Why Was My Bet Cancelled? – Understanding Why Your Bet Was Voided & What to Do About it

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It’s frustrating when your bet gets cancelled by a sportsbook, especially when it’s unclear why it happened. Here we explain the most common reasons why a bet can be cancelled and what to do if you want to appeal the decision.

bet cancellation

General Reasons Why Bets Get Cancelled

Let’s start by explaining the most common reason why bets get cancelled, as your problem likely falls within one of these categories.

Technical Errors

Even though the best online gambling sites use advanced technology, technical issues can still happen. Most of the time, these are addressed promptly and fixed accordingly.

Server problems are the most common. The server is a complex infrastructure that the site is hosted on, and even though they are extremely robust, it can crash or become overwhelmed by high volumes of traffic.

As the bettor, it’s not always easy to spot when server issues happen. The site may look fine and run without issue, but placing bets is another matter altogether if the server can’t record it.

Connectivity issues on either the sportsbook or your side are another common problem.

This might be the strength of the network connection or technical issues from the sportsbook. You may think that you’ve placed a bet, but the connection could time out before it’s been confirmed.

The plus side is that technical errors are rare these days. Technology has advanced so much that most of these issues arise from your side, so make sure that connections are stable before placing a bet.

Incorrect Odds

When the incorrect odds are listed, the betting site can cancel bets placed at these odds.

This is most commonly the case when a technical issue has created too high or low odds, and a glitch means that the odds do not truly reflect the fair market value for that bet.

Betonline cancelled bets

For example, if you’re betting on the spread for an NFL game, you would expect the odds to be around -110. But if the sportsbook displayed this as +1100, there is an issue here, which is likely technical.

When this happens, the betting site can cancel bets placed at these odds as it’s clear a mistake has been made.

They are allowed to do this under the T&Cs and regulations in place from licensing agreements, which prevents them from losing out on odds resulting from a technical issue.

There’s no set guide on how “wrong” the odds can be. Regulators will consider a fair and obvious error, but they might have to settle if the line was at +120 for the same bet, which is still high for a spread.

Palpable Error Rule

The palpable error rule was brought into place that lets operators hold themselves unaccountable when the incorrect odds are displayed.

It’s one of the more contentious topics in the gambling sector, as the operator is a judge and jury for many decisions when errors occur.

Things become even murkier when these errors are only flagged after settling markets. Those before the market opening are generally met with a certain level of understanding, but once settled, most think they should be paid.

If this happens, you’re not solely on your own. You can argue your case to independent regulators, and we will discuss this later in the guide.

Sports-Specific Cancellation Reasons

The vast majority of cancelled bets come from sport-specific issues. These are situations in which the rules or regulations that the market initially opened with have changed and, therefore, affected the chances of each result.

Event Cancellations or Postponements

If an event is postponed, the market will likely be cancelled. The rules for most sports state that if the event does not take place at the same venue within the next 24 hours, all bets will be cancelled.

The weather is a good example of this, which we know can wreak havoc with outdoor sports.

Let’s say you were betting on an MLB game at one of the best online sportsbooks, but the constant rain meant that the game was postponed. Unless that game was played the next day (within 24 hours), your bets would be cancelled.

Other reasons why events can be cancelled or postponed include:

  • Health concerns: The recent COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to how the world shuts down amid massive health concerns. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as this; even bouts of food poisoning and sickness for one or both teams can lead to event cancellation.
  • Venue issues: Technical difficulties at the venue might include a lack of electricity, power, gas or water that could affect both players and fans. For example, if there wasn’t any fresh water at a stadium with 60,000 fans, it would be a major health and safety breach.
  • Security threats: Any threats made to participants, staff, or fans will almost immediately cancel games. As recently as 2023, a college football game was cancelled due to threats of violence.

Rule Changes

If the rules for the game change, this could lead to your bet being cancelled. This includes anything that could alter the game’s outcome or the market you’re betting on.

For example, a game might be set to last for a specific amount of time, and if this is reduced, it will affect how the betting works.

Golf is a common benefactor of this, with the weather forcing the cancellation of play and, therefore, a reduced number of holes played. Some markets will be settled early and some cancelled, with bets being returned.

Match Fixing Suspicions

If a betting site is suspicious of betting activity, it may flag it under match-fixing. Match-fixing is when bets are made that undermine the integrity of the market.

They can include, but aren’t limited to, information not available to the public, where athletes, personnel linked with a club or match officials use privileged information to gain an advantage.

The betting site will cancel these bets where this occurs, and the people involved could face criminal prosecution.

There have been several instances of this in the past, with soccer players such as Ivan Toney and Sandro Tonali being found guilty of betting on their own team with insider knowledge.

