How Sportsbooks Handle the Unexpected

Almost every time you decide that you want to bet on any given event, everything is going to go just as planned. You’ll fill out and submit your betting slip correctly, the event in question will take place, the result will be determined and that’s it! You’ll either win or lose some money!

Rarely, but every once in a while, things can actually go wrong with you, the betting site itself, or even the event itself on the field or in the court.

So what happens when the unexpected happens?

In this article, we will discuss various “what if” scenarios that you may encounter while you’re doing some wagering and what could happen as a result.

But first, let’s get into a bit about what determines the outcomes in situations like these with:

The Betting Policies For Your Chosen Sportsbook

By the very definition, “what if” scenarios are not going to be straightforward. Because there are no cut-and-dried answers that are going to apply across the board in a complex situation, each sportsbook may choose to handle them differently. This is where it’s very important to note that every sportsbook has its own policy.

So, just because one site has a response to a situation like dead heat, another may treat it completely differently. Likewise, a site may have a policy in the case of a postponed match while another one just doesn’t, and so on! For these reasons we cannot tell you what will happen for a specific situation because it will depend not only on the situation itself, but also specifically where you are playing.

We can get into hypotheticals though, that way you know what to look up when you’re skimming through the terms of your chosen betting sites!

We will also go over some example policies for some scenarios as set by our recommended betting sites.

Without blabbing on any further, let’s go ahead and get right into it!

Some “What If” Situations To Be Aware Of When You Are Betting On Sports

Once again, these are just some “What If” moments that we thought of ourselves. Make sure that wherever you choose to do your betting that you understand their specific terms. We just want to know that you’re placing smart bets at legitimate, honest sportsbooks and that as long as you’re following their rules, when you win you will get paid!

What Happens If An Event Moves From One Venue To Another?

Sometimes an event may be planned for a venue but something else happens where it ultimately cannot take place. The event may still unfold as scheduled, but it was at a different location. At that point, what happens to the bet(s) that you placed?


Bovada, (one of our favorites by the way!) has certain rules set out in sections that pertain individually to different sports. If you were to look at their soccer betting rules you would see this venue change policy:

Venue Change:

“If a match venue is changed (other than to the away team’s location, then wagers already placed will stand, provided the home team is still the home team. If the home team and away team for a listed match are reversed (e.g., the match is played at the original away team’s ground), then wagers placed based on the original match listing will be graded as “No Action”.”

In summary, Bovada usually does not cancel any wagers in the event of a venue change. The exception is if the away team will now be playing at home and vice versa.

Using Bovada as an example here, you can scroll down to “Terms of Service” and check out all of their rules. Any legitimate sportsbook will do the same!


Over at Cloudbet, you would find this policy regarding venue changes:

For any team sport:

“If the scheduled venue is changed after the market is loaded, all bets will be void only if the new venue is a home ground of the original away team.”

For all categories or markets other than team sports:

“If the scheduled venue is changed after the market is loaded, all bets will stand.
If there is a change in the type of scheduled surface after the market has been loaded, all bets will stand.”

As you can see, the policy at Cloudbet is similar to the one at Bovada.


Everygame tends to be pretty specific about its policies. Here are some examples of what you would find there:

For Tennis:

“Match Betting All bets are deemed action only if the required number of sets as determined by the particular Tournament Rules are completed. If a player (or players) fails to start a match or retires or is disqualified during a match before its completion, then bets on that match, other than those which have been irrevocably determined, are void. In the event of a match being delayed, all bets will stand unless the match is officially abandoned. Bets stand regardless of any change of venue or court surface.”

For Rugby:

“6.27.1 General Unless otherwise stated all Rugby bets are settled on 80 minutes play. The term 80 minutes play includes any stoppage time. If a venue is changed from the one advertised, then all bets on that match are void. In the event of a change of opponent from the one advertised, then all bets for that match are void.”

For Aussie Rules:

“If the match venue is changed, we reserve the right to void betting.”

As you can see from the above, if you’re over at Everygame and you want to know more about what would happen if there were a venue change on an event you’re betting on, you’re going to want to head on over and look to see what the rules are on the specific type of event it is!


Much of what can be said about the previous sportsbooks and their “venue change” policies can be said about BetOnline.

Something that we found kind of interesting is their take on Horse Racing:

Horse Racing:

“For Horse Match-Ups when a Race is moved from Turf to Dirt or vice versa all wagers are void. In Horses Daily when a Race is moved from Turf to Dirt or vice versa all wagers are void and a new market will be created.”

It looks as though for just about all of their Horse Racing action, the wagers will be canceled and voided when the turf gets changed to dirt or the other way around. Whether or not there will be a new market created depends on exactly what kind of race it was to begin with!

