Australian betting giant Sportsbet has been ordered to pay out potentially millions of dollars on bets it was adjudged to have unfairly cancelled after an odds mix-up.
The gambling regulator in the Northern Territory, where Sportsbet holds its licence, told the operator it must honour the wagers made on Australian Football League (AFL) games in May despite it claiming that the attractive odds offered were “errors”.
Sportsbet accepted bets that no player would make 40 or more disposals in round-10 AFL matches. It then cancelled all the bets, telling punters it was exercising its rights under its terms and conditions to cancel bets due to “obvious or manifest errors”.
After several player complaints, the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) launched an investigation into the incident.
In a ruling issued on Thursday, the NTRC said that while it accepted Sportsbet’s contention that the odds were offered in error, the mistake would not necessarily have been discernible to the average Sportsbet customer with a reasonable knowledge of betting and of the sport of AFL.
It therefore found that the bets were legal and ordered Sportsbet to pay up. Various media reports suggest the ruling could cost Sportsbet up to AUS$9m.
A spokesman for Sportsbet said: “We acknowledge the NT Commission’s determination today and we will be topping up the accounts of the affected customers as soon as possible.”