Not all bets on this market will be cancelled, only those from people who have abused their privilege. It’s one of the main reasons why betting by professional athletes is prohibited for the most part.

Betting Platform Policies

Betting sites have a long list of policies that are designed to protect them from mistakes on their part and manipulation of betting markets from the public. This makes it fair for all.

Below we’ve listed a few of the most common policies to help you further understand why your bet might be cancelled in certain situations.

Bet Limits and Violations

All betting sites have bet limits. These can limit the amount paid out and the amount you can place per market.

As a bettor, you must know how these limitations work, as they will differ for each sport.

Betting limits

The betting site sets the maximum amount you can wager on a market. This is also known as the max bet and is usually determined by how popular the game or market is.

For example, betting on the Super Bowl will have much higher limits than betting on a regular season game simply because of the volume of bets.

Most betting sites will tell you the limit for wagering within the betslip. If you’re over, it will flag, but if it accepts bets by mistake, it might cancel the bet – even if it was originally accepted.

You also need to know the maximum you can win from a market.

So, if this was set at $10,000 and your winning bet was set to pay $20,000, you could find your bet only partially pays out or, even worse, is cancelled due to betting limits.

Regarding the maximum you can win, the betting site will accept your bet even if it knows you’re limited for the payout.

If your bet were to lose, your stake would be lost as normal, but only if the bet wins will you know your fate.

Abuse of Bonus Offers

Bonuses and promotions are designed to encourage you to sign up and keep you there.

If you’re abusing these offers, you may find that bets will be cancelled, along with the bonus, and your account will be banned. Winnings can also be forfeited in some cases.

Claiming multiple welcome bonuses under different accounts or withdrawing funds before the bonus is fully cleared are common misdemeanors.

Account Verification Issues

If your account has not been verified or there are issues surrounding the validity of your account verification, some betting sites will cancel bets until this is cleared.

Most state in their T&Cs that they do not need to pay out if issues have been flagged and not settled.

It’s ambiguous wording and while this is not always the case, youo may find that a sportsbook will accept bets and cancel later when they are settled.

Betting Syndicates

Betting syndicates are groups that coordinate their betting. The goal is to move betting lines and odds to create value on opposing markets.

They’re not illegal, but some betting sites ban them from doing so as it creates an artificial bias for markets affected by them.

The betting site will look at trends for betting and see how these link to other accounts. Most will be betting on the same market for similar sums at similar times, so they are relatively easy to spot.

If a betting site catches or suspects a syndicate, then bets will be cancelled. These accounts may also be restricted or even banned as a result.

Suspicious Betting Patterns

Suspicious betting patterns are where something is flagged in the system that goes against the grain of what most of the public is betting on. It can also flag when actions on an account are not in line with the usual activity.

Examples include:

  • Unusual bet sizes: If an account has a history of small bets and suddenly places a large bet, the betting site will flag this. For example, if the average bet size over the last 12 months has been $20 and they place a $10,000 bet, the betting site will be looking into the account.
  • Timing of bets: Bets placed before or just following significant events can be scrutinized. Often this links to insider knowledge, which is prohibited.
  • Concentrated betting: A high volume of bets placed against the market consensus can be an attempt to manipulate betting lines.
  • Correlation betting: When patterns occur across multiple accounts, this is often a sign of a betting syndicate. This usually relates to line manipulation but can also link to betting bonus abuse.

It’s worth noting that suspicious betting patterns often escalate from the initial bet being cancelled to the account being suspended and closed. In extreme cases, accounts may be reported to the authorities for further investigation.

External Factors

Bets can also be cancelled due to external factors that are beyond the betting site’s control. They can’t be avoided, and terms are in place to ensure that it’s not the site’s responsibility if things go wrong.

Legal and Regulatory Changes

The legal landscape in the US is changing constantly. If changes are made after a bet has been placed, they hold the right to cancel that bet.

A common one for this is college betting, with some states prohibiting you from betting on college sports within the state they are licensed in.

Market Withdrawal

Betting markets can be moved or withdrawn, and as a result, any outstanding bets placed will be cancelled.

One of the most common for this is at live betting sites, where the markets you can bet are constantly changing.

A good example is betting on player-specific prop bets. You might bet live on someone scoring a touchdown in the game, but they get injured in the warm-up, so this market is cancelled. Bets will be refunded for these types of scenarios.

What to Expect When Your Bet Gets Cancelled

If you’re asking why your bet was cancelled, then you’re probably wondering what happens next. We’ve outlined the process below.

