Sports Betting Rules – Your Complete Guide

Knowing the main sports betting rules is probably a good idea before you place that first bet

sports betting rules

Sports betting rules are designed to deliver fairness and assure punters that they can trust the odds they see in front of them. The UK Gambling Commission regulates sport betting rules and sites such as Paddy Power work hard to uphold them.

If there’s one sports betting tip that champions any other it’s this: make sure you understand the rules of betting on sport before you place a wager.

In this guide we’ll take you through the basic sports betting rules here at Paddy Power, and the types of regulations you will face at all UKGC-regulated sites.


Sports Betting Rules

sports betting rules

Adhering to sport betting rules works both ways. As a sportsbook, we have to ensure players can gamble in a safe, secure environment that meets the UK’s rigorous legislation, while also providing fair odds. Players need to adhere to gambling rules too, in order to avoid situations where they could miss out on being paid.

Here are the main types of sports betting rules explained that are likely to affect you:

Player Betting Rules

  • Must be 18 or over – You cannot bet on sport in the UK if you are aged 17 or under. Paddy Power uses ID verification technology to ensure minors cannot sign up to accounts.
  • Influence is banned – Bettors cannot wager on a game, tournament or any other event that they have an influence in. For example, a manager cannot bet on football.
  • Multiple accounts are banned – You are not permitted to hold more than one account at the same sportsbook. This is a safeguarding rule against malpractice and prevents fraud. 

Odds Rules

Sports betting odds must accurately represent how much money a bettor is likely to win (either profit, or total return) relative to a wager. For example, a bettor should expect to earn £4 profit from a £1 winning bet at odds of 4/1.

The UKGC states: “Information should be made available about the amounts that customers may potentially win, for example in the form of pay-tables, or by showing the odds paid for particular outcomes.”

Sportsbooks must uphold and honour payouts at the odds they set.

Bet Rules

There are scores of bet rules that both sportsbooks and customers must follow in order to facilitate legal, trusted transactions between the two. Here are some of the core bet rules that you should know about before you begin betting:

  • How bet settlements work – In sports betting you earn a payout once the bet has “settled”. In most cases this means when the event or tournament in question is over, and a final result (inc. all final stats) is known. Only then will a settled bet be paid out, if it’s a winner.
  • What are void bets? – Void bets are any instances where a wager is cancelled. There are many reasons why bets may be voided, including:
  1. Non runners: If your selection does not compete in the event or tournament it may be classed as a ‘non runner’. This is one of the most important horse racing betting rules to be aware of. Read more about horse racing non runners here.
  2. Abandonment: A bet may be voided if a game, race or event is abandoned. This often happens in the football season when winter games are postponed or abandoned.
  3. Late bets: A wager placed after the result is known may be voided.
  4. Multiples: If your acca or bet builder has a voided leg within it, then the entire bet is restructured to the reduced number of selections. So, your five-fold becomes a four-fold and the odds change accordingly.

Read more about Paddy Power void bets here!

  • Cashing out – In many live sports you can cash out before the event has finished. You will be offered a new price at which to cash out, which will be lower than your previous odds. Cash outs can affect promotions such as free bets, so make sure you check whether you can cash out when using bonus funds.
  • Dead heats – Dead heats most commonly occur in horse racing and greyhounds betting. If a dead heat happens in your event, half your stake is applied to the selection at full odds, and the other half is lost. If, for example, you bet on a footballer to win the Golden Boot and they share the award with two others, your stake would be split in three.
  • Errors – We reserve the right to void any bets that are placed as an error on our part. For example, if bets are accepted in a betting shop in error.
  • Lifting the trophy – On many occasions outright bets may not be paid out until a team or player lifts the trophy. Likewise, if said team or player has their success voided at a later date then those original bets are still honoured. This can happen in horse racing where a horse officially wins a big race, only to be expelled at a later date for a doping violation.

Payout rules

  • Maximum payouts – Bookmakers set maximum payout limits which help bettors stay within their own betting limits. In football, for example, the max payout from a bet on senior men’s games like the Champions League or Premier League is £1m. The max payout on politics, TV and novelty bets, meanwhile, is £5,000.
  • Turnover requirements – Some sports betting promotions require players to “turn over” the winnings earned from their bonus funds before they can withdraw it. This means re-betting said profit a number of times. This is also known as “wagering requirements”. For example, you might get a £10 free bet with 1x wagering. If you win £16 from your bet, you’ll need to re-bet £16 once before you can withdraw your eventual winnings.

You can see Paddy’s full betting rules here!

Now you know more about Paddy Power’s betting rules, you can bet with more confidence. However, if you’re in any doubt about anything to do with sports betting then head to the Paddy Power Help Centre or contact us via our live chat!