If you bet on horse racing or greyhound racing, then you will more than likely have seen rule 4 deductions mentioned in the past. This is when an amount of winnings are deducted from the return you have on a winning bet to compensate for the fact that there was a late non-runner in the race.
A rule 4 is used when no new betting market is created by the bookmakers in this instance and will apply to all bets placed. However, if you are taking early prices about your selections, then you could also be hit with a rule 4 if any runner is taken out of the race after you have placed your bet.
With more and more people taking early prices due to the best odds guaranteed promotions being available, it is more common to see rule 4 deductions on your bets, and even more important to understand how they work.
How Does Rule 4 Affect My Payout?
There is only one-way rule 4 will affect your payout, and that is by giving you a smaller return. If there is a rule 4 on the race, then you will receive a smaller return on your bet, and the amount deducted will depend on the price of the runner that has been taken out of the contest.
When Does a Rule 4 Happen?
The fundamental rule to follow here is that the rule 4 deduction is based around the horse that is taken out of the race and not your own selection. So, when we are talking about the price of the runner determining whether there is a rule 4 or not, and how much is taken, this is all about the price of the horse taken out, not the price you have on your bet.
If the withdrawn runner is priced at bigger than 14/1 at the time of withdrawal, then there is no rule 4 deduction on any bets.
For runners where the price is 14/1 or shorter, a rule 4 will be taken on your bet, and you will see smaller returns if you have the winner of the race.
How Much Money is Taken with a Rule 4 Deduction?
As mentioned, the money taken is determined by the price of the withdrawn runner at the time, not what you have on your bet. Here is a table to show how much money is taken, depending on the price, and the simple rule to remember here is that the shorter the price of the horse, the more money taken from you.
The reason for this is because the percentage of the market taken up by that horse is bigger. Without that runner, the market needs to condense, with shorter prices about the runners to reflect their increased chances of winning the contest.
|Price of Withdrawn Runner||Deduction in the £|
|1/9 or shorter||90p|
|2/11 to 2/17||85p|
|1/4 to 1/5||80p|
|3/10 to 2/7||75p|
|2/5 to 1/3||70p|
|8/15 to 4/9||65p|
|8/13 to 4/7||60p|
|4/5 to 4/6||55p|
|20/21 to 5/6||50p|
|1/1 to 6/5||45p|
|5/4 to 6/4||40p|
|13/8 to 7/4||35p|
|15/8 to 9/4||30p|
|5/2 to 3/1||25p|
|10/3 to 4/1||20p|
|9/2 to 11/2||15p|
|6/1 to 9/1||10p|
|10/1 to 14/1||5p|
|Over 14/1||No Deduction|
Is There a Rule 4 Exception?
Yes, there is one exception to rule 4, where nothing is applied. This is with antepost betting when you are betting on an event before the final field is declared.
This betting style is a little different from regular wagering, and if your horse simply doesn’t run, then rather than being a non-runner, you do not get your money back. However, when it comes to rule 4’s in this type of betting, they do not exist, so there is a chance to get good value.
For example, if you are betting on the Cheltenham Gold Cup six months before the race and take 20/1 about your selection to win. If multiple runners who were ahead of your selection in the betting do not run in the race, then you are in a good position and will still be paid out at 20/1 if your horse wins, with no rule 4 applied.
This is the only time when they are not enforced, on all other races where a market is formed, you take a price and then a non-runner is confirmed, you will see a rule 4 on your bet if you back the winner.
Rule 4 Promotions
If you are going to bet regularly, then it is worth looking into bookmakers that offer promotions around their rule 4 deductions. For example, some bookmakers do not deduct the 5p rule 4, so if your bet is subject to one of these, nothing will be taken from you.
Although usually only a small difference to your winnings, having this in your favour will help you out in the long term.