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Betting Rule 4 | What is Rule 4 in Horse Racing?


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.

What is Rule 4? - Your guide to understanding Rule 4

What does Rule 4 mean in horse racing? To be fair, Rule 4 horse betting is subject to the same conditions as in other racing sports, such as greyhound betting. A part of Tattersalls Rule of Racing, the horse racing Rule 4 is explained as what happens when you have non-runners after your bets have been placed.

If you place a bet on a horse or greyhound after the final declarations are made, then one (or several) horses pull out; the original price is no longer reflecting your chance of winning. Because of this, bookmakers (and we mean all of them) will reduce your payout if your selection bet wins. Naturally, the horse racing Rule 4 deductions come into play depending on the original price of the runner, which was withdrawn.

Some bookmakers have chosen to do away with the lowest reductions, such as the 5p Rule 4. This is not common. Moreover, Ante-Post bets are exempted. While horse racing and greyhound racing are the two main sports where you are likely to see Rule 4 implemented, it can “in theory” be applied to any sports where selections are withdrawn, such as golf.

The best way to see this in action is to use an example. If you have an idea about how to bet on horses and understand basic horse betting terms, let us explain it to you…

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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.
  • If you bet on a horse at 5/1 and the race has a 4/1 withdrawal, you can expect a 20p drop (per pound) thanks to Rule 4.
  • You would have lost 20% of the value of your selection. You can see how this works with our deductions chart below.
  • However, if the withdrawn horse were never likely to win, such as with odds of 20/1, you will not get a deduction.
  • If it was a favourite, the deduction plays a more damaging role in the deduction. Basically, the shorter the price of the eventual non-runner at the time you place your bets, the larger the reduction will be in horse racing results with Rule 4.

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.

➤  What is a Rule 4 deduction?
Rule 4 deductions are only applied when a runner pulls out. However, if multiple runners drop out, the market must re-set with all-new prices before Rule 4 can be applied.

➤ How to calculate Rule 4 deductions? 
Assuming your selection wins, your calculation should be: Your Bet (1-(20/100) = Your bet x 0.8 = Your Return.

➤ What is the maximum Rule 4 deduction?
The maximum Rule 4 deduction should be 90p per £1 or 90%.

➤ What is the minimum Rule 4 deduction?
The minimum Rule 4 deduction should be 5p per £1 or 5%.

Again, check out our rule 4 deductions table below to see things more clearly…

Price of Non-Runner When Bet Is Placed

Decimal Odds

Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)

Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings

1/9 or Shorter
Decimal Odds
1.11 or Shorter
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
90p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
90%
2/11 to 2/17
Decimal Odds
1.18 to 1.12
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
85p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
85%
1/4 to 1/5
Decimal Odds
1.25 to 1.20
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
80p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
80%
3/10 to 2/7
Decimal Odds
1.30 to 1.29
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
75p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
75%
2/5 to 1/3
Decimal Odds
1.40 to 1.33
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
70p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
70%
8/15 to 4/9
Decimal Odds
1.53 to 1.45
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
65p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
65%
8/13 to 4/7
Decimal Odds
1.62 to 1.57
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
60p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
60%
4/5 to 4/6
Decimal Odds
1.80 to 1.66
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
55p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
55%
20/21 to 5/6
Decimal Odds
1.95 to 1.83
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
50p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
50%
Evens to 6/5
Decimal Odds
2.00 to 2.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
45p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
45%
5/4 to 6/4
Decimal Odds
2.25 to 2.50
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
40p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
40%
8/5 to 7/4
Decimal Odds
2.60 to 2.75
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
35p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
35%
9/5 to 9/4
Decimal Odds
2.80 to 3.25
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
30p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
30%
12/5 to 3/1
Decimal Odds
3.40 to 4.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
25p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
25%
16/5 to 4/1
Decimal Odds
4.20 to 5.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
20p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
20%
9/2 to 11/2
Decimal Odds
5.50 to 6.50
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
15p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
15%
6/1 to 9/1
Decimal Odds
7.00 to 10.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
10p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
10%
10/1 to 14/1
Decimal Odds
11.00 to 15.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
5p
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
5%
Over 14/1
Decimal Odds
Over 15.00
Rule 4 Deduction (Taken from each £1 Won)
No Deduction
Deduction Shown As a Percentage of the Winnings
No Deduction

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:

PROS

  • Some bookmakers offer exemptions
  • Usually only found in UK and Irish bookmakers
  • UKGC has strict rules and monitors its enforcement

CONS

  • 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.

Find top bookmakers to wager with today

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.