Video Assistant Referee Technology: What does it mean for Exchange markets?

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Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology has been introduced to many of football's top competitions, including the World Cup, FA Cup, the Bundesliga, and Serie A and this means some changes to the way Betfair Exchange football markets are managed. Here's the lowdown...

How will VAR incidents affect Exchange football markets?

Betfair suspends all markets on all games when a goal, penalty or red card is likely to be awarded. This ensures the bets of backers and layers are matched fairly, as all unmatched bets are cancelled if the goal, penalty or red card is awarded by the referee.

In almost all circumstances, it is clear within a few seconds whether a goal, penalty or red card has been awarded. Once the event is confirmed, affected markets are settled, unmatched bets are cancelled, and the remaining markets are reopened. It all usually happens within a few seconds.

However, because a VAR decision can lead to a goal, penalty or red card being awarded a significant amount of time after the event occurred, often markets will have reopened because the referee has not initially awarded anything and has waited until the ball has gone out of play to review the incident.

As a result, bets will have been matched in the time between the markets reopening and the referee reversing their decision.

How will the Exchange handle VAR incidents?

Betfair will endeavour to suspend all markets on games as soon as we believe a decision will be reviewed using VAR technology. Sometimes, due to television coverage or the lack of information from match officials, it can be unclear whether an incident is under review or not. This all means many customers can have bets unfairly matched.

What events are affected by VAR?

Penalties, red cards and goals are treated as "Material Events" by the Exchange, meaning that markets should suspend and unmatched bets cancel when they occur to protect customers.

When these incidents occur they will be processed if we are certain the material event has been confirmed by the officials at the game. Undetermined markets are reopened and determined markets are settled.

What if a goal, penalty or red card is given and then reversed?

When we believe a decision will be reviewed, we will try to suspend all markets as soon as possible until the decision is confirmed or reversed.

If customers placed bets on the basis that a goal was scored but it is subsequently cancelled because of a review, they were responsible for placing those bets and managing their position within the market in the knowledge that the event could be reviewed and reversed.

Where a material event is cancelled due to a determination made via a video assistant referee, Betfair will void all bets which are matched between the occurrence of the material event and the cancellation of it. The voiding of any such bets may take place during the event or retrospectively once a game is completed.

What happens if a goal, penalty or red card is not given at first, but then awarded after review?

As soon as we believe the referee will use VAR to review an incident we will aim to suspend all markets.

If the referee decides to award the penalty, goal or red card, we will void bets matched from when the incident took place to the suspension time for the VAR review because these bets should've been cancelled when the initial incident occurred.

The event will then be processed and markets put back in-play as soon as possible.

Are any other events affected by VAR?

Yes. Should a player be mistakenly sent off and then reversed, we will re-settle the relevant market, such as a shown a card market. Should a decision go to VAR after a red card has been processed based on mistaken identity, all markets will remain active except affected markets, which will be suspended and re-settled if the player in question is changed.

When can I expect VAR affected bets to be corrected?

We will try to make all re-settlements in under five minutes, but this will depend on the situation in the game and how many markets the material event has affected. The higher profile the fixture, the more bets will be affected.

What other impact can VAR incidents have on markets?

Unfortunately, any unmatched bets that are cancelled due to an event that is subsequently reversed by VAR decision cannot be reinstated by our system. Customers will need to re-enter any bets should they wish to offer same bet following an event cancelled by VAR.

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