Bookies have refused to pay out on a 300-1 bet after admitting they made a mistake with the odds.
Punter George Mustard expected a windfall after gambling on Alex Lowes to win the British Superbike championship.
He placed £5 on the rider with Coral bookmakers at Roker Avenue, Sunderland, and was hoping to pick up his winnings when Lowes won.
Draughtsman George, 50, had expected to walk away with £1,500 but bosses at the betting shop refused to pay out on the wager placed at the beginning of the season in February.
They admit staff made a mistake in quoting the odds but claim George should have spotted the error.
George, who works for an engineering company, said: “I placed the bet, got a receipt, and hoped for the best. There were no odds at the time so the lady in the shop rang Coral head office asking for a price.
“She told me I could have odds of 300-1 providing that my maximum bet was £5.
“I remember thinking the odds were very good but they must have been right because they came from head office. The British Superbike Championship was settled in October and my rider won.
“I went to claim my bet and was told they could not pay out.”
George, of Sunderland, complained to Coral’s head office and was told there was nothing they could do.
He said: “I was told the odds were far too high and they would not pay out on the bet. I was told the best odds I could have hoped for was 5-2.
“The situation is utterly ridiculous and I am fuming about this.”
A spokesman for Coral admitted George’s bet had been accepted after staff at the shop checked with head office.
He said: “The bet was placed at a price which was nothing like the right price. He knows himself it was the wrong price. We apologised for the error but we are all human and make mistakes sometimes.
“It’s in our rules that we will pay out at the right odds when a mistake has been made. The rules are there to protect us.There was clearly a conversation between the branch and head office and that’s when the mistake occurred. The customer has the right to go to arbitration and we are bound by their decision.”
George, 50, said he was prepared to go to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service.
He said: “Coral should not be allowed to retrospectively change the odds. If I had lost a bet and decided afterwards that I had gambled too much and asked for most of my stake back they would just laugh at me.
“I am not usually a betting man apart from a few quid on the Grand National but I am a huge motorbike fan and noticed this young lad rising through the ranks and thought he would be worth a bet. I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t be so quick to enter a Coral betting shop in the future.”
A spokesman for Coral said: “As a valued Coral customer, and by way of apology, I would like to offer a £20 free bet voucher.
“I trust this resolves the matter to your satisfaction and you can enjoy continue to enjoy betting with Coral.”
George made a complaint to the arbitration service IBAS who found in favour of Coral because the terms and conditions of the bet protect them from pricing errors. They did, however, admit it was a sloppy mistake by Coral.
George is now launching a small claims action against the bookies.
It’s not the first time Coral have refused to pay out on a bet because they made a mistake. A Bristol man expected to win £8,000 after betting on France, Serbia, and Argentina to each score three goals in their World Cup qualifying matches.
But Coral refused to pay the full amount despite admitting a clerk had mistakenly given him the odds of the three teams all scoring four or more goals instead of three. They said they would pay him £1,216.67 – what he would have got with the right odds.