How I took on Paddy Power…..and won!

It was only a small victory and the amount involved was nowhere near life changing but the simple truth was that I was wronged by Paddy Power and I wasn't going to let them get away with it. People say 'it's not the money, it's the principle' all the time when it is all about the money but on this occasion it really was the principle....

(I also hope that it shows that bookmakers don't always do the right thing but they can be challenged and defeated)

How it all started....

Cast your mind back to late May/ early June when talk was all about the 2017 Derby and whether Cracksman or Cliffs of Moher were going to be crowned Champion 3yo (I think it's quite clear now who is the top dog 3yo!). I wrote my own preview of the race on the day the 5 day declarations were made and using the trends decided to side with the French raider Waldgeist who appeared to offer a little bit of each way value against the front two in the betting.

His trainer Andre Fabre had intimated in a number of interviews that Epsom was on his agenda including one on the previous weekend. So off I went to find the best odds available for a small ante-post bet. Paddy Power were top priced so I had my £20 bet with them. Not a big bet for me but at the odds it would have been a nice return. The bet was placed 11.34pm on 29th May 2017. That's 1 hour and 34 minutes after the final Epsom Derby race declarations had been made and 34 minutes after they should have been made available to the public (although neither the Racing Post or Sporting Life had at that time published them online).

To my disbelief when the 5 day declarations were eventually published Waldgeist was nowhere to be seen in the list and it would be a few days before Fabre came out and said he's decided to stay at home and go for the French Derby instead.

Oh well not to worry, I'd placed my bet after the declaration deadline and as he wasn't in the list my stake would be refunded by Paddy Power. As a former bookie myself I'm quite aware of the ante-post rules regarding race declarations. If my bet had been placed before the final declarations I would have lost my stake and no more would have been said about it. Such is the peril of ante-post betting.

BUT this was different. This is a million miles away from betting ante-post. Paddy Power took my bet on a horse that had absolutely no chance whatsoever of taking part in the race. The final declarations had been made, my horse wasn't among them, he couldn't now be added to the field....therefore I get my money back.

So I waited for them to refund my stake. And I waited. And I waited.

Fed up of waiting any longer I fired off an email to Paddy Power customer services asking for my refund. I got this reply..

Hi Gavin,

Thank you for contacting Paddy Power Customer Support.
When you placed this bet the race was still ante-post.Unfortunately even though the runners were declared within the five day declarations, the market still remained ante-post which means that the rule 'no runner,no bet' stands.

If you have any further queries please visit our Help Centre 

Kind Regards,
Paddy Power Customer Service

Sniff, sniff. What's that I can smell Amy? Oh yeah, it's bullshit!

This email was quickly followed by another from someone else in Customer services...

Hi Gavin,

Thank you for contacting Paddy Power Customer Support.
Unfortunately this bet will be considered a non runner should this selection not run as ante-post rules would still apply up until 48 hours (Thursday) before the race is due to begin.
Apologies for any confusion.

If you have any further queries please visit our Help Centre

Kind Regards,

Or, another person who doesn't know what he's talking about!

I replied that he is wrong and that it wasn't an ante-post bet and got this back...

Hi Gavin,

Thank you for contacting Paddy Power Customer Support.
Unfortunately the risk you take when placing ante post bets before the 48 hour declaration stage is that the horse may not run or be declared for the said race. If the horse doesn't run, this bet will be settled correctly as loser unfortunately.

If you have any further queries please visit our Help Centre 

Kind Regards,

Utter nonsense. The final declaration stage for entries for the Derby was 5 days not 48 hours!

It was like banging my head against a brick wall and my blood was beginning to boil now. So I sent off my final email....

Hi Shane,

That is definitely not right.
You took a bet on a horse that wasn't declared for the race and, as the last supplementary stage has passed, cannot be added to the race.

If you are not willing to refund my bet then I will be happy for IBAS to adjudicate.

Gavin Priestley

Which got a reply from customer service agent number 3, Derek, yet another person who didn't know his betting rules arse from his elbow.

Hi Gavin,

Thank you for contacting Paddy Power Customer Support.
If we can help further in any way, please let us know.
Kind Regards,

Which left me with just one option left. To file the complaint with the Independent Betting Adjudication Serivce (IBAS) that I had threatened.

In case your unsure what IBAS is/does....

All reputable bookmakers are members of IBAS and agree to abide by their ruling. As required by the Gambling Commission their rulings are legally binding up to £10,000 on the bookmaker (not the customer).