What Happens If An Event Needs To Be Canceled On Account Of The Weather?

And this section here isn’t justwhat type of bet it is. Here are some examples in that area.


We have already touched on the fact that Everygame is among the best at really specifying what they’ll do in the case of an oddity.

Here is one of their relevant rules:

“If a game in your parlay is postponed, canceled, ends in a ‘push’ or is refunded for whatever reason (eg, change of venue), then your parlay will be evaluated on the games left that still have action. For example, a four team parlay will automatically become a three team parlay and so on, and the odds will be reduced accordingly from a four team parlay to a three team parlay and so on.”

Here is another:

“If a game or selection in your round robin is postponed, canceled, ends in a ‘push’ or is refunded for whatever reason (eg, change of venue), neutral odds of 1.0 are awarded and the round robin will be evaluated on the games left that still have action.”

And another:

“Ante Post/Futures bets will only be refunded if the entire game/tournament is canceled.”


Now let’s take a look at a cancellation policy from BetOnline. You’re going to see that once again, not only does the type of wager impact the policy, so does the sport itself!

For Hockey:

“If any game is suspended or canceled before it becomes official, after fifty-five (55) minutes of play, the grand salami will be no action.”

Now, something to keep in mind is that it’s rare, very rare, for a match or a game to be canceled outright. Most sporting events are far more likely to be rescheduled. So, you will find much more details about postponement than you will cancellations.

What Happens If An Event Needs To Be Postponed For Any Reason?

Since the subject of postponement came up, we need to talk about that and what a couple of the sites would do in this area.


Here are some of the policies pertaining to rescheduled or postponed events over at BetOnline.

Auto Racing:

“If for any reason a race is delayed or postponed, action for all wagers will remain for 48 hours. In the event that the delay should last more than 48 hours, all wagers are canceled and the stakes refunded.”


“Should a game be abandoned or postponed for any reason and is not completed within 24 hours of the scheduled start time then all wagers will be considered void.”


“If a game is abandoned or postponed for any reason, all wagers will stand provided the game is played or re-started within 24 hours of the original kickoff time. If the game is not played or re-started within 24 hours then all wagers will be considered void with the exception of 1st half wagers if they have already been settled.”


This is Cloudbet’s general policy for postponed events:

“If a match does not start on the scheduled starting date or starts but is later abandoned and is not completely (resumed) by the end of the next full day, all bets will be void except for any bets played on markets which have been unconditionally determined, which will stand.”

Needless to say, some markets are going to have different rules and these are all going to be listed under each sport or market, so long as you’re doing your gambling at a safe, honest, and trustworthy sportsbook!

A postponed game between the Mets and the Marlins. If you’re into the idea of betting on the MLB, get used to the idea of a lot of that!

What About In The Case Of Dead Heat?

So far you have seen that policies can vary just a little, or quite differently depending on exact situations, matches, types of bets, etc etc.

In the case of a tie however, while rules can still vary in the sportsbooks, most policies are similar in this area, they just seem to kind of go about it in different ways. Let’s go ahead and get a look at some examples for Dead Heat!


Cloudbet has this policy for Dead Heat:

“For each bet matched on a relevant winning selection, the stake money is first reduced in proportion by multiplying it by the sum of the number of winners, divided by the number of actual winners (i.e. stake multiplied by (number of winners expected/number of actual winners). The winnings are then paid to the successful backers on this ‘reduced stake’ (reduced stake multiplied by traded price).”

Wait, wait, what?

Maybe it’s in the way it’s worded, but this seems to be a rather complicated policy, especially for any newcomers to betting on sports. In an effort to simplify it, the site also provides this example:

“For example, assume there is a dead heat for first place between three horses. ‘Client A’ has backed one of the winners for a stake of 300 at the traded price of 4.0. When the event is settled, the stake (300) is multiplied by 1/3 (i.e. the number of expected winners (1) divided by the number of actual winners (3)) to calculate the reduced stake (100). The backer then receives the traded price matched (4.0) multiplied by the reduced stake (4 x 100 = 400). In this example, Client A’s net winnings are 100 (400 payout minus the original 300 stake).”

Okay, that does help to clear it up a little bit!

If you need to, go ahead and read that again. It will start to make sense, we promise!


Over at Everygame, it essentially comes down to how many people actually won any given event.

According to their site:

“1.3.17 Dead Heat Rule: If for any reason whatsoever, more than one individual or team are declared winners of the same game or event, the stake for the purposes of pay-outs shall be divided by the number of winners declared. For example, if two winners are declared, the stake shall be halved. If three winners are declared, the stake shall be divided by three.”


BetOnline is very much like others where there will be different Dead Heat rules for each sport!

