What is Rule 4?

Newcomers to betting on horse racing do get confused by Rule 4. We have tried to explain it as clearly as possible.

Rule 4 is an industry-standard deduction that is made on a horse or dog when there is a non-runner in a race after the final declarations for that race have been made and you have taken a fixed odds price.

For example, if you have £10 win on a horse and take 5/1 (6.0 in decimal odds) and the 2/1 (3.0) favourite then becomes a non-runner, your 5/1 (6.0) is looking very generous.

On markets on the day of a race anyone who backs a non-runner will get their stakes refunded. Those people who backed the 2/1 shot will have their money refunded and therefore Rule 4 exists to make a deduction from your bet on the 5/1 shot. This is because if the 2/1 favourite had not been in the betting for the race when you placed your bet your 5/1 shot may have been, say 3/1.

Rule 4 deductions only occur AFTER the final declarations for a race are made. This is when non-runners mean you get your stake back. Usually, but not always, the final declaration stage is 24 hours before the race. It can be 48 hours before a race.

Rule 4 does not apply to any ante-post market. Ante-post or futures markets are betting on a horse race before the final declarations are known. If you back a non-runner in an ante-post market then you do not get your money back so obviously no Rule 4 is applied to the people who are holding bets on horses that benefit from this non-runner.

The official Tattersalls Rule 4 deductions, as applied by all UK bookies, are as follows:

  • a) If the current odds of the non-runner are 1/9 or shorter at the time the non-runner withdraws from the race, then 90p in £/E/$ is deducted (or 90% of winnings)
  • b) If over 2/11 up to and including 2/17, 85% of winnings deducted
  • c) If over 1/4 up to and including 1/5, 80% of winnings deducted
  • d) If over 3/10 up to & including 2/5, 70% of winnings deducted
  • e) If over 2/5 up to and including 8/15, 65% of winnings deducted
  • f) If over 8/15 up to and including 8/13, 60% of winnings deducted
  • g) If over 8/13 up to and including 4/5, 55% of winnings deducted
  • h) If over 4/5 up to and including 20/21, 50% of winnings deducted
  • i) If over 20/21 up to and including 6/5, 45% of winnings deducted
  • j) If over 6/5 up to and including 6/4, 40% of winnings deducted
  • k) If over 6/4 up to and including 7/4, 35% of winnings deducted
  • l) If over 7/4 up to and including 9/4, 30% of winnings deducted
  • m) If over 9/4 up to and including 3/1, 25% of winnings deducted
  • n) If over 3/1 up to and including 4/1, 20% of winnings deducted
  • o) If over 4/1 up to and including 11/2, 15% of winnings deducted
  • p) If over 11/2 up to and including 9/1, 10% of winnings deducted
  • q) If over 9/1 up to and including 14/1, 5% of winnings deducted
  • r) If the non-runner is over 14/1 then there is no deduction

In the event of there being two or more withdrawals in one event, the total deduction shall not exceed 90p in £ (or 90% of the winnings). The Rule 4 deduction is not applied to the winning client’s returned stake, only to their winnings.

Can Rule 4 apply to anything other than horse or dog racing?

Yes. This is possible on general sports. Outright markets (defined as after the draw/official field is confirmed for a specific event) may be subject to a deduction equivalent to Tattersalls Rule 4. The Rule 4 will be applied, according to the table of deductions related to Horse Racing.