Australian operator Sportsbet is being held responsible for a large number of wagers it had cancelled after claiming the odds were posted erroneously. It’s a rare example of an operator of any kind being held to account for wagers cancelled under terms like, “obvious or manifest errors”.

The imbroglio over the cancelled wagers started when Sportsbet posted an Australian Football League (AFL) proposition bet that punters couldn’t refuse. The question was whether any AFL player would have more than 40 disposal penalties during the tenth round of the 2019 season. Since almost no players have had that many disposal penalties (a penalty for illegally moving the ball) in one round, punters were all over the prop.

Recognizing what they’d done, Sportsbet officials called off the wager using their right to cancel out when there were, “obvious or manifest errors” in the proposition. This method usually works for casinos and sportsbooks, but the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) was having none of it.

They ruled that the “error” Sportsbet thought had occurred wasn’t egregious enough to warrant cancelling the wagers. In their reasoning, they noted similar odds were posted for other prop bets and that the error wasn’t so great that it would be noticeable to the average player. In their official statement the NTRC said, “…it is arguable that it would not be outrageous to see the prices offered in error on offer”.

In a statement reported on by the Sydney Morning Herald, Sportsbet officials accepted the ruling saying, “We acknowledge the NT Commission’s determination today and we will be topping up the accounts of the affected customers as soon as possible.”

Though there’s been no official statement on how much the error/not an error will cost Sportsbet, estimates range as high as $9 million.


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