Here is an example for the game of Golf:

“For golf wagers containing more than two participants (3 balls or groups) where two or more players tie for the same place the dead heat rule is applied as follows:
The wager is reduced according to how many players tie and is then applied to the full odds with the remainder of the stake deemed as lost.”

For example, 2 players tie:

  • You wager $100 at odds of +200 and 2 players tie for the same position
  • Half the stake is lost -$50
  • The other half wins and is paid the same odds. So $50 wins at +200

For example, 3 players tie:

  • If 3 players tie for the same position then
  • Two thirds of the stake is lost -$66.66
  • The remaining third $33.33 wins

Like everything else involved in sports betting, just make sure that you actually check out the Terms and Conditions over at whichever sportsbook you ultimately decide to use!

What If Something Unfair Has Taken Place In A Match Or A Race

Thrown matches, corruption among judges, just flat-out cheating, are all less common than one might assume, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t happened. So what happens in that event?

That’s a great question!

Getting into this was a little rough just because it was a bit difficult to track down these policies, probably because it’s so rare for the need for these to go into effect!

We were able to find one good example below from the good folks over at:


This is according to Cloudbet themselves:

“When a game or sporting event has or is suspected of having any irregularities the Operator may withhold payments until a full investigation by the relevant governing body/independent authority.”

Pete Rose in 1989 –
I just wanted to make a few extra bucks, so sue me.
Oh, wait! Don’t!

What About Technical Problems?

What happens if a technical error comes up when you’re placing your wagers at your sportsbook, even just a simple human error? While extremely rare, it can happen!

Sometimes there can be an unexpected event that takes place that actually has nothing to do with what’s going on with the teams, the players, the venues, the field, anything of the sort! Instead, it may have something to do with you and the sportsbook!

For example, maybe it’s a technical error that causes you an issue such as your bet being filled at the wrong time, or with the wrong odds.

Maybe it’s just a simple human-made error! In one of these situations, who or what is to blame? Let’s get a look at a few of our sportsbook friends for examples of these policies.


Cloudbet will come out and explain when it will and will not void a bet for reasons that have to do with system problems or human error.

“If a bet is accepted at a price that is materially different from those available in the general market at the time the bet was made or clearly incorrect given the chance of the event occurring then the Operator will void all these bets.
Although every effort is made to ensure that information displayed on site with regards to events is correct, event dates, start times, scores and match times displayed on our website are an indication only and are not guaranteed to be correct. Customers should be aware that transmissions (data feeds, live video streaming, etc) described as live may at times be delayed. The extent of a delay may vary between customers, depending on the connection through which they are receiving data or content. If you rely on this information to place bets, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Cloudbet will not be liable for any action taken or not taken by you as a result of your reliance on this information or for any loss or damage (direct or indirect) suffered as a result of your use of this information.”

This seems to say that they’re going to do their best to keep their odds and lines updated, but say you’ve got a slow connection or what have you, they’re going to void your bet at the time. That’s not horrible! It’s certainly not great, but at least they’re not going to keep your money or anything of the sort.


We haven’t really talked about MyBookie yet, but this doesn’t change the fact that they’re usually at the top of our lists of the best of the best!

But that’s neither here nor there at the moment. Right now we just want to look at a relevant policy from them when it comes to a technical error.

“In the case of an obvious line error on a posted line, MyBookie Sportsbook, Casino and Racebook Sportsbook, Casino and Racebook reserves the right to either
(a) Correct any obvious errors by settling winning bets at the ‘Correct Price’ which will be reasonably determined by MyBookie Sportsbook, Casino and Racebook Sportsbook, Casino and Racebook, or
(b) Void any bet placed on obvious line errors.”

It’s looking as though MyBookie will either void the bet, or within reason change said bet even if it means it works out in your favor!


And here is what Everygame has to say about the subject:

“All published odds and point spreads at the time bets are accepted, are used to determine winners, losers and ties and are for information purposes only. Everygame shall maintain a record of all point spreads, odds, final scores and related betting propositions, as well as statistics to protect both the customer and Intertops in case of obvious mechanical or human error.

Everygame cannot under any circumstances be held responsible for any mistakes in the publishing of prices or other palpable errors which lead to prices or conditions being posted other than those intended, or bets being accepted that contravene these rules. Despite our every effort to ensure total accuracy, we reserve the right to correct obvious errors. For bets placed in-running that are accepted at incorrect prices and are obvious errors, all bets will be made void and the customer will NOT be contacted.

Everygame shall in no way and under no circumstances be liable for any damages or losses including without limitation direct, indirect, consequential, special, incidental, or punitive damages, deemed or alleged to have resulted from or caused by the present web site or its content, including without limitation any person’s use or misuse of its content, the inability of any person to use the site, delays in operation or transmission, communication line failure or any errors or omissions in content.”

