What Happens If a Bet Is Void in an Accumulator?

An empty stadium

Having a void leg on an accumulator is something you are bound to experience at some point, especially if you like to combine large numbers of football or horse racing bets. When it strikes, there is no need to worry as bookmakers take a perfectly reasonable approach when it comes to modifying your wager. You will not be left out of pocket, nor will you be unfairly denied a sizeable win because some bookie has decided to cancel the entire accumulator.

Reasons for a Void Bet

There is a long list of reasons, all outside the control of the bookmakers, that could result in one or more legs of your acca being voided.

Non-Runners & Weather Conditions

In horse and dog racing, the most likely cause is that you have selected a non-runner. Contenders can pull out at the last minute for any number of reasons, so this is always a possibility, even if you place a bet on the day of the event. Similarly, for horse racing, entire meetings can be cancelled due to frozen or waterlogged ground, with the call usually made on the morning of the fixture depending on the severity of conditions.

Injury or Tactical Reasons

Moving onto individual player/competitor bets you have the chance that they pull out for whatever reason or fail to feature either due to injury or for tactical reasons. This can happen from time to win with first goalscorer bets when a player picks up a late injury problem, ends up as an unused sub or comes on after the first goal is scored. In all of these cases your bet will end up as void, regardless of the bookmaker used.

Abandonment or Cancellation

If betting on a team rather than a specific individual, it is usually an abandonment or cancellation of the fixture that leads to a void bet. Reasons for a late cancellation can vary massively whether it be a power failure, dangerous weather conditions, unsafe stadium, widespread illness, frozen pitches or even for political reasons. Whatever the cause, if the game cannot take place on, or is not rescheduled close to the original start time, then you can normally expect the bookies to void your bet.

Void V Postponed Bets

Event postponed notice

Before we continue, it is important to highlight the difference between a bet being postponed and a bet being made void. The precise rules around this vary from bookie to bookie and sometimes sport to sport. If there is no prospect of the game being replayed within the next two or three days you can be confident that the bet will be marked as void at the majority of major betting sites. If the event will take pace very shortly after initially scheduled though, then it is a matter of bookmaker policy and you will need to check their terms or contact their customer services team.

Note that no bookmaker will void your bets because there has been a 30-minute delay due to something like traffic congestion in the area. Delayed starts are not considered the same as overnight cancellations and, invariably, if a clash takes place on the same day all bets will stand.

Rules Vary by Bookmaker

One popular Irish bookie’s betting rules state that for any match, game, race (or similar) “if the event is not completed within 72 hours after the scheduled completion date, then all bets on markets for this event will be void”. Similarly, another major UK bookie state in their terms that “if the (football) match is confirmed to take place within 48 hours of the original kick-off time, all bets on the match will stand”. There is a caveat here though in that the rearranged time needs to be confirmed within three hours of the original kick-off time.

Postponing bets is not an industry standard, though as many bookmakers will simply void any bets whenever a fixture is postponed, even if only by a couple of days. This is what one booker makes clear on their help pages. They state that “if a match is postponed or cancelled before it is due to start, any bets placed on that game prior to the scheduled start of the match will be deemed void.” There is very little consistency across the industry on cancellation policies so you will need to check the individual terms of the bookies you are betting with. What their terms state may well end up having a significant impact on the money you win, or rather, stand to win.

Postponed Accumulators

If you gamble at a bookie that does not void bets when there has been a postponement of less than two or three days, then your bet will largely be unimpacted. The only difference is that you will face a delay receiving any winnings if the postponed event is the last game on your acca to be played. If all your other selections have won and you want the money sooner, you may find you have the opportunity to cash out your bet if your bookie offers such a feature. This may not necessarily represent good value for money, however.

Should you wish to see the whole bet through, then all remaining legs of your accumulator will stand at the odds you initially backed them at. In most cases, these will not be too different to the current prices at the time of the rescheduled kick-off but, occasionally, there might be a significant shift, which could work for or against you. Imagine if a football match due to be played on Saturday was delayed until Monday due to bad weather. In this short gap, the leading goalscorer of the team you bet on picks up a knock and is subsequently unavailable for the rearranged clash. Even though you are not keen on your original selection anymore and the odds for them have lengthened, the bet will still stand if not voided.

Should this, or something similar happen to you, there are a couple of options you could try depending on how much you stand to win. If this was the final selection of a long and potentially lucrative acca then you could either cash out, or failing that, bet against your initial selection. You can either do this by putting money on the other team to win or draw with a bookie, or going to a betting exchange and placing a ‘lay’ bet on your selected team. That said, the overall value of your bet will be reduced in line with the price movement, so any cash out or net win might not be as large as you were hoping.

Void Accumulators

Premier League football on a mobile phone
Ink Drop / Bigstockphoto.com

Should you end up with a void selection (rather than postponed) on your accumulator, this does not scrap the whole bet. All that will happen is that the voided leg, or legs, will be removed from the bet. Your stake will remain the same but your expected winnings will be lower than what they originally were due to the reduced risk. Let us take a look at how this works in practice if one of the games on our £5 midweek acca was forced into a late cancellation. Below is the original bet, before any selections have been made void.

