Few things are more frustrating in sports than when an event is postponed, and it's even more frustrating when it happens at the last minute, and you've bet on the event in question. To make matters worse, in our experience, when we have a really clean bet at big odds, events get postponed, even if we accept that it may be our selective memory at work! Equally annoying, if not more so, are abandoned events where the match, game, tournament or event started but for some reason was abandoned before it was scheduled to end.
Here we look at why events may be postponed or canceled and what happens to your bets if this is the case. This can vary from event to event, sport to sport and bookmaker to bookmaker, but we will look at the most common scenarios. That said, if you can, the best and easiest action to take in the event of a postponed or canceled event is to simply contact the bookmaker you placed the bet with and ask them what happens to your bet.
Why are events postponed or abandoned?
Events can be postponed or canceled for a variety of reasons, and almost all of them can involve postponing an event before it starts or canceling a match or competition after it has started. The most common reasons are:
▶ Weather - weather is probably the most common cause of canceled and postponed events, with rain, snow, freezing conditions, wind and just about every other extreme weather event proving that Mother Nature is more than capable of disrupting our sports betting!
▶ Injury or Illness - Injury or illness can cause one of our feared outcomes, more often in individual sports than in team sports, but possibly also in team events, for example in the event of a very serious injury or even death.
▶ Crowd Problems - Crowd problems and invasions on the pitch are another possibility when it comes to delayed but more likely abandoned sporting events
▶ Security issues - Security worries, for example regarding a possible or existing terrorist attack, are becoming increasingly relevant.
What happens to my bet if a match is postponed?
As with the reasons for postponement and abandonment, what often happens is the same in both cases, but for clarity we will look at the two scenarios separately, starting with the delayed matches. As mentioned above, this can vary depending on the sport, the specific market within the sport and even from one betting site to another.
However, the most general rule is that bets will most likely be void and stakes refunded to your account. Again, as a general rule, the longer the time between the original event schedule and the new postponed date, the more likely it is that the original bet will be voided rather than standing.
What happens to my bet if a match is Abandoned?
Again, this is something that varies and there is even more variety than when we think of postponed events. Many sports, such as golf and cricket, are included in the official score. For example, if a golf tournament is interrupted by inclement weather, outright bets will almost always be settled on the official result. If no winner is declared, all bets will be void. Similarly in cricket, where the match is abandoned due to rain or bad light, bets will be settled on the result of the match, whether decided by the Duckworth-Lewis method or otherwise, and again at times if this match has no result, bets will be void.
In some cases, an abandoned event will follow the same protocol as a rescheduled competition, with bets potentially standing on the rescheduled event provided the bet has not yet been settled and the new date is within the relevant time frame fixed by the bookmaker. Usually, a canceled event leads to an invalid bet, with the stakes returned and players who thought their bet was good lick their wounds, while those whose bets didn't go so well are grateful for a lucky break. However, there are more variables, with some sports having very specific rules regarding the amount of play going on in regard to the legitimacy of the bet and these also vary from bookmaker to bookmaker.
What happens if an event is canceled?
That said, when it comes to events that get canceled altogether, the scenario is a little easier to explain and while cancellations are rare, they do happen, once again, for a number of possible reasons. If an event is canceled, all bets will be void and your money will be refunded. However, even in this seemingly trivial case, it is possible that extreme or very unusual circumstances or bets could lead to alternative action on the part of the bookmaker. In this case, or if your money is not returned and the bet is marked void, it is again advisable to contact the site directly.
On the one hand, this is a very simple betting area and no matter what happens, the bets continue to stand or are canceled with the return of the stakes. However, as we have seen, with so many possible scenarios and variables, including many uncertainties we haven't even discussed yet, generally the best option is to contact your bookmaker. Also, the earlier you do it, the more options you have and the less chance there is of misunderstanding or disappointment.
That said, while all this uncertainty might be enough to make you think that betting is too much of a gamble, in reality the vast majority of bets will be settled normally. Fortunately, postponements, cancellations and abandonments are rare and more often than not the only question will be whether or not you won - and hopefully you did!