week Thursday the commission slapped the operator with a rather nasty surprise when it ruled that it would have to fork out the money, irrespective of the mistake and of what was supposed to follow by way of the published terms and conditions.
Sportsbet, after having been notified by the regulator of the bettors’ complaints and the imminent review on the part of the bet authority, argued its case of having informed bettors of the procedure that would follow a typical error. The regulator however elected not to pay heed to the Sportsbet’s arguments in this respect and performed its own investigations in to the events in question.
Part of what Sportsbet had based its initial appeal to the regulator on was the fact that the exceptionally favourably priced bets had made it so that more bets were wagered on the events and odds in question than what would ordinarily have been the case. Sportsbet wanted to bring to the regulator’s attention the fact that it would be seriously out of pocket, and rather mistakenly so, if the regulator were to proceed on its current course of action and intent.
The Reason Wasn’t Obvious
The fact that more than 3% of the customers to have opened accounts during the period of the favourable odds having been taken full advantage of by bettors, were opened during the period leading up to Game 10, proved another issue for the argue. But the regulator wasn’t eager to engage on the after-effects of the mistake; only that a mistake had been made and that no bettor was at fault during the time of the making of that mistake.
The regulator has, in the bookie’s defence, said that it does not believe that the company had been wilfully deceiving in an attempt to attract new business. But this, said the regulator, wasn’t the issue under review and in dispute. The fact that it had not been obvious to bettors that the odds were “too good to be true” was the actual problem in the equation and the main motivation behind the eventual outcome and ruling