Know your Sports Betting Rules and Terms

For most of us, reading through pages and pages of Betting Rules feels like too much hard work. We already have enough responsibilities in our adult life and T&Cs are the last thing on our mind when we’re having a bit of fun betting on the weekend!

But here’s why Betting Rules are important. Getting familiar with the terms and conditions on any betting site can help prevent any nasty surprises when things don’t turn out as expected. We’re not only talking here about how bookies determine whether bets win and lose. General rules you should know about also apply to being a customer and claiming promotions like deposit bonuses and money-back offers.

It’s Important To Know Your Betting Rules and What They Mean

Luckily, Betting Rules are like riding a bike, once you know how to do it, you’re all set. We’ll go over the different types of T&Cs which apply to betting sites, explain a few betting markets that often trip punters up and give you easy examples to show how bet settlements for specific markets vary from one bookie to the next. 

What Are General Terms and Conditions?

Most online South African bookmakers have a list of General T&Cs which set out the rights and responsibilities for users of their site. When a customer signs up for a betting account, they sign a digital contract with the operator promising to adhere to these requirements. The customer is usually asked to check a box confirming they have read and agree to these terms before they can activate their account.

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Where To Find General Terms and Conditions

Most of us want to start betting immediately after registering an account and that’s completely understandable! But it’s always a good idea to go back and read the T&Cs of your betting account when you have time.

The General T&Cs can usually be viewed somewhere on the site, often through a link called ‘Terms and Conditions’ or ‘Betting Rules’. Some bookmakers are guilty of hiding these pages away from customers, but as a whole, bookies are more transparent than they used to be. If you can’t find the T&Cs anywhere on the site, contact customer support and they should be able to help you.

General Terms and Conditions You Should Know

While the specific details in relation to General Terms and Conditions can vary across betting sites, some rules apply to South African bookies across the board and are definitely worth keeping in mind:

  • All customers must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Only one account is allowed per customer.
  • Accounts must be verified (FICA documents required) before a withdrawal can be requested.
  • Maximum payout limits per sport, per market, always apply.
  • No bets can be cancelled once placed by the customer.
  • Bets on events that have already started are only valid for in-play wagering where the odds are subject to change.
  • Multiple bets which combine different selections within the same event are not accepted if the outcome of one directly affects the other. (Build-A-Bet and Bet Builder bets excluded)

In light of the recent controversy around the Betradar odds pricing error which resulted in many unhappy Betway and Hollywoodbets customers, here are some more standard T&Cs worth remembering:

  • Where a palpable error or system failure results in an incorrect odds or handicap, the bookmaker reserves the right to void any bets on those matches or markets.
  • The bookmaker reserves the right to amend any odds or results wrongly processed which caused a customer’s account to be credited in error, and adjust their balance accordingly.
  • Any funds credited to a customer’s account in error are not available for use, and the bookmaker reserves the right to void any related transactions.
  • The bookmaker reserves the right to suspend any market should they suspect irregular betting patterns or foul play.
  • The bookmaker reserves the right to close or suspend a customer’s account if they have breached any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions.

What Are Promotional Terms and Conditions?

Rules also apply to new and existing customer promotions such as deposit bonuses, money-back specials or enhanced odds. 

Where To Find Promotional Terms and Conditions

You can usually find the T&Cs for all special offers listed on your bookmaker’s promotions page. This information will either be included in the details of the promotion or through a link called ‘Read More’ or ‘Terms and Conditions’ somewhere on the page.

Promotional Terms and Conditions You Should Know

While there are always rules specific to any promotion, some T&Cs which apply to almost all customer offers, include:

  • Only new customers are eligible for welcome offers or first deposit bonuses (previous account holders are excluded). 
  • Where specified, only deposits/bets made within the defined time frame will qualify for any promotion.
  • All bonuses come with wagering requirements which must be met before you can make a withdrawal. 
  • Only bets made on qualifying markets and odds will count towards wagering.
  • For some promotions, if a customer places more than one qualifying bet, only the first bet placed is eligible.
  • Customers only qualify for one free bet per person, per household, per email address (or IP-address).
  • Free Bets usually cannot be used in conjunction with other offers.
  • The free bet stake is not included in any returns and is non-withdrawable.
  • All odds boosts have a maximum win value which applies.
  • All money-back specials have a maximum refund which applies.
  • The bookmaker reserves the right to revoke a promotion at any time, for any reason, without previous notification.
  • The bookmaker reserves the right to exclude and/or limit the availability of a promotion to certain customers.
  • The General Terms and Conditions also apply to any promotions offered on the site.

What Are Betting Market Rules?

Betting market rules are the rules which apply to the settlement of your bets as a customer. We recommend learning how a market works before betting and also how your bookie settles bets on different markets because it’s not always the same across the board. 

Where To Find Betting Market Rules

The Betting Rules for different markets are often listed on the bookmaker’s site along with the General Terms and Conditions. Explanations or definitions of betting markets available can also appear under/alongside the odds or behind an information (i) button once the full list of betting markets has been fully expanded.

Commonly Confused Soccer Betting Markets

It can take years of playing to understand the mechanics of how every bet works but some markets tend to trip punters up more than others. Let’s take you through two quick examples of betting markets which can be confusing and help you better understand them:

Who Wins The Rest Of The Match

This is an in-play betting market for soccer, whereby the score is reset to 0-0 at the time of the bet being placed. The result depends on which team scores more goals from that point onwards. What can confuse punters is they see big odds being offered on the winning team when there isn’t much time left on the clock. According to the rules of this market, the winning team is no longer ahead as soon as the bet is placed and from that moment they must score more goals than their opponents before the match is over for the bet to win. 

Asian Handicaps

Most of us are familiar with European handicap markets in soccer, where goals are either added or subtracted from the selected team. With Asian handicaps, the three possible outcomes of a soccer match are reduced to just two and if the bet ends in a ‘handicap draw’, then your stake is refunded. For example, if you bet a -1 Asian handicap, your team must win by two goals for your bet to be paid out in full. But if they win by just one goal, your full stake will be refunded (not lost). Similarly, if you bet a +1 Asian Handicap, your team must win or draw to be paid out in full. But if they lose by just one goal, your full stake will be refunded (not lost).

How Some Bookies Settle Bets Differently

At Sportingbet, if a tennis match is abandoned, all bets on the Match Winner market stand as long as at least one set has been completed. So if your player wins the first set and 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 and your stake is refunded.

At WSB, however, all tennis bets on the Match Winner market are voided if the match is abandoned for any reason except for disqualification. So even if your player wins the first set, your bet will be voided if their opponent retires. Only in the case of a player being disqualified, will their opponent be declared the Match Winner for bet settlement purposes.

By now you’ll see that when we take the time to read and properly understand how a specific betting market or promotion works, we can save ourselves a lot of money, anger and frustration. So bite the bullet and read through the terms and conditions listed on every betting site you use, because you’ll be grateful you took the time to do it in the long run!

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Are you a betting rules expert with good info you’d like to share? Are there any T&Cs you hate and want to tell us why? Use the comments section below!

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