Sports betting rules

Every sportsbook sets their own betting rules and terms and conditions (T&C, also called terms of service) and makes them available on their website.

Most sportsbook’s rules are divided into sections with the first section being general betting rules and then a section for each sport. You should familiarise yourself with the general betting rules and the rules for any sport you are betting on

These are the most important rules to familiarise yourself with

  • T&C of any bonuses or promotions you are eligible for. These will usually be in 2 sections; the T&C of that particular bonus and the general T&C that apply to all bonuses.
  • The minimum and maximum bets, the maximum payout for a bet and maximum daily win.
  • How bets are settled when a game starts but is abandoned or postponed before completion. This could be due to injury (tennis) weather (baseball) or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Charges for inactive accounts, deposits and withdrawals or any other charges.
  • How bets are settled if there is a dead heat or a tie when that was not one of the betting options. Normally equal winners are paid out at the full value of the ticket divided by the number of equal winners. In a 2 team market such as an NBA game this means you will get back half of what you would have got if your selection alone won.
  • Human error rule that allows winning bets to be refunded rather than paid out when human error caused “obviously incorrect” odds to be posted.

Las Vegas rules

Some US facing sportsbooks use a cover all statement for any situations that their betting rules do not cover saying something like

“In all other cases Las Vegas rules apply”


“Standard Las Vegas rules apply to any rule or wager not covered”

This is a fiction as Las Vegas sportsbooks each have their own rules that are no more detailed than the online sportsbooks rules.

We asked 3 such sportsbooks what Las Vegas rules are, 2 of them had no idea despite it being in their T&C and 1 sent us a link to general betting rules that were all covered by their own rules and still included the line “Standard Las Vegas Rules apply for any rules not mentioned here”.

What these statements really mean is in a truly rare and exceptional situation that is not covered by any rules the sportsbook will settle bets in accordance with what Las Vegas sportsbooks do who can be expected to act as a block.

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