They are completely independent and unbiased and the service they offer is free, you don't have to pay anything to have a ruling. They do however, have a large backlog and rulings can take a couple of months.

It took me a couple of minutes to fill in their forms online and after submitting my complaint I received an email from IBAS saying they had my report, they would make their ruling accordingly after communicating with Paddy Power and that it could take a couple of months (nearly 5 months as it turned out).

And so towards the end of last month I finally got my ruling.

They found in favour of the the customer (me) and were quite scathing in their summarization towards Paddy Power. You can read the adjudication by clicking the image below...


I knew I was 100% right but you do just have that slight niggle as it drags on that perhaps someone else doesn't quite see it your way.

Those fears proved completely unfounded and IBAS showed themselves to be exactly what they claim to be, Independent and Fair.

Paddy Power refunded my £20 but I haven't received an apology from them. Guess they don't like be called out as to not knowing their own rules.


So just remember, if you feel wronged, fobbed off or downright cheated by a bookmaker there is recourse.

You can contact IBAS online at

write to them at

Independent Betting Adjudication Service
PO Box 62639

Phone them on 020 7347 5883

or email them at


If you'd like to share any experiences you've had with IBAS or any time you've felt wronged by a bookmaker then please leave a comment below.

Good luck,

P.S. I have donated the £20 to the Poppy Appeal.

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22 thoughts on “How I took on Paddy Power…..and won!

  • Gavin read your mail with huge interest and would be grateful if you would expand and explain the difference between different times of declarations and when is an ante post bet not a ante post but entered into the category of no runner ….no bet
    Thanks again Martin H

    • Hi Martin,
      With ante-post betting you’re betting what might happen days, weeks, months, years in advance.
      While there is still a chance that a horse will participate, you can bet on it. You get better odds but you will lose your stake if it doesn’t turn up for a race.

      We’ll take the Derby as an example.

      The Derby has many entry stages up until the race and horses can be entered as yearlings, 2yo’s and there are even a couple of late supplementary stages for 3yo’s.
      The last and final one comes at the 5 day declarations stage made, as you probably have guessed, 5 days before the race. After this no horse can be added to the field.

      The 5 day declarations are still not the final runners for the race though. This comes at the 48 hour stage (24hrs for NH racing) when the final race runners are declared.

      For bets struck after the 48 hour stage you will get your money back if your horse doesn’t run but you will still lose your ante-post bet if you back a non runner inside these last 48 hours.

      This is where the confusion arose as Paddy Power insisted the bet was an ante-post one and as it wasn’t running it was a losing bet. If I had bet Waldgeist before the 5 day declarations, or if Waldgeist had been declared at the 5 day stage but then didn’t run, they would have been correct.
      BUT the big difference was that they took a bet on a horse that couldn’t run as it wasn’t amongst the 5 day decs and couldn’t now be added to the field.

      It wasn’t an ante-post bet as it didn’t have a chance to run.

      I hope this explains it a bit more clearly,

    • Yes I have dealings with IBAS they do take there time. I have two with IBAS at the moment to do with ladbrokes.

  • Well done Gavin my Bug Bear is the 2/5 Working days to get your money back yet they take your money Sat Sun and Bank Holidays think this is criminal abuse and should be changed

  • Well Done Gavin,
    As Martin said above, I’d love if you could explain as well and also just wondering is there an Irish version of IBAS?

    • Hi James,

      I’m not sure if there is an Irish IBAS but as this was a case with Irish firm Paddy Power I would assume that IBAS will mediate in cases with Irish bookmakers also.

      All the best,

  • I don’t know if this is serious enough to forward but on the day of the fox hunters corals sent me an email informing me that if I had a 20 quid bet in the race before they would pay me 2 quid for every fence she cleared she actually finished 3rd and off I went to check my balance only to discover not even the ew bet I placed on her had been settled I mailed Corals customer care and was told that even though the email had been sent at 1.27 p.m on the afternoon by the promotions team I was informed by the agent I was communicating with that I placed the bet to early and that was there rigid story and they were sticking to it upon hearing the no change to the outcome from there CC team I might of shot myself in the foot by using too many expletives but fuck them they were robbing me (sorry about that ) Anyway my account was blocked after this
    Glad you got a result Gavin

  • I closed my Paddy Power account last year because thet made withdrawing funds from my account difficult. They accepted money deposited by debit card but would not repay funds back into that bank account without me having to send them various bits of information to verify who I was, e.g. passport copy, utility bill, bank statement etc. When I chose to close the account they produced excuses to slow the process down such as claiming the photo of the passport was not clear. I eventually did get my money back.
    On a more general point If bookies accept deposits by debit card they should pay back onto it.
    They claim they need to avoid money laundering but they could do this before accepting the deposit. They don’t because that would deter many punters who don’t like the hassle. Once they have your money they feel they can mess about as much as they please. The Gambling Commission should ensure it is no more difficult to withdraw than to deposit.