Match Selection Odds
Burnley v Tottenham Tottenham 5/6
Watford v Crystal Palace Watford 9/4
Liverpool v Leeds Liverpool 1/6
Arsenal v Wolves Arsenal 4/6
Total Winnings £57.92

The below table shows two examples of how our potential payout changes with one selection being made void. In the first instance it is the Watford v Palace game that has been called off and to the right, it is the Liverpool v Leeds game.

Match Selection Odds Selection Odds
Burnley v Tottenham Tottenham 5/6 Tottenham 5/6
Watford v Crystal Palace Void Watford 9/4
Liverpool v Leeds Liverpool 1/6 Void
Arsenal v Wolves Arsenal 4/6 Arsenal 4/6
Total Winnings £17.82 £49.65

With the example on the left, the accumulator voided the ‘risky’ Watford selection so this has a huge impact on the maximum payout we could receive. Effectively, the bet treats the match like it was never selected in the first place, and you have instead just placed a treble bet on Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal to win, rather than the originally planned fourfold wager.

In the second example on the right, it was the ‘safe’ Liverpool bet that was voided and because of the short-odds they were trading at, the impact on the potential payout is quite minimal. Once again, your bet becomes a treble instead of a fourfold but the impact on the effective odds is far smaller.

Acca Insurance & Odds Boosts

There are several bookmakers that operate an acca insurance policy in which, typically, you will get your stake back if just one leg of your acca lets you down. Such promotions will stipulate the minimum numbers of selections and potentially the minimum odds (either per selection or overall) required to qualify for the insurance. If having a void, or several void parts of the acca takes you below this threshold, your bet will no longer qualify for the insurance.

Equally, some bookies offer a different promotion whereby you can get enhanced odds when you place an acca with a certain number of selections. This may come in the form of a percentage boost on the overall winnings or perhaps an individual boost relevant to each of the games. Either way, if some of the legs in your accumulator are made void and your new bet no longer meets the minimum requirements of the offer (for example, if it applies to accas with at least six selections or combined odds of 10/1), then you will not receive the enhanced prices.

All Selections Void

Although it may seem unlikely that all your selections would be voided, this is something that happened to some punters when the pandemic first struck. Sporting events all over the country were cancelled even at extremely short notice as the country went into lockdown. Punters were not left out of pocket by this though as if your entire accumulator ends up being voided, your stake will simply be returned to you.

This does, however, assume that you used a cash stake for your bet. If you redeemed a free bet token instead, then you will most likely find this is not returned and that you have simply lost it. For this reason, it is good practice to use a free bet on an event, or events, that is scheduled very soon, as there is less time for potential problems to emerge. Note that should you fall victim of this bad luck, some betting sites will manually recredit the free bet if you contact their customer support team (and ask very nicely).

Void Full Cover Bets

So far our focus has been on accumulators, as this is a very popular option when betting on multiple sporting events. It could be though that rather than a one-bet acca, you opt for a full cover bet, whether with singles or not, such as a Lucky 15, Lucky 31 or a Yankee. Although a void outcome makes these bets slightly more complicated, the same rules still apply. To see how it works in practice, imagine if you will that we placed a Lucky 15 (4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 fourfold) on the four football matches mentioned above.

If our bet on the Arsenal v Wolves game was voided, any betting line from our Lucky 15 that included this match in would be ‘downgraded’, so to speak. By this, we mean that the four-fold would become a treble, trebles turns into doubles, etc. For the lines without the Arsenal selection, these remain entirely unaffected.

Original Bet Combinations Bet with Void Selection Selections
Singles Arsenal (A), Liverpool (L), Tottenham (T), Watford (W) Singles L, T, W
Doubles AL, AT, AW, LT, LW, TW Doubles L, T, W, LT, LW, TW
Trebles ALT, ALW, ATW, LTW Trebles LTW
Four-Fold ALTW Four-Fold LTW
Completely Void A

In this example, with one of our four matches void, we would still end up with 14 bets from the 15 as the only line that is fully void would be the single bet on Arsenal. Seven of the lines that did not include Arsenal originally would remain untouched while the remaining seven are ‘downgraded’ (the fourfold becomes a treble, some trebles become doubles and the doubles become singles) rather than voiding them entirely. This would lower our overall stake from £7.50 to £7 while also reducing the amount of money we could win.

Initially, our maximum return from this Lucky 15 would have been £37.72, a sum only available if each of the four teams had won. With the Arsenal selection voided though, our maximum return would end up being £25.59, with £0.50 of this being a certainty due to the voided ‘Arsenal to win’ single bet. Although we have provided a footballing example, this is how a void selection on a full cover or other multiples bet works for any sport whether it be tennis, horse racing or basketball. Even if you combined different sports into one such bet, the impact of a void selection is always the same.