Tottenham Report: Italy activates regulator’s new system to allow correction of betting-odds errors

June 10, 2024 11:00 PM
  • Valérie Peano
June 10, 2024 11:00 PM
  • Valérie Peano

In October 2022, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance’s decree that “refurbished” the 2006 fixed-odds betting regulation entered into force, bringing relevant improvements for betting. 

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To mention a few, the decree introduced the cashout, the Asian handicap, and draw-no-bet facilities, while enhancing the maximum potential winning per bet. 

The decree also introduced free-bet and bonus regulation and the possibility for a betting licensee to correct its odds’ errors. But both provisions were to be further implemented by the Italian gambling authority Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli (ADM) through specific decrees. 

Of these, last year, the gambling authority started a consultation process with the industry, at the end of which it published both implementation decrees, which entered into force on 1 June 2024. 

The one allowing the correction of betting odds was highly anticipated. Indeed, up until now, the only way to avoid paying a customer abusing a betting-odds error in bad faith was to undergo lengthy and complex Civil Court proceedings.  

From now on, in the case of an odds error, the betting licensee will not be allowed to autonomously manage an odds-error correction. Instead, it will have to request and start an acknowledgement and authorisation process in connection with the ADM.  

To put things into context, within the Italian betting framework, each betting model is previously approved by the ADM and each bet made on a betting licensee’s website is submitted and validated in real time by the ADM through its central system.  

The gambling authority is thus aware, through its central system, of the betting model and the odds offered for all the outcomes by the licensee. On the basis of this information and the licensee’s odds-correction request, the ADM will recalculate the odds to correct them, according to criteria and methods identified in its implementation decree. 

Also, according to the ADM, the odds-error definition requires this error to be detectable and recognizable by the player at the time of the fixed-odds bet. In other words, the odds-error correction is allowed only through ADM intervention and only when it is a known error. 

Different criteria have been set by ADM for recalculating the correct odds, e.g. for those bets with a number of outcomes equal or greater than 20 and for those bets in “pre-match” or “live”.  

Going into more detail, for pre-match bets, an odds error is detected by ADM’s comparing the betting licensee’s odds with the odds’ average weighted value of the other licensees, recorded on the ADM central system for the same outcome, provided that at least two other odds are found. The detection of the odds to be used for the comparison shall initially be carried out over the time period for which the correction of the error has been requested by the licensee, such time period being progressively increased by two hours if at least two different odds have not been found. 

The ADM has identified threshold values for the average weighted value in order to certify the recognition of the odds error. In case the odds error is certified, the odds are directly corrected by ADM, replacing them with the calculated average weighted value.  

Unlike for pre-match betting, for live betting, ADM has set forth that an odds error can be recognized based on the direct documentary evidence of the error made by the licensee and not only following a mere calculation of the consequences of such error in terms of odds different from those offered by the other betting licensees.  

In case of error recognition, for all the abovementioned types of bets, ADM recalculates the odds for all the outcomes subject to prediction, related to the betting market itself. Consequently, the licensee will have to abide by the recalculation and proceed with the relevant bet payment. 

The new odds-error recognition system involves some procedural complexities. Clearly, the more smoothly and efficiently it runs, the better it will be, to the benefit of the industry. In any case, it also allows the licensee to appeal, in court, the ADM’s correction-denial determinations, as well as for the recognition of those errors falling outside the criteria and threshold identified by the ADM.