  • Paddy Power stiffed me when I horse I had backed won and the starting price was bigger than the price I had taken. I contacted them online to ask why I had not been paid out at the SP odds as the race was Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG). I was told that their traders had taken the decision to remove BOG from my account and that they had emailed me regarding this “several months ago” although the representative I was talking to couldn’t actually tell me when this has occurred. I had never seen this claimed email and told them that I considered it a fraud to advertise a race as being BOG, accept the bet and then refuse to pay out at BOG. I was then told that as a gesture of good faith they would settle the winning bet at BOG. The whole thing left me wondering how many other winning bets had they stiffed me on when I thought I was betting at BOG.

    Following this, I ran my account down and have never placed a bet with them since.

    • Someone else has already mentioned Rule 4 deductions and I have a current gripe with this. On Saturday I had an all winner ew patent with Skybet, one of which was Elgin. I took 11/2 when placing the bet and was pleasantly surprised when it was returned 6/1.
      This quickly changed to irritation when I saw that due to Jenkins being a non runner, there was a Rule 4 15p deduction. I can see the point of this if my horse is returned at a shorter price, but not when a new market has been formed and mine goes off at a better price.
      This deduction cost me £40 off the treble alone, and is another example of rules being very much in bookies favour.

      Chris Hulance.

      • Hi Chris,
        I think it might be worth you emailing skybet to see if they were going best odds guaranteed on that race. Id be surprised if they weren’t.
        If they were BOG you should be getting paid out at 6/1.

  • Paddy f*****g Power. Don’t get me started. I actually won their VIPP competition last month. 5 star hospitality at Stamford bridge & Chantilly for the Arc. Brilliant I have to say…but then this weekend they banned me from promotions & restricted me to 2 quid each way!!! My crime? Winning a grand in a month. 10 years I’ve been a customer. Seriously what other industry is allowed to behave like this? Sooner we get a government that hammers these crooks the better.

  • Cannot understand that R4 deduction,Chris.I was paid 6/1 for ELGIN in single and double with GO CONQUER even though there was a R4 mention when I viewed ‘settled bets’.
    SKY BET are usually fair and transparent.

  • Well done sir. I only bet with PP in exceptional circumstances now due to getting stiffed just about every time I had a winner on a Rule 4.

    I remember having 2 bets on the same race one with 365 and the other with PP, when PP deducted money on a Rule 4 and 365 didn’t.

    They are a bunch of chancers and best avoided except on the rare occasions when their odds against a horse are significantly better than others eg last Sunday I got 18/1 with them about Smad Place, but they deducted 5p in the pound when it won.

  • Well done Gavin always helps when you know the rules of racing,bookmakers are a new breed of today,many working in betting officers,or managing online accounts wouldn’t know the back of horse if it knocked into them… many people question the rule 4 deduction
    Since trainers allowed self-certificate we’ve never had so many NRs believe if doing this then they cannot run the horse for a further 10days ? I’m sure i read somewhere trainers NRs there will be a league table available so punters can see who’s self-certifications more than others ? What’s your current thoughts on this practice
    Regards Steve

    • Apologies to Skybet! I mailed earlier today complaining about the Rule 4 deduction in Elgin’s race on Saturday. In view of some of the responses, I calculated my patent and, give or take a couple of quid, they have paid me in full!
      In my defence, their reference to the 15p deduction against the Elgin bet has confused the situation, but I now know that BOG overrules this.
      Just goes to show, always check your returns from a bookie!
      Chris Hulance.

  • Ever since Paddy Power and Betfair merged Betfair treatment of long standing valued customers has gone downhill. I don’t blame Betfair as I have had dealings with PP before the merger and their treatment of customers has never been on a par with Betfair. I have never ever been disappointed with Betfair up until the merger with PP .When ever I had even the slightest query on anything with Betfair they always saw my point of view and dealt with me quickly and fairly. 99% of my betting was done online with Betfair. There were more questions over the way PP deal with complaints in 1% of my dealings with them than 99% of my dealings with Betfair. Give me Betfair any day of the week.

  • Hi Gavin. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this story. I think it’s helpful to ‘call out’ bookmakers when they behave badly. We should all share this via social media.

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