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Status of a bet as a contract

When you place a bet with a licensed gambling business, you enter into a legally enforceable contract with that business.

Published: 14 July 2021

Last updated: 21 June 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 18 April 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/guide/status-of-a-bet-as-a-contract

Overview: When you place a bet with a licensed gambling business, you enter into a legally enforceable contract with that business.

Gambling businesses must make the terms and conditions of the bet available to you. Before deciding whether or not to place a bet, make sure you're familiar with the terms and conditions and that you understand what they mean, especially in the event of any changed circumstances around the bet.

We also require gambling businesses to provide a means for you to complain about the bet. This helps us to keep betting fair.

Gambling businesses can refuse your bet

Just as you can decide whether or not you wish to place a bet, a gambling business is also free to decide who they accept bets from, and on what terms, so that they can manage their business as they see fit.

Because a bet has to be a commercial arrangement between two willing parties, there is no statutory right to bet that means that a gambling business must accept your bet. A gambling business may sometimes withdraw offers or refuse bets in order to reduce risks to their business.

Making a complaint

When you have placed your bet, your contract with the gambling business means that you have certain rights and the contract can be enforced in law. This means that you have a right to take a gambling transaction to court if you do not think the outcome meets the terms and conditions of the contract.

Gambling businesses must offer a complaints procedure, including access to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider free to the consumer, which you should follow before deciding whether to take a matter to the courts.