In looking at this, Everygame seems to say “tough noogies” when it comes to a technical error.

Luckily, they’re ranked among the best for having such a solid sportsbook that errors just don’t really come their way!

In the case of a technical error, you may just be screwed, but you never know! Make sure you check out all of the T’s and C’s of your sportsbook!

What Happens If You Make A Mistake When Placing Your Bets?

Ever find yourself regretting a decision in placing your bets? We admit it, we have in the past!

Maybe you misread something, mistyped a number, submitted a ticket when you just didn’t mean to… The possibilities are endless there!

What is going to happen in this scenario? Can your bet be canceled? Let’s take a look at how some of the different sportsbooks are going to handle this.


Bovada has this under their policies:

“You can’t cancel, change, or modify your bet in any way once it has been received and accepted by Bovada Casino and Sportsbook. As you are solely responsible for your account transactions, review all bet details for any mistakes, errors or omissions before clicking ‘PLACE BETS’.”

This actually makes sense. If you’re legally gambling, you’re an adult. You should already know that you have to take care of yourself and make sure that you’re doing things correctly. “Oh, but I didn’t mean to hit ‘submit’, that was a mistake!” Yeah, well, too bad. You did it anyway, didn’t you?

Bovada will also go on to address scenarios where a bet may be deemed invalid even if you wanted it to go through.

  • Bets will be accepted up to the starting time of the sporting event.
  • A bet shall be deemed invalid when:
  • It is submitted later than the deadline.
  • It is completed erroneously or incorrectly.
  • It is a bet on an obvious line error.
  • It isn’t accepted by the transaction server for some reason.


Here is MyBookies stance on this:

“It is the client’s responsibility to review wagers before submitting them and before logging out to make sure all bets are placed correctly. All wagers placed on the internet are final and cannot be changed or deleted.”

That’s another one of those “this is your responsibility” policies there.

Now does this mean that (for example) if odds were to change, they’ll still honor your bet even if it works out in your favor? We just don’t know. The way it’s worded sure makes it sound like it will be!


Once again we’ve got a sportsbook here that we really haven’t talked about yet.

As much as we love XBet, we just didn’t really bring them up as they’re owned and operated by another one of the sites that we have been discussing so the policies are pretty much the same.

However, we did find something on their site that we found interesting:

“Please be aware that Live betting wagers CAN NOT BE CANCELLED, and players are responsible for enabling and disabling this option at their discretion.”

This is once more going back to the “hey, you’re a grown-up, make sure you know what you’re doing” kind of policies. We just thought it was interesting with the way they’re wording it, very much in a “go get stuffed. It’s our bet now” kind of way!


Cloudbet is going with:

“A bet, which has been placed and accepted, cannot be amended, withdrawn or cancelled by you.”

As you can see, Cloudbet is taking the stance that just about all of the other sportsbooks are taking.

You may start to wonder if this leaves you entirely without recourse if you make a genuine mistake.


You can always contact the customer service at the site you’re using. There’s always the chance that if you were to ask very nicely, explain your situation, point out that you’re a longstanding and reliable customer, maybe they’ll grant your request and modify or cancel a bet for you. It would all depend on circumstance.

But even with that said, don’t go into this with any expectations!

Most of the sites here are making it very clear that they’re not going to correct errors for you and that you’re not allowed to do it yourself!

As we have kind of stated, this policy makes sense. It’s all but too easy to picture scenarios where someone may want to change their bet for whatever reason that has nothing to do with mistakes but still claim that they made their bet in error.

If betting sites were to regularly grant requests for changes and modifications in response to new information, you could see where there are just way, way too many people that would not be playing fairly!

Nobody wants to read all of the Terms and Conditions, that’s so boring, but it’s your money! Don’t skimp on checking out the details!

Always Review The Betting Rules For Each Site You’re Wagering At

We have discussed a whole mess of “what if” scenarios you may encounter. These have included postponements, ties, technical problems, and more.

You’ve had the chance to take a look at various policies from many sportsbooks and you can see that the policies change from one site to the next. Even though they may be similar, there’s just enough difference that you’re going to want to make sure to check out all of the terms and conditions of each site. This is your money we’re talking about here!

You know what they say about assuming, and you don’t want to make any incorrect assumptions. It’s important to know what to expect so that you can continue to make smart, informed decisions when you are betting.

There are countless reasons you should be joining more than one sportsbook and quite a few of these reasons are listed here on this post whether you realized it or not! Everyone’s going to have their own policies so you want to make sure that you join the sportsbook(s) that are right for you!

Anything Else Catch Your Eye Over Here?

UPDATED October 13, 2023
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