£23,400 bet at William Hill ruined by “human error”

  • Two rugby fans place £100 on an 8-1 plus 25-1 double at William Hill
  • Double comes in, but bookie turns it down due to related contingency
  • “Lucky” duo refuses to take no for an answer

A bold bet

Rugby fans Gary Smeaton and Kris Shenton put a highly ambitious bet nine months ago at William Hill. The duo backed Salford Red Devils to finish in the top five of the Super League at 8-1. They also doubled the bet with a 25-1 that outsider Jackson Hastings would be named Man of Steel, the Super League’s award for the player of the season.

With a stake of £100, their bet amounted to £23,400.

Surprisingly, the double actually came in, as the Red Devils reached third, with Hastings playing a major role for the club’s success.

“I put the bet on nine months ago at the Swinton branch of William Hill,” Smeaton said. “The guy in the bookies wrote it out for me. My mate kept the betting slip. We never dreamed that it would ever come in.

“I never thought Salford would finish top five, but I did have an inkling about Hastings winning the Man of Steel. I am a massive Salford fan. I sponsor Tyrone McCarthy and the Devils’ mascot.”

LEFT: Salford Red Devils fans Kris Shenton and Gary Smeaton; RIGHT: the £23,400 bet

Short-lived joy

However, the duo’s joy was cut short as William Hill, which recently signed with the NBA, said the bet should not have been placed at all and only did due to “human error”.

This is because of related contingency between the two bets — with Red Devils finishing high, the odds of Hastings being named Man of Steel are bigger than 25-1.

A William Hill spokesman explained: “As stated in our rules, a related contingency occurs when one or more parts of the bet placed affect the outcome of the bet. In this case, the prices of Jackson Hasting winning Man of Steel and Salford finishing in the top five are related.

“Were one outcome to happen, the other would be directly affected and as such the double price would be significantly smaller.”

The story, as told by Smeaton: “I was on holiday abroad when we beat Wigan to get to the Grand Final and then Jackson won his title. I was made up. Even Jackson’s mum was pleased for me. Then she sent me a message after reading what William Hill had said and said she was gutted.”

“William Hill have now said they regard our bet as two £50 bets and are prepared to pay out £1,700 to each of us. I am not settling for that. I will take it all the way. The chief executive of William Hill has refused to speak to me.”

“I went back to the branch where I placed the bet and the person who wrote it out for me said he ‘must have been half asleep’ when he did it.”

William Hill defended by saying: “This bet has been struck as a result of human error and as such has been corrected. At no point was the double on offer before the start of the season. Unfortunately, we realise this is disappointing for the customer and we can only apologise.”

No backing down

Smeaton, however, refuses to take no for an answer, saying: “There is no way I am letting this drop. I have taken it to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service.”

He argues that the choosing of the Man of Steel is done by a secret panel and so it cannot influence Red Devils finishing in the top five.

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