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Can Bookmakers Cancel Winning Bets

Nothing can be anxiety-inducing to a bettor who won an incredible +340 moneyline with a $200 stake but later had it canceled.

Is it illegal for any sports betting sites to cancel wagers that have won? Can a bookmaker cancel a winning bet? We answer those questions as well as how to get help below.

Canceling Winning Bets

Cancelling winning bets

When a sports bet is canceled, it does not win or lose. Instead, it becomes void, and your stake is refunded to you.

Now that you know the basics, can bookies cancel a sports bet without you knowing about it first? There are numerous reasons why a bet is canceled, and it is out of the bookies’ hands. Unfortunately, bookies can cancel a bet without trouble with the law.

Note that cancellations of bets occur when a game is canceled. If this happens, it is usually a glitch in the system or an error where the wager becomes invalid. Bookies would not cancel anyone’s bet if a game went through as expected.

Another likely reason a bet will be canceled is when a game is postponed and rescheduled to another venue. When this occurs, all bets for that game are valid within 12 to 24 hours. All wagers are voided when the game occurs outside of the grace period. This scenario is the most common reason bettors think their wager is still valid when the match is completed after it was postponed.

Valid Reasons for Cancelling Bets

Bettors failing to check whether their bets are valid a day or hours before the match is usually the main reason they think an operator would cancel their bets. To prepare you for that scenario, here are common scenarios when a bookie cancels everyone’s bets and why they will close winning accounts.

Cancelled Games

There is no way to know if an outcome will come true when there is no game. All wagers are officially invalid when an official announces the game will not continue in the set schedule.

The game can be canceled by many factors, such as significant floods around the stadium’s area, making it hard for the athletes, officials, and audience to reach the venue. There could also be an earthquake that can threaten everyone’s safety.

Note that there is a difference between postponed and canceled games. Postponed matches will not automatically cancel all wagers unless it proceeds within the sportsbook’s allowed grace period. On the other hand, all wagers are automatically voided if a match is officially canceled.

Technical Errors

Every primary website can experience a technical issue from time to time. When this happens, there is a chance your wagers are affected by this problem.

When talking about technical errors, this usually means a problem connecting to the server where the US or UK gambling site is hosted. Losing connection to the server can result in various errors, such as incorrect market prices. These errors are common among prop bet odds. For advantage bettors, this is a “holy grail” in terms of a rarity since the prices for these odds have a shallow house edge. Naturally, bookies will immediately fix this issue and cancel wagers made before the prices are corrected.

An excellent way to avoid this inconvenience is to be aware of market prices that are too good to be authentic. These bets include Stephen Curry having the most 3-points in a game with odds of +600, which is likely to happen given his skills in previous NBA games.  

Possible Illegal Activities

Bookies are always on the lookout for suspicious betting behavior within their platforms. If the platform red flags your bet, the operator will cancel it.

Arbitrage betting is a type of wager that ensures a profit no matter the match’s outcome. This process involves placing a back bet on sports betting sites and a lay bet on exchange sites. A sportsbook platform is set to find specific betting patterns to spot arbitrage bets. Part of the pattern includes the bet amount, the time it took place, and the IP address of the bettor.

Change of Venue

Changing the venue of a game usually means postponing it. Remember that all bets are valid when a game is postponed as long as it is held well within a sportsbook’s grace period of around 12 to 24 hours.

A venue change cancels bets because a sportsbook grace period has elapsed. Unfortunately, most bettors believe their wagers are still valid if they hear the game has been rescheduled at another establishment.

Player Injuries

Injuries are one of the reasons why bookmakers change the odds of a market. For bookmakers, injuries are a big deal, especially if they are one of the team’s high-performance players. If it is only a single person or a few individuals, the match can still play out as scheduled and make all game wagers valid. However, prop bets counting on an injured player’s performance are canceled.

Another scenario to consider is when several players in any team are injured or cannot participate in the match. When this occurs, the game is canceled and rescheduled until the players are back on their feet or the proper substitutes can fill their shoes. Naturally, all wagers are canceled if this scenario occurs.

What To Do When a Winning Bet is Cancelled

Staying calm and not panicky is the first thing you should do when your wager is canceled despite the scheduled game. Even if the payout of your wager amounts to more than $10,000, there are no reputable bookies who would be petty enough to cancel anyone’s wager to save money. Their reputation is far more valuable than money since they need it for others to place bets on their platform.

The second step is to contact customer support. Canceled wagers can be due to an error in the system that an operator did not foresee. Your best chance of validating your winning bet is through a sports betting site’s support team. An agent or staff will work closely with the people operating and maintaining the platform to help you.

If the issue is not yet resolved and customer support cannot provide a good reason for your bet to be voided, the third step is to make a complaint to the correct office. This step depends on the sports betting platform’s license provider since all regulators have different methods to handle complaints. As a side note, this situation is why you should always look for a licensed UK or US sports betting site.

Regulation offices have a specific place for you to complain about an operator canceling a winning bet. For example, in the case of the UKGC, you can find that procedure under the “Complaints” section. From there, look for the “Complain About a Gambling Business” where bettors with issues with their accounts or money can find help.

It will help your case if you have sufficient evidence regarding the transaction of your canceled wagers for the third step. This evidence includes a screenshot of your wager or notification regarding that bet on your email or account. Once you submit the proper paperwork, it will take several weeks to hear from the regulation office regarding the progress of your complaint.

Canceled wagers, including winning bets, can occur without any notifications. It is up to the bettors to verify that their bets are still valid before a game takes place. If the game went on as scheduled and you find your winning wager was canceled, you can still get help through the site’s customer support team.

This article was published on October 12, 2022, and last updated on October 6, 2022.

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