News Of A Fun Freebie Plus A ‘Did You Know?’ From Chris

| September 19, 2018 | Reply
Tomorrow I have something a bit different for you that I hope you’ll really enjoy…

Don’t worry, it’s not another new service, rather it’s a completely free Betting Rant podcast – something that unbelievably I’ve never done in the 8+ years of heading up this rather wonderful website/e-letter/tipping hub.

My guest for episode one of, hopefully, many is Adam Cheng and the man heading up The Professional was in fine form as we chatted all things football betting.

Do look out for that but in the meantime today I’m handing over to our Head Reviewer, Chris Sowerby.

If you ever have any feedback or questions for Chris or I, you can reach us at

Best wishes,

Matt Houghton

Matt Houghton
Betting Rant

In order to keep up with the number of services out there to be reviewed we will be adding an additional two or three new reviews each month. This means that we will now have six or seven new reviews each month and up to 20 services under review at any one time.

With the new season getting into full swing we have had three football tipsters reviewed recently – Banker Bets, Footie Flutters and Football Acca Tips…

We will now be shifting the focus back onto horseracing for a while, with Architect Tips, Tea Time Tipster and Phoenix Racing next on the schedule. We also have The Professor’s Formula and 15 Point Plan coming to the end of their three-month review cycle. Keep up to date with all the reviews and updates by visiting the review pages regularly.

Unfortunately, the work on the Tipster League upgrade is taking slightly longer than we had hoped, but we won’t launch it until we are 100% happy with everything. So please bear with us, we promise it will be worth the wait! If you haven’t taken a look at the existing version yet, then head over to this page. You can also follow me on Twitter @betwithchris for regular updates, new tipsters added and more.


The Dreaded Rule 4

Newcomers to betting, and particularly to horse racing, are often overwhelmed by some of the terminology and intricacies of betting. “Rule 4 Deduction” is one such phrase that gets trotted out frequently and today I’m going to try and give a clear explanation of what it is, why we have it, how it’s calculated and when it does and doesn’t apply.

So, let’s start by giving it its correct name – Rule 4(c) of the Tattersalls Committee Rules on Betting…

The Tattersalls Committee first issued these rules in 1886 and they are amended from time to time – the last being in 2010 – and form the foundations of the rules that underpin any transaction between punter and bookie.

The official wording of Rule 4(c) 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”

We’ll come onto the scale in a minute, but what does this actually mean?

In simple terms, when a bookmaker creates a book on a race it takes into account the relative chances of all of the horses entered in that race. Any changes to the field for that race after the book has been announced will change the relative chances of the remaining horses…

For example, if a horse is originally rated a 5/1 chance in the original book and then the even money favourite is withdrawn, it’s fair to say that the chances of the 5/1 shot are now much better and it should only be, say, 5/2.

In these circumstances the bookmakers will now revise their odds for the remaining runners and create a new book. Rule 4(c), or R4 as we will now refer to it, applies to situations where a bet has already been struck at the original prices. In this situation the bookmaker is permitted to make a deduction from any winnings to reflect the increased chances of that horse following the withdrawal.

The amount of the deduction is based on a sliding scale dependent on the price of the horse(s) withdrawn.

The deduction is stated in “pence per pound” e.g. 40p in £, but this can also be read as a percentage, in this case 40% of the winnings. Note that the deduction is from the winnings not from the total return – you always get your full stake back.

The full list of deductions is as follows:


