How To Protect Yourself From A Palpable Error

April 21, 2011 | 5 Comments More

We’ve had one member who got hit by a ‘palpable error’ rule when betting. This is a little known safe guard that protects bookies when they make a mistake.

But there are ways to try and protect yourself and potentially profit should this happen to you.

You see, all bookmakers have a rule that states they can void a bet if a palpable error has been made in the price they offered. That’s fair enough.

If a hapless bookmaker’s employee types 20/1 on his company’s internet site for a tennis player to beat another, when he should have typed 2/1, we shouldn’t have too many complaints.

Though most errors aren’t as stark as that, when they do occur it’s still usually obvious that something is wrong somewhere and investors should be wary.

For example, when put these prices up for two players in a tennis match, 4/7 and 9/4, they were making an arb with themselves!

That means you could bet on both outcomes with the same firm and make money.  It was clear one of the prices was wrong, and that Sportingodds might bring in the error rule.

Now the palpable error rule is ambiguous and is open to interpretation. Some firms in their terms and conditions set the rules clearly, others don’t, they just quote the normal rules as standard.

So if you look at the detail you can find it confusing.

There have been calls in the past to clarify and refine the terminology industry wide. But as yet this hasn’t happened but really it should be deemed what is an obvious error or mistake. 

If something seems obviously wrong then take caution.

But as Nick Ross on Crimewatch would say, ‘don’t have nightmares’. Palpable error disputes are rare, and in fact most punters will never be exposed to such a thing. But I always feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So here are two ways to avoid getting your bet adjusted on a palpable error rule:

First – if a price looks really wrong compared to other offers in the market place, strike your bet by telephone, and ask for confirmation that the price on offer is indeed accurate.

If you do this and the bet is accepted then you stand more chance of no ‘palable error’ being called, or if it is then some goodwill gesture or settlement.

Second – stick with the reputable firms, they won’t call ‘palpable error’ unless they have really made one.

If you are betting with Uk firms then you should be fine and most international companies now wouldn’t dream of calling an error unless there is a genuine reason to do so.

The ‘palpable’ rule is in the book to protect firms from paying out large sums when their employees make genuine mistakes, but the likes of Ladbrokes, Hills and Corals will often offer to settle these rare ‘palpable errors’ with a discretionary payment.

So if they call one – it’s worth asking to see where you stand.  You never know, you might just get paid out or at least a little something for your trouble.

It’s unlikely that you will ever have a palpable error dispute, but if you do, and if you feel that the bookmaker is being unreasonable, get in touch with IBAS.

The initials stand for Independent Betting Arbitration Service, and this industry-supported body will look into both sides of the question, and arbitrate between you and the bookmaker.

Every bookmaking firm worth having a bet with (over 90% of all firms) is signed up to IBAS, and will agree to their arbitration.

PO Box 62639, LONDON EC3P 3AS
Tel: 020 7347 5883,

So if a palpable error gets called on something you think is genuine, then make sure you question it with the bookie first. Then if no joy speak with the IBAS. 

If you stick to these basic rules you shouldn’t get caught out.

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Category: Betting

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