Betting Rule 4 is not something you are likely to notice. What is Rule 4 in betting? This industry-wide deduction rule deals explicitly with non-runners after final declarations are made in sports. In most cases, this will apply to Rule 4 horse racing, greyhounds, and similar types of sports betting events.
What does it all mean, though, and what are Rule 4 deductions. This is an overly tricky subject to wrap your head around, so bear with us as we take our time explaining this important matter in our guide to Betting Rule 4.
- 1What is Rule 4? - Your guide to understanding Rule 4
- 2Best online bookmakers where you can bet on horses 
- 3Betting Rule 4 in action - Betting Rule 4 explained
- 4Betting Rule 4 and Ante-Post markets
- 5Can I use Betting Rule 4 with Starting Prices?
- 6Understanding Rule 4 deductions
- 7How does Rule 4 affect Matched Bets?
- 8The pros and cons of using Betting Rule 4
- 9FAQs: Your questions on Betting Rule 4 answered
What is Rule 4? - Your guide to understanding Rule 4
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Betting Rule 4 in action - Betting Rule 4 explained
If you are wondering how does Rule 4 work in horse racing – let us explain…
- Let us say that you head to one of the top UK horse racing betting sites to have a punt on the Cheltenham Festival.
- You peruse the markets, latest fixed-odds prices and settle on a bet.
- After making your selections, one of the runners pulls out.
- What happens now is that the bookie will use the horse racing betting Rule 4 to reduce your pay-out if your selection bet goes on to win.
- The value of the reduction is determined by the terms and odds of the withdrawn horse.
Betting Rule 4 and Ante-Post markets
Rule 4 in horse racing is universal across all bookmakers. However, there are some bets at horse racing betting sites in UK where it cannot be used. One such type of stake is Ante-Post bets. It does not matter if there are non-runners here. If your selection does not make the race, the stake is settled as a loss and not returned.
Can I use Betting Rule 4 with Starting Prices?
Rule 4 betting does not apply to Starting Price bets (or SP – see here what does SP mean in betting).
- The market reforms, and your prices are adjusted accordingly.
- Should your runner be withdrawn after the SP has been announced, but before the market is reformed, the price is adjusted.
- Nor does this affect fixed prices after the market is reformed.
- You can only see Rule 4 deductions occur before reformed market prices are available. This should be the case for all the biggest bookmakers UK sites.
Understanding Rule 4 deductions
If you have followed us thus far, you will have a vague understanding of Rule 4 betting deductions. However, part of having Rule 4 betting explained to you involves learning how to calculate Rule 4 deductions. We strongly urge you to look at the Rule 4 deduction table below to understand fully. You can also use a horse racing Rule 4 calculator to see your return.
Again, check out our rule 4 deductions table below to see things more clearly…
Price of Non-Runner When Bet Is Placed
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
How does Rule 4 affect Matched Bets?
Rule 4 in Matched Betting can occur when you are backing and laying horses. If you intend on prospering from risk free bet offers, your bookmaker back bet will be subject to the same Rule 4 deductions listed above. However, backs and lays at betting exchanges require a total return deduction. This can see your back and lays bets knocked out of whack, and this may end up costing your money.
The pros and cons of using Betting Rule 4
There are not many pros to Betting Rule 4, and there are a few cons. They include:
- Some bookmakers offer exemptions
- Usually only found in UK and Irish bookmakers
- UKGC has strict rules and monitors its enforcement
- Starting prices can change
- Not ideal when backing and laying for free bets
FAQs: Your questions on Betting Rule 4 answered
Still got questions about Betting Rule 4? Allow us to answer them…
No. Non-runners on Ante-Post bets will be settled as losses.
You do not really get to “use” Rule 4. It is normally applied without your permission. However, you should receive your stake returned in full, whatever the deduction on winnings. The only exception is in the event where Dead Heat rules apply.
Unless your bet is exempt according to the rules listed above, it is safe to assume that Rule 4 will always apply. However, a sportsbook’s terms and conditions and FAQ guides will provide definitive details.
There is no limit to how many Rule 4 deductions you can expect in a single race.
If you accept a price subject to R4, the Rule 4 deduction will apply unless the horse returns with a larger SP. If so, the bet returns at the SP price without the Betting Rule 4 deduction.
Is there a Rule 4 in golf betting? Some bookmakers permit Rule 4 golf betting. However, this usually only applies to Outright Bets. In the event of Each-Way Bets, the Place part of the bet is subjected to Dead Heat rules.
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Now that you know a bit about Betting Rule 4, it may be time for you to learn about other ways to win.
If you fancy taking a chance on the Scoop 6, Tote Trifecta, or Tote Jackpot, check our ultimate guides Alternatively, check out our top selection of betting exchanges and online bookmakers to find the best odds guaranteed.