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Anger as Betfair Void Christmas Hurdle Bets

Amid the controversy going on at Betfair it has become known that they are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Gambling Commission. Since they moved offshore in March 2011 the Gambling Commission has been recommending that punters contact the Independent Betting Adjudication Service for any help they may need.

After a customer was exposed for £600 million, Betfair’s decision to void all in-running bets has cause significant customer anger.

This has come to light after Betfair decided to void all in-running bets on last Wednesday’s Christmas Hurdle at Peopardstown. The bookies took this step after it was found that a customer with less than £1,000 in his account was able to offer to lay the winner Voler La Vedette at 28-1 meaning that he was exposed for £600 million. In the end the bets matched totalled £23 million and there is now an unpleasant confrontation going on between Betfair and their customers.

According to Betfair CEO Stephen Morana the bet was placed through the bookies API (Application Programming Interface) using an automated program, also known as a bot. A fault in the bot led to a large number of bets being placed on the Exchange, all of the bets were large and mispriced. The Betfair system is designed to prevent customers betting unless they have enough money to cover their maximum liability.

As the customer had less than £1000 in their account none of the bets placed should have been accepted. The bets were only accepted due to a technical problem with the exchange database which led to the bet being shown on the website.

Whilst no one is happy that the bets have been made void, it seems that this is a fairly unique occurrence. It is definitely worth punters taking note that sites which are licensed abroad are not under the jurisdiction of the Gambling Commission. However, as angry customers complain it will be interesting to see how this case develops over the coming week.

OCA News Editor

Christian Bright is a professional sports commentator with keen interests in football, tennis and horse racing. His experience in the reporting on professional sports makes him a key asset to OCA’s coverage of athletic events and matches.

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