Why you should know your betting rules

KNOW your Betting Rules… and there’s NO more surprises

Have you ever logged into your sports betting account only to find a big fat ZERO balance when you expected to see your moolah? Don’t worry because we’ve all been there!

It’s not impossible that your bet was settled incorrectly BUT it’s far more likely that you didn’t read the Betting Rules laid out by your bookie before placing your wager. Sometimes the truth hurts!

But if you know your Betting Rules and how all of your favourite bookies settle wagers for each sport means there won’t be any nasty surprises. It’s also important to remember that just because Bookie A settles bets differently from Bookie B, one is not always better than the next!

Let’s take you through some examples of how Betting Rules differ between South African bookies and look at how these would affect your sports betting winnings.


Below are two extracts from the Betting Rules for tennis from local bookies Sportingbet and World Sports Betting. You can see that in the Match Winner market, when a tennis match is not completed for any number of reasons, these bookies settle their tennis bets differently.


Let’s start by looking at the Sportingbet Betting Rules for tennis. Under the subheading ‘Match Prices’ you will see that all bets on the Match Winner stand as long as at least ONE SET has been completed. So if your player wins the first set before their opponent retires, then the bet is settled as a winner. But if the first set is not completed before the match is abandoned, then all bets are voided (stake returned).


The Tennis Betting Rules for World Sporting Betting (WSB) state that in the event of a match not being completed, all bets are VOIDED unless a player is disqualified. In the case of a player being disqualified, their opponent is declared the Match Winner for bet settlement purposes.

Another good example of how bookies settle bets differently is for Top 10/Top 20 markets in golf.


With Sportingbet, all ties are PAID IN FULL in the Top 10/Top 20 Finish market. So if your player makes it into the Top 10/Top 20 then no matter how many other players have the exact same score after 72 holes, your winnings are paid in full.

Under the first subheading of WSB’s Betting Rules for golf, it states if your player makes a Top 10/Top 20 Finish, then your winnings are calculated according to the DEAD-HEAT RULE. This means your payout is determined by how many other players (if any) have the exact same score after 72 holes.
But these Betting Rules don’t necessarily make WSB an inferior bookie for golf betting. For instance, WSB doesn’t pay ties in full like Sportingbet, but they could well offer better odds for your player in the Top 10/Top 20 market. So you might prefer to take the risk that your player won’t be tied after 72 holes and receive a bigger payout if you win because you got better odds!

Lastly, let’s look below at the example from Betway which shows the difference between the 1X2 and 2-way Match Winner markets in basketball. Strictly speaking this is not a Betting Rule but something to look out for because these markets are settled as if according to completely different Betting Rules.


The odds are slightly longer in the 1X2 when compared to the 2-Way Match Winner markets because bets on either side of the 1X2 market lose if the match is a Draw after the completion of regular time. Unlike in the 2-Way market, NO OVERTIME is included in the settlement of 1X2 bets. So if the scores are tied after regular time and you did not select the draw, then your bet is a loser.

The golden rule here is that if you want overtime to be included in your bet then you must always select the 2-Way Match Winner market at slightly shorter odds. This way, if the match is drawn after regular time, then you can still win the bet if your team gets the result in overtime.

What Betting Rules teach us punters, is to think carefully about how we like our bets to be settled before placing them with one bookie or another. There’s no use complaining after the match that we don’t like the way our bet was settled (as long as it is according to the site’s Betting Rules).

As sports bettors we should do our best to learn exactly how each bookie settles bets on different sports to help us decide where we put ours bets down – then there’s no sore losers and we can all be happy that everything is fair and square! Be sure to know your betting rules before you place a bet.

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This may not be the right forum. But I have a question on withdrawal rules. Some bookmakers ask for stamped bank statements before processing a withdrawal. Is this necessary for FICA?