Decimal Odds


1/9 or shorter

1.11 or shorter

90p in £1

2/11 to 2/17

1.18 to 1.12

85p in £1

1/4 to 1/5

1.25 to 1.20

80p in £1

3/10 to 2/7

1.30 to 1.29

75p in £1

2/5 to 1/3

1.40 to 1.33

70p in £1

8/15 to 4/9

1.53 to 1.45

65p in £1

8/13 to 4/7

1.62 to 1.57

60p in £1

4/5 to 4/6

1.80 to 1.66

55p in £1

20/21 to 5/6

1.95 to 1.83

50p in £1

Evens to 6/5

2.00 to 2.20

45p in £1

5/4 to 6/4

2.25 to 2.50

40p in £1

8/5 to 7/4

2.60 to 2.75

35p in £1

9/5 to 9/4

2.80 to 3.25

30p in £1

12/5 to 3/1

3.40 to 4.00

25p in £1

16/5 to 4/1

4.20 to 5.00

20p in £1

9/2 to 11/2

5.50 to 6.50

15p in £1

6/1 to 9/1

7.00 to 10.00

10p in £1

10/1 to 14/1

11.00 to 15.00

5p in £1

Many bookmakers now ignore the 5p rate and, as there was no deduction for odds over 14/1 anyway, effectively only apply R4 adjustments for non-runners priced 9/1 or shorter at the time of withdrawal.

Where two or more horses are withdrawn from a race the deductions are totalled together and applied…

For example, if horses priced at 2/1 and 5/1 were withdrawn then the total deduction would be 45p in £ (30p + 15p as per the table above). Combined deductions cannot exceed 90p in £, and some bookmakers now limit this to 75p in £ (you need to check individual bookmaker’s rules).

If the second or subsequent horses are withdrawn after a new book has been made the deduction will be applied based on their odds in the original book.

R4 only applies after the final declarations for a race have been made – usually 24 hours before the race but can be 48 hours. Therefore, by definition, R4 does not apply to ante-post bets (hence the value advantage in placing ante-post bets – as long as you don’t back the non-runner of course!).

The other key time that there will be no Rule 4 deduction is if you take the SP (starting price) because this will always take into account only the horses that actually go to post and any withdrawals will be accounted for…

The exception to this occurs when a horse is withdrawn at the last minute and there is no time to reform the book and calculate a “correct” SP. Examples of this would be where a horse refuses to load, where it gets unruly in the stalls, where it gets loos on the way to the start, where it has the wrong headgear etc. In circumstances like this you will see a note similar to this appear (this one is from the Racing Post website):


  • Gossiping (withdrawn; unruly in stalls)


  • Gossiping was withdrawn. Price at time of withdrawal 14/1. Rule 4 applies to all bets – deduction 5p in the pound.

While R4 relates to bets with traditional bookmakers, betting exchanges have a slightly different process.

In the event of a non-runner there will be a reduction factor to be applied to previously matched exchange bets. This is to ensure that layers are not unfairly treated and exposed to large liabilities when the chances of other horses winning have improved (in the same way that R4 protects traditional bookmakers).

The following example taken from the Betfair Exchange site should help show how this balances out between backers and layers.


  • You matched a back bet on the horse ‘Diamond Night’ for £10 @ 8.6.
  • Your liability is £10.
  • A horse in the same race is now withdrawn with a reduction factor of 16.2%
  • 8.6 x 16.2% = 1.39 (this is the amount to be reduced from the original price)
  • 8.6 – 1.39 = 7.21 (this is the new price that you will be paid out if the horse wins.)
  • Your new possible profit will be £62.10 (instead of £76 originally)


  • You matched a lay bet on the horse ‘Diamond Night’ for £10 @ 8.6.
  • Your liability is £76.
  • A horse in the same race is now withdrawn with a reduction factor of 16.2%
  • 8.6 x 16.2% = 1.39 (this is the amount to be reduced from the original price)
  • 8.6 – 1.39 = 7.21 (this is the new price to calculate your liability.)
  • Your liability is reduced to £62.10 (instead of £76 originally).

If the reduction factor is less than 2.5% it is not applied. This is similar to having no R4 deduction for horses priced at 14/1 or over as they were not material in the formation of the original market prices.

One important difference to note is that the exchange reduction factor is applied to the total return and not just the winnings as R4 is.

While it can seem a tad confusing at first, the actual principles and mechanics behind R4 are actually quite simple and equitable, though you may not always feel that when 70% of your winnings on that nice 16/1 shot have been deducted!

Just remember however, next time you back a non-runner and get your stake back, you can’t have your cake and eat it!




Category: Betting, Horse Racing, Horse Racing Tipsters

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