  1. Notification to bettors: The betting site will start by reaching out to say that the bet has been cancelled. This may be through email, app notifications, or messages on the platform.
  2. Voiding of bet: In most cases, the bet will be voided and the original stake returned to you. It works as if the bet was never placed to begin with, with the full stake being refunded.
  3. Review of T&Cs: The reason the bet was cancelled should be outlined in the T&Cs. Ideally, the platform will highlight this in the notification but you can contact customer support for more information if not.
  4. Adjustment of future bets: For future bets on games that have been postponed and rearranged, most bets will carry over into the rescheduled game. However, bets placed on the outright winner or same-day bets will be cancelled and you can replace your bet on the new market. You may find that the odds are the same, but the bet terms will change, given that it’s a new date.
  5. Communication of next steps: Platforms must highlight how a cancelled market affects your account or future markets. Where the cancellation is based on technical errors or sport-specific reasons, no further action will likely occur. Where bets are cancelled due to a policy violation, you risk your account being limited, suspended, or even closed.

Procedures Followed to Rectify Errors

When the betting site is responsible for an error, there are procedures in place that will help you with this bet and any further bets. We’ve outlined these below:

  • Review and investigate: Most cancelled bets are reviewed, and the platform investigates any errors that have occurred. Most sites will contact you to say that an error has occurred and outline what they plan to do to rectify the issue.
  • Refund and re-bet options: The site will give you a full refund if the error is deemed to have come from their side. This includes technical and sports-specific errors. You will either be refunded or offered the option to roll your stake into a new betting market, if applicable.
  • Customer support and disputes: Betting sites will have a customer support section to help you understand why your bet was cancelled.
  • Compensation: It’s possible to get compensation in certain circumstances. This can be in the form of free bets, bonuses, or even direct financial compensation.

voided bet

How to Lodge an Appeal for a Cancelled Bet

If you think a bet you’ve placed has been wrongly cancelled, you have a right to appeal the decision. You can take several routes but we always recommend contacting the betting site first before taking further action.

Here are our guidelines on how to approach an appeal.

  • Create your case: Gather your account username, number, and bet details. All bets have a unique reference number, which you will need for the appeal. Explain why the bet should stand and ensure it hasn’t violated T&Cs.
  • Keep a copy of any notification: When the bet was cancelled, the betting site should have outlined the reasoning for the cancellation. Keep these handy, as you will need to disprove this.
  • Initial contact: Reach out to the customer service team and ask to speak with someone about an appeal for wrongly administered cancellation.
  • Put forward your case: Provide as much information as possible about your bet and why you think it was cancelled in error. Be calm and composed about the situation.
  • Case review: The team will then review your case and investigate the decision.
  • Feedback: Once the review has been finalized, the platform will give you feedback as to why this occurred. They will reimburse if it’s an obvious error, but if they maintain that the process was correct, it will not be overturned.
  • A gesture of goodwill: There are occasions when the betting site will offer compensation as a gesture of goodwill, even when the issue wasn’t their fault. This might range anywhere from a small free bet to a full refund, but remember that this is not mandatory and will range from site to site.

Appealing to Regulatory Bodies

If you’re at a point where the betting site has not overturned your bet cancellation, you can reach out to the relevant governing body. These regulatory bodies have departments that specifically deal with disputes.

They will require all the information linked to your bet so provide as much detail as possible, including any correspondence with the betting site.

Tips for Preventing Bet Cancellation

It’s tough to predict when a bet will be cancelled as, more often than not, there are outside factors beyond your control. However, there are some things you should do before placing a bet, which we’ve outlined below.

Keep up to date on platform rules

Keep up to date on platform rules

Terms and conditions can often change on a betting site, and it’s important to stay updated with what’s happening. You don’t need to reference the whole document, just sections related to cancelled or voided bets.

Understand betting limits

Understand betting limits

It’s key to know the maximum you can bet and win on each market. This information is easy to find in the site’s terms and changes for each sport. If the payout for your bet is large, it’s best to check to see whether you’re within the limits.

Avoid late bets

Avoid late bets

Make sure that bets are placed in good time. Markets will come with a slight delay, especially when betting live. If you’re waiting right up until the start of a game, that delay might mean the bet gets cancelled as the market moves from pre-game to live.

Keep notifications on

Keep notifications on

Have at least one outlet to tell you if any T&Cs have changed. The easiest is via email.

Double-check bet selections

Double-check bet selections

To avoid manually asking for a bet to be cancelled, check your bet slip before placing the bet. Check the pick, the odds, and your stake before you confirm.

Understand how odds work

Understand how odds work

This sounds basic, but not understanding how odds work is a common reason why bets get cancelled. You must know how much you’re returning from your stake and the odds before confirming the bet.

Use a betting calculator

Use a betting calculator

Most bet slips will show you your returns based on your stake, but we recommend using a betting calculator for those who don’t. This will allow you to see exactly how much you’re expected to get back from your bet and avoid placing bets that don’t align with your expectations.

FAQs

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Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.