When a punter tried to bet on an obscure Greek soccer match not long after collecting almost $30,000 on a second-tier Spanish fixture, staff at a prominent Australian bookmaker figured something didn’t add up.

And despite settling an in-play wager on a game involving Spanish La Liga 2 teams Mirandes and Girona, it soon became clear to PointsBet traders the punter knew a lot more than they did when he placed the bet, an industry watchdog has found.

In one of the more off-centre disputes involving a punter and a bookmaker to go before the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) in 2023, a hearing was told that ‘Mr A’ placed a bet of $6200 at $4.80 on more than 5.5 goals being scored in the Mirandes-Girona clash.

But a PointsBet audit trail tabled during the hearing revealed the punter had placed the bet at 4.37am (CST) - a minute after the sixth goal was scored in injury-time.

Despite paying the man’s $29,760 “winnings” within a few minutes of full time, PointsBet adjusted his account almost an hour later under the wagering firm’s rules, cancelling the bet while returning his initial stake.

But in between the 3-3 draw in Spain and PointsBet resettling on February 14, 2021, the punter, sensing he was one step ahead of the bookmaker, tried to execute another early-morning sting.

It turned out an unsuccessful attempt to have $3200 on more than 2.5 goals being scored between Apollon Smyrnis and Atromitos Athens in what is essentially Greek football’s third division was most likely the undoing of ‘Mr A’.

This time, traders intercepted the bet and it was quickly established the score was already 2-1 and any Valentine’s Day admiration that may have existed for the punters’ adroitness took a turn for the worse.

PointsBet rejected the bet, triggering an in-house investigation into the bona fides of a price feed from a third-party supplier.

The extract out of the NTRC report detailing the timeline of the Mirandes-Girona clash

The punter took the case to the NTRC last year to have his La Liga 2 bet reinstated but a three-member panel found in favour of PointsBet.

“Based on the evidence before the commission it is clear there was a latent defect in the feeds from a third party and had the feeds not been delayed, the market would have been suspended as the result was known or had already occurred,” their judgment read.

“Accordingly, PointsBet have properly relied on rule 3.9.2 to void the bet and remedy the situation.”

‘Mr A’s’ complaint provides a snapshot of just how diverse wagering opportunities are nowadays.

During the past 12 months, the NTRC had to adjudicate disputes on a wide cross-section of sporting, racing and even international political events among 24 hearings that also dealt with bookmakers breaching industry code.

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Everything from hurling matches in Ireland, the result of a US midterm election and the case of a trots punter feeling hard done by on a series of Queensland harness bets came under the microscope.

In each of the abovementioned instances, the Commission found against the punters, including a dispute with Bet365 over a $5000 double placed on two Munster Senior Hurling Championship games for a potential collect of more than $20,500.

The Commission also found that MoneyBall had the right to void bets made on a Redcliffe trots meeting because of several mistakes in pricing runners, confirmed during an audit of odds posted by rival companies.

In deciding the punters’ fate, the Commission said: “Most online sports bookmakers will include pricing error limiting clauses in their terms and conditions, which are agreed to by a customer when they open a betting account with the sports bookmaker.

“These clauses allow the sports bookmaker to void bets placed on mispriced odds and correct the error before it significantly impacts their business.

“By including such clauses in their terms and conditions, online sports bookmakers are transparent about their rights to rectify pricing errors.”

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But in the case of seven people who unsuccessfully challenged Sportsbet’s payout on the 2022 US senate election, the Commission did have some empathy for their angst.

“The Commission has had the opportunity to review Sportsbet’s terms and conditions that applied during the relevant period covered by the wagers, the subject of these disputes,” the judgment read.

“Regrettably, they do not appear to have been drafted by someone for whom the ability to describe complex issues in plain language is a strength.”

Under the terms of the Sportsbet market, independents and minor parties caucusing with another party did not count as a majority.

“Regrettably, they do not appear to have been drafted by someone for whom the ability to describe complex issues in plain language is a strength.”

Fifty-one seats were needed to form a majority and with the final count showing the Republicans winning 50 seats to the Democrats’ 49 with one independent, Sportsbet subsequently settled the market as a “no majority outcome”.

The NTRC found that some information was only available for review by customers up until the time that their bets were placed.

It said punters who wanted to query the settlement of their wagers were unable to check some of the rules to make their own assessment of whether their bets were settled correctly.

“The Commission understands that this must have been frustrating for customers who, having placed a wager, are not able to view the specific terms and conditions that apply to that wager, either before or after the wager is settled.

“To exacerbate matters, Sportsbet continued to accept wagers on a Democratic majority after that contingency could not occur in the way described by the Sportsbet conditions.

“This no doubt added to the confusion experienced by customers who could no longer view the relevant terms and conditions, and who therefore may have concluded that the winning market must include independents who assist a political party in obtaining a majority.”

While finding that Sportsbet correctly settled the market, the Commission said there was a need for the wagering firm to undertake a comprehensive review of its terms and conditions.

Cliick here to see the full list of NTRC decisions