A PUNTER has lost out on a £17,000 football bet due to a glitch on his bookies' computer system.Dougie Watson, 40, placed a 13-fold accumulator at William Hill at 1.30pm - three seconds after the first match on his coupon had kicked off.When he pointed this out, he says the operator assured him the game would be declared void and would not count towards the bet.But he later discovered that the computer terminal had failed to do this, leaving him out of pocket.Dougie, a painter and decorator, said: "I'd noticed the time was just after 1.30 and asked William Hill to take the first game off."But the operator said their computer would automatically void the match because of the time."He checked the slip after the last match was played and found the game on December 5, between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle, had been listed.Dougie, of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, went back to William Hill in nearby Kincardine, where he had placed the bet, but they were having none of it.He said: "When I challenged the shop manager, he phoned his area manager but he wasn't interested."He asked for a copy of the betting slip to be emailed to him by the shop. It clearly states the time is 13.30:03. But he quickly said he wasn't paying out because the machine was correct to accept the bet."Dad-of-two Dougie later tested William Hill's theory by placing other bets which were five seconds and nine seconds over.He said: "These bets were voided so there was no reason for mine not to have been treated the same. I was able to prove my point but William Hill still won't budge."Dougie, who contacted the independent betting adjudication service IBAS, said: "I feel like I am beating my head off a brick wall."I've spoken to other bookies who say the bet should have been void and I should get my cash."A William Hill spokesman said: "Mr Watson presented his bet prior to 13.30 when his first game kicked off. Our rules state there is a 15-minute leeway period for football matches unless the customer receipt confirms that the late selection is void."Because this was so close to the start, the system allowed the bet to stand for both parties."The customer alleges he was given verbal confirmation the late selection would be void but our staff deny this."He referred his dispute to IBAS, who settled in our favour."
This sounds very harsh.