Rule 4s Explained

Rule 4 is an industry-standard deduction that is made on a selection when there is a non-runner after the final declarations for that race have been made, and you have taken a price.

For example, if you have £10 win on a horse and take 5/1 and the 2/1 favourite then becomes a non-runner, your 5/1 is looking very generous. You have to remember that the original market was formed with the 2/1 favourite in there, and subsequently the prices for each selection change accordingly when that horse is withdrawn. Equally we do have to refund all stakes on the nonrunner.

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 will have been a much shorter price.

The scale of deductions for Rule 4 is listed below:

a) 1/9 or shorter – deductions 90p in the £1

(b) 2/11 to 2/17 inclusive – deductions 85p in the £1

(c) 1/4 to 1/5 inclusive – deductions 80p in the £1

(d) 3/10 – 2/7 inclusive – deductions 75p in the £1

(e) 2/5 to 1/3 inclusive – deductions 70p in the £1

(f) 8/15 to 4/9 inclusive – deductions 65p in the £1

(g) 8/13 to 4/7 inclusive – deductions 60p in the £1

(h) 4/5 to 4/6 inclusive – deductions 55p in the £1

(i) 20/21 to 5/6 inclusive – deductions 50p in the £1

(j) Evens to 6/5 inclusive – deductions 45p in the £1

(k) 5/4 to 6/4 inclusive – deductions 40p in the £1

(l) 13/8 to 7/4 inclusive – deductions 35p in the £1

(m) 15/8 to 9/4 inclusive – deductions 30p in the £1

(n) 5/2 to 3/1 inclusive – deductions 25p in the £1

(o) 10/3 to 4/1 inclusive – deductions 20p in the £1

(p) 9/2 to 11/2 inclusive – deductions 15p in the £1

(q) 6/1 to 9/1 inclusive – deductions 10p in the £1

(r) 10/1 to 14/1 inclusive – deductions 5p in the £1

(s) If over 14/1 the liability would be unchanged


In the event of there being 2 or more withdrawals, the total deduction shall not exceed 90p in the £1. The Rule 4 is not applied to the returned stake, just the winnings.

If you have any queries regarding this, or any other issue, our staff will be more than happy to assist. It is important that you realise Rule 4 deductions are a standard, but the deduction for any given race can vary in different betting shops. For instance our firm may have the favourite priced at 13/8, which gives a 35p rule 4, and one of our competitors may have priced it at 6/5, giving a 45p rule 4. This will only impact if you take an early price. If you take a board price, once the shows from the course have opened, then the horses will be the same price at each betting shop. Often in the newspapers they make no mention of rule 4, as they would not know what each bookmaker was deducting as there may be several different prices for the same horse.

Sometimes you will see “rule 4 applies to all bets”, and this will be because the selection was withdrawn shortly before the start and there was no time to form a new market, so the prices shown still include the withdrawn runner.

Some examples –

£10 Red King 4.10 Ascot. Price taken.

Bet placed at 11.35. Blue Circle withdrawn at 13.15,

Blue Circle was showing 100/30 at plucks and 9/4 at PLC.

Plucks rule 4 is 20p, PLC rule 4 is 30p


£5 Sonny Boy 3.30 Chester Price taken.

Bet placed at 3.24. High Flyer withdrawn at 3.26. new market formed at 3.28.

High Flyer was showing a board price of 4/1 at the time.

Rule 4 is 20p everywhere, on all bets placed prior to the new market – where a price was taken, no

rule 4 to SP.


£10 Acrobat 4.55 Ayr, at SP

Bet placed at 15.20. Busy Bee withdrawn at 9/2 just before the off, no new market.

Rule 4 is 15p to ALL bets, everywhere


£5 Tango Queen, 17.20 Haydock, Price taken.

Bet placed at 11.25. Red Socks withdrawn at 13.00, at 3/1 at Plucks, 4/1 at PLC, then Tree Fella

withdrawn at 16.35, 5/1 at plucks, 3/1 at PLC.

Rule 4 is 40p at plucks (25p + 15p) and 45p at PLC (25p + 20p)


We hope this helps clear the issue up, but please speak to our staff if you need further assistance