What is a Palpable Error?

If you see something that appears to be too good to be true, then the chances are it is. This is what is known as a palpable error in the world of betting, or in simple terms, an obvious mistake made by the bookmaker. This is usually based around odds, so you will see something at completely the wrong odds, far bigger than what you would expect to see.

The palpable error rule is in place to protect bookmakers when this happens. They will not pay out the bet and instead have several different ways to deal with it, depending on the bookmaker you are betting with. The key to look out for is the price with other bookmakers, if you see something that is entirely out of line, then the chances are this is an error, and the bookmaker will not pay you out.

What Could be Classed as a Palpable Error?

palpable error terms example

The majority of palpable errors are based on the prices on offer. For example, a selection that is odds on with every bookmaker but you see available at 10/1 is going to be seen as a palpable error. Sometimes these are keyed in wrong by people, other times, the system causes them to be displayed wrong because of a glitch.

You may be a novice and not know about the price you are taking and why it is wrong, but the majority of cases involve people who do know what they are doing. They place the bet, hoping to fly under the radar, and get the big payment when in reality, the odds should be much shorter.

Occasionally, mistakes will happen, and as punters, we have to respect that. However, if there is one issue with this type of case, then it is that the bookmakers are the ones who decide what is and isn’t a palpable error and whether they will pay out or not. They are the ones making the mistakes and also the ones deciding what is a mistake and what isn’t. The process works, but there would be a lot more satisfaction around the entire process if there was some kind of independent body looking at the mistakes, determining if they are mistakes or not, and also explaining the situation in full to those affected.

Can You Appeal and Argue a Palpable Error?

appeal sign on keyboard

While the bookmakers are the ones who decide whether they have made a palpable error or not, if you would like to appeal and believe you have a case to take things further, this is when things become independent. IBAS, which is the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, is the board that will deal with your issue.

IBAS has to be your last port of call, before this, you will need to speak with the bookmaker and state your case. When it comes down to IBAS, there are no specific rules in place, but for palpable errors, they have the following guidelines, which they use when judging cases.

“Panellists will consider whether the error would have been discernible to a customer with a reasonable knowledge of betting and the sport in question.”

So, regardless of your own personal knowledge of the sport in question and the betting industry, things are judged based on someone who has a reasonable understanding of both. If they would know the error was there and were betting in a bid to win, despite that, then there will be no case. However, if IBAS rule that even someone with knowledge would not know about the error, then you will have a case.

There is another side to this argument, however. If a shop makes an error and sells you something at the wrong price, they are not able to charge your card more and correct the mistake after you have completed your transaction. Therefore, why should bookmakers be able to correct their mistakes after you have completed your transaction with them.

This is certainly a point that many people will argue on, if the error is spotted at the time, the shop is able to do something, but when they have completed the sale, nothing can be done. Bookmakers seemingly have the license to be able to do that.

Two Most Common Outcomes For An Obvious Error

various void stampsWhen you place a bet that involves a palpable error, when the error has been spotted, your bookmaker will be in touch with you.

In most cases, they will offer you one of the following options:

  1. The first is that they will void the bet altogether and return your stake. This means no bet at all will be placed for you, so you just get the original stake money back.
  2. The second option is that the bet will stand as usual but will be paid out at the correct odds and not the odds that were given in error. The correct odds will be in line with what other bookmakers are offering on the selection. You still get your bet on, but this may result in you placing a wager at very short odds, which you may not want.

Can You Get Paid Out on a Palpable Error Bet?

paid unpaid stampIf you are very, very lucky, then you may get paid out on the bet, though don’t expect your bookmaker to give in easily. This is rare, but there is a more common way in which you may be able to find yourself benefitting from a palpable error.

The betting industry is very competitive, and thanks to the growth of social media, bookmakers know that they do not want to see any bad publicity around their service. For this reason, it is not uncommon for bookmakers to offer something to those affected by a palpable error in order to keep them happy.

This could be a payout, but unlikely. However, things such as free bets may be given out to keep customers happy and betting with them, which in the big scheme of things, is a small price to pay to avoid any social media backlash and customers leaving.