Why Do Bookies Sometimes Suspend Betting?

Sports betting can be an extremely volatile and uncertain market. Sometimes bookmakers will even suspend betting on a certain event, halting all wagers until further notice. The move can, of course, draw despair from eager punters. But needless to say bets are never suspended without very good reason.

In virtually every event where betting is possible, from MMA to boxing and the ever popular horse racing, it may be necessary to halt wagers. In most cases the bookmaker is simply waiting for an uncertain factor to be clarified, and will reopen the market again quickly. However, in some cases bets may even be cancelled entirely.

How Does Ante-Post Betting Work?

In order to understand more clearly why betting may be suspended, it is important to get an idea of how exactly bookmakers work. First; when big, attention grabbing sporting events are announced, many bookies will accept wagers ante-post. This means that that bets are accepted well in advance, weeks or even months before the event is set to take place.

Ante-post betting of this kind is subject to extreme fluctuations in terms of odds, which can potentially be beneficial, if punters are smart about their predictions. However, it is extremely important to understand that the bookie is having to deal with potential fluctuations as much as punters. The bets are being accepted based on assumptions about the event in question.

Changing Circumstances

If a situation evolves that will greatly impact a future sporting event, the bookie must make alterations to assigned odds based on the changes. But when the impact is potentially so massive as to completely alter the outcome, all betting may be temporarily suspended, until circumstances become clearer.

It only makes sense that betting activity be halted, else great confusion and certainty may well result in many punters wondering what it is they are betting on, and what the actual odds are.

For example, in a horse race if a rumour begins to spread that a favourite horse has been injured, and may not be able to run, it is logical to halt bets on that race. Bets will likely only be accepted again when it becomes clear if the animal is or isn’t racing.

On The Day Suspensions

So it makes sense why suspensions would be made in the ante-post world, but what about suspensions that occur on the day? Generally the same reasons will result in on the day suspensions, including injuries, bad weather, or other unforeseen situation.

However, different rules generally apply to on the day suspensions. In ante-post, if a horse is declared incapable of running, bets placed on that animal can be considered losses. However, with same day suspensions the bookmaker will generally honour bets place over the course of the day. But winnings paid out for the day may be subject to rule 4 deductions.

A rule 4 deduction means that an amount will be deducted from all winnings paid out, based on the assumption that withdrawn animals may have had significant impact on the results.