What is rule 4?
Customers, when collecting the winnings from a bet, will quite often receive less money than they were expecting to be paid and this is more often than not due to a Rule 4 deduction.

Rule 4 is an industry wide deduction that is made to winning bets IF there is a non-runner in the event AFTER the customer has placed a bet AND taken a fixed price.

So what does this mean in practice? When a bookmaker prices up an event they do so with the view that all participants will take part and adjust their prices accordingly. The customer then places a bet on Runner 6 at a price of 10/1 and, some time after, the favourite at 2/1 is withdrawn from the race. It is impossible for the bookmaker to contact every customer individually and advise them every time this occurs to adjust their price so the Rule 4 deduction is applied, should the bet be a winner, to account for this.

Tattersalls own wording of the rule is:

Where a bet has been placed and a price taken on the day of the race and there is subsequently an official notification that a horse has been withdrawn or has been declared ‘not to have started’, the liability of a layer against any horse remaining in the race, win or place, will be reduced in accordance with the following scale depending on the odds current against the withdrawn horse at the time of such official notification: –

Odds (or decimal equivalent) Scale of deduction (per £)
1/9 or longer odds on 90 pence
2/11 to 2/17 85 pence
1/4 to 1/5 80 pence
3/10 to 2/7 75 pence
2/5 to 1/3 70 pence
8/15 to 4/9 65 pence
8/13 to 4/7 60 pence
4/5 to 4/6 55 pence
20/21 to 5/6 50 pence
Evens to 6/5 45 pence
5/4 to 6/4 40 pence
8/5 to 7/4 35 pence
9/5 to 9/4 30 pence
12/5 to 3/1 25 pence
16/5 to 4/1 20 pence
9/2 to 11/2 15 pence
6/1 to 9/1 10 pence
10/1 to 14/1 5 pence
Over 14/1 No deduction

In the case of two or more horses being withdrawn, the total reduction shall not exceed 90 pence
in the pound.

In our example above the withdrawal of the 2/1 favourite would result in a deduction of 30p in the pound should our bet win.

Full Tattersalls Rules