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Sports Betting: The Essential Rules

Haven't taken the time to read your bookmakers "Rules" section? In this section, you'll learn the key facts that you need to know before betting with your bookmaker.

Access the rules for: Sports betting: general rules Football Tennis NBA NFL Ice Hockey and the NHL Cricket The dead heat rule

Sports Betting: General Rules

  • Setting the odds:

Once you've placed your bet, your betting slip shows the confirmed odds of the bet, which are unchangeable regardless of what happens afterwards.

  • Match called off:

Your stake is refunded if you bet on an event which is later called off.

Football: Bookmakers' rules

  • Match abandoned:

If a match is abandoned by the referee, any bets on the final result are usually cancelled, unless a decision regarding the definitive result of the match is issued by a competent authority. This rule does not apply if the result of a bet was already known when the match was abandoned. For example, a bet on the score at the end of the first half is totally valid if the match is abandoned in the 70th minute.

  • Change of venue:

Your bet is maintained if the match venue is unexpectedly changed, unless the match is transferred to the ground belonging to the team that was supposed to be playing away from home.

  • Cup-ties:

If you're betting on a cup match, it is the result of the match before any extra-time is played that counts. If you want to bet on the team that will qualify for the next round, you should opt for betting "to qualify".

Tennis: Bookmakers' rules

What happens if a tennis match is abandoned? Some bookmakers decide to maintain the bet, whereas others refund the stakes and some consider the bet to be valid if more than one set has been played.

NBA: Bookmakers' rules

Bookmakers generally apply the same rules: it is the full-time result that is taken into account, overtime included.

NFL: Bookmakers' rules

In general, it is the full-time result that is taken into account by the bookmakers, overtime included.

Ice Hockey and the NHL: Bookmakers' rules

Bookmakers apply different rules. Some take account of the result after overtime while others use the score before overtime as their reference. Be sure to check the rules applied by your bookmaker before placing your bet.

Cricket: Bookmakers' rules

The bookmakers' rules are not consistent.

Dead Heat Rule

Unless your bookmaker mentions otherwise, the dead heat rule applies if several competitors finish in a dead heat when this was not allowed for in the original bet.

In such a case, the profit is calculated in the following way:

Profit = (stake / number of winning forecasts) * odds - stake

For example, two competitors finish in a dead heat, and you have placed a bet of 10 euros at odds of 3 on one of the two winning competitors. The dead heat rule applies.

You make a profit of 5 euros: 10/2*3-10 = 5 euros