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Can you get a refund if you place a bet accidentally?

There are many reasons someone could make a bet accidentally. Perhaps you had a pint or two which clouded your judgement and led you to make a bet you would have otherwise never dreamed of making. Perhaps you weren’t fully awake, so you clicked the New York Jets to win when you meant to bet on the New York Giants. Perhaps when you meant to bet £10, you accidentally added another 0. What about before you clicked ‘confirm’ you had a change of heart but accidentally clicked it anyway?

Although it is possible to get a refund on an accidental bet, your chances are very slim.

While reading this, you will find out how you can potentially get a refund by asking the bookmakers. Then, if they do not offer a refund, you can read about the alternative of getting cash back – or getting refunded if you have a history of gambling addiction. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, betting sites can cancel and reverse bets when it works for them, which will also be discussed in this article.

How to go about getting a refund

Although bookmakers have a legal obligation not to cancel a bet once it has been placed (assuming there is nothing suspicious or assuming they haven’t made any mistakes with the odds), they can still help you by declaring the bet void. In this case, you will get a full refund for the bet.

First of all, you will need to contact the bookmaker immediately so go on live chat with them or call them. Calling them is preferred as it is quicker and there is less likely to be a waiting time – and it is very important that the wait is as short as possible as you will discover throughout the article. The longer you wait, the smaller your chances are of getting a refund. This is because the longer you wait, the more information you may have found which will put you at an advantage over other betters. It may look like you are backing out of the bet because you are no longer confident in your decision and do not want to risk losing your money.

For example, if you find out last minute that the star player of the team you are betting on isn’t going to be playing because they are ill, this extra information will lead the bookmaker to change the odds which would make your bet less likely to succeed. In this instance, if you ask for a refund the bookmaker is likely to think that you are no longer confident in your bet, and do not think the bet is still worth it.

If the odds of the bet have changed, then this is an indicator that more information has become available which will make the outcome you want more or less likely to happen. Therefore, the sooner you ask for a refund, the more likely you are to get it as the odds are less likely to have changed.

Now it is important to note that your bookie does not actually need to cancel the bet and it’s actually in their favour to not cancel in order to collect the customer’s transaction fee. However, some bookies may give you the benefit of the doubt and choose to refund you. This is completely up to the bookie’s discretion though. The best you can do is keep a cool head and provide the customer service with a screenshot or other appropriate evidence, along with your account number, username and bet ID. Unfortunately, if they say no there is nothing you can do and you will be forced to look for other alternatives.

Cashing out of the bet is usually available and if you do it quickly enough, you will probably lose only a small amount of your original bet. The following paragraphs will explain how to go through this process in the most effective way.

So, the bookmaker refused to refund me, is there any other alternative?

If you are still waiting for the outcome of the bet, you may still have a chance to cash out. This option is not always offered by betting sites however, so make sure you have found out if your betting site offers it. If it is not available, you are out of options and will unfortunately have to just take this as a learning opportunity to be more careful when placing the bet in the first place.

However, if the cash back is available, be quick to collect it. The sooner you are to collect it, the more likely you are to get it back. If you immediately notice you made a mistake, you will likely only lose a very small amount on the bet from the cash back due to the initial fee. The longer you wait, more information and results will start coming in which will cause the cash out to keep falling, or even disappear as an option altogether. This is not ideal, so if the bookie refuses to refund you, cash out immediately. If you don’t cut your losses and keep holding on to the bet in the hope you can cash out more, you are likely to lose more than necessary, so don’t do this!

For example, imagine it’s the 1st of June 2019, you’re in the pub with your mates and Tottenham is about to play against Liverpool for the UEFA Champions League Final. You somehow accidentally click and confirm for Tottenham to win when you wanted to bet on Liverpool to win. You then contacted your bookie but were refused a refund. Cash out! Only 2 minutes into the game, Salah scored a penalty putting Liverpool up 1-0. After this goal, the cash back would have fallen massively as the chance of Tottenham now winning, and thus you winning your bet would have fallen massively. This highlights the importance of cashing out early when you mistakenly go into a bet you don’t think you should be in.

What if a cash out is unavailable or you have waited to long and will only get a very small cash out? In this case, it is too late and you are just going to have to take the financial hit. Think of it positively, this experience will make you more careful about making a bad bet accidentally in the future so perhaps some good can come out of the bad situation.

Why doesn’t the bookmaker just cancel since they reserve the right to cancel once any bet has been made?

Unfortunately, while it is impossible for you to cancel a bet once you have placed it, the betting site can sometimes cancel a bet whenever they want. When you sign up to bet with a company, part of their terms and conditions will sometimes involve the right to make any transaction/bet void. There is nothing that can be done about this as the company is the one who sets the rules. If you don’t like it you are free to use another betting site, however they likely have the same company policy. This does seem very unfair and completely to a betting site’s advantage, but it is also very rare for a transaction to be cancelled or reversed and there are many legitimate reasons for why the company may choose to do this. For example, the bookie could cancel if the odds that were offered are incorrect or if they notice any suspicious activity with the event or with any bets that you may have made.

An extra chance for those with a gambling addiction

So far, we assume the customer looking for a refund has no previous history of gambling addiction. If you are addicted to gambling you may want to inform your bookie or an organisation which helps people quit gambling. Bookmakers do not want to get a bad reputation, and if they are seen to be taking advantage of customers with gambling addictions, they may lose a lot of customers, or even their job. This is especially the case because the bookmaker could get in trouble with the UK gambling commission or any other gambling authorities for not refunding you, or even for allowing you to have an account and deposit in the first place.

If you haven’t already notified your bookie, this may not work for this accidentally placed bet because it may look like you are giving some sort of excuse to get your money back. However, notify them anyway, as if it happens again in the future, or if something similar happens you may get refunded. Restrictions may also be put on your account to stop you betting too much, or you could use GAMSTOP. This is a free service that lets you put controls in place to help restrict your online gambling activities.

Carl Hughes - Editor

Carl Highes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".