Betfair to pay out on bets made in Leopardstown debacle

Betfair have decided to pay out on all bets made on the win market prior to the systems glitch occurring and all bets made on the place market, pre-race and in running. It looks as though this decision has been made to please the regulators and to try and help the company’s image but either way this is a fair result for all in my opinion. You can see the latest official post by Betfair here:

http://community.betfair.com/horse_racing/go/thread/view/94102/28835569/leopardstown-2pm-28th-december-update

This blog is new so you won’t have heard my view on the Leopardstown Incident on the 28th December, where a system’s glitch in Betfair’s software allowed one punter’s bot to lay a horse at 27’s for a lot of the race. This horse was favourite and never looked like losing and with 27s still available at the end of the race it was obvious something wasn’t right. The layer himself had little more than £1000 in their account and so the £600 million in bets they was offering to lay out (Nearly £2milllion of which was matched) could never have been paid out and anyone taking these bets would have been kidding themselves if they really thought they could ever stand.

So it is quite clear that there is no real argument and that Betfair did the only thing possible and voided the race. However, whether more legitimate bets should stand that had been made prior to the race and also in the place markets was up for debate. Obviously it can be quite difficult to determine which bets were placed in good faith after the error took place with some bots betting across markets but Betfair have decided to pay out on all place bets including in running ones to the completion of the race as well as all win bets before the time of the glitch. It did look like the place market was largely unaffected and judging by this result Betfair must have thought so too.

I and many others still have a problem with Betfair’s terminology though and that they cried ‘palpable error’ as their reason for paying out. Palpable error in the betting industry is generally accepted to mean obvious mistake where odds have been offered at a price that is clearly a mistake as they are so far off from being realistic.

This had been the case but Betfair have to be careful because we’ve all made mistakes accepting odds that are quite clearly wrong due to a slip of the finger or by being tricked by a trap bettor and we would never be able to cry ‘palpable error.’ The only reason bets matched at 27s could not stand is because the money didn’t exist and Betfair should have been more clear on this but at least a fair enough outcome for all seems to have been reached.