How to stop bookies limiting your account

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If you’re any good at sports betting, or even if you’ve had a run of good fortune at some stage of your online betting exploits, there’s a decent chance you’ve had an online gambling account restricted at some point.

How would you know if that was the case? You might receive a vague email informing you of the fact, but for the most part it happens without you knowing about it. The bookies aren’t exactly keen to publicise that this is common practice for them.

A more likely scenario is that one day you login and place a bet, but instead of the bet going through you’ll receive a message to say the bet has been referred to a trader.

After that, you’ll either be told that the bet is cancelled, or offered a much lower stake.

How bookies monitor your winnings

Just like any other company, the bookies have a business model and if a customer doesn’t fit into that model, the bookmaker will restrict their account. The aim being to seek out the profitable gamblers and mitigate their exposure to them.

All bookmakers have a risk-management team who use a set of criteria to decide which customers are good value to them, and which are not.

It is believed that punters are assigned a rating by each bookmaker based on their betting patterns. The higher your score, the more you are allowed to bet. If the bookies see evidence that you’re a winning gambler, they will lower your rating – decreasing the amount you can bet.

So what can we do about this?

It doesn’t seem fair does it? If you’re successful at sports betting, you get your account restricted. So how can we realistically expect to be long-term winning gamblers?

There’s no perfect answer to that question, but there are some things you can do to help with this problem. And if you’re serious about sports betting you should be aware of them.

This is by no means a definitive guide, in the most part because most of the information isn’t publicly available. We as gamblers can only make assumptions about the practices of each bookmaker, and in turn, use those assumptions to lower the chances of the bookies limiting your betting account.

These tips are more an accumulation of the knowledge I’ve picked up by betting online pretty much since betting online became a thing, as well as a few good pointers from friends and colleagues.

Tips to stop bookies limiting or closing your account

Tip 1: Don’t cashout too often

Your deposits and cashouts cost your online bookmaker money and it seriously affects their bottom-line. If your account is referred to a trader for review, there’s a decent chance cashout frequency will be a factor in their decision on whether or not to limit your account.

If you’re the sort of punter who likes to cashout after each win to remove the temptation of having funds to bet with, you might get flagged because it’s costing them money. If possible, try to limit the number of times you cashout and deposit – it should reduce the chances your account will get flagged for this.

Tip 2: Go easy on the promotions

If you’re utilising every single promotion on offer without using the account for much else, just like with the deposit/cashout thing, the bookie might consider you a non-profitable customer and limit you.

This advice doesn’t really apply to those gamblers who are only trying to take advantage of betting offers, sometimes known as ‘matched betting’. That is a whole different ball-game, really, and although the advice in this post might help you a little bit, it’s fairly inevitable that you’ll get your accounts restricted sooner or later.

If you’re serious about making profit from gambling in the long-term, then go easy on the reload offers. It draws unwanted attention to your account for what are minimal gains.

Tip 3: Use Pinnacle Sports

As far as I know, Pinnacle Sports are the only bookmaker who never restrict accounts, and certainly in my own experience they have never done so.

Unfortunately, they currently don’t allow accounts in the UK after the licensing laws changed last year. I’ve noticed they have a Malta license now so I’m hoping a UK license shouldn’t be too far away.

If I was a betting man I’d say they’ll be open for UK customers within six months.

Tip 4: Use betting exchanges

This is fairly obvious to most punters I’m sure, but betting exchanges such as Betfair or Matchbook are essential. With exchanges, you are betting against other punters and pay a small commission to the site for each bet, so it goes without saying that you won’t get your account restricted.

Another useful aspect of exchanges is you can lay against bets placed at your bookmaker and this has some useful advantages that I will detail a bit further on.

Tip 5: Track your results

Just forget about account limiting for a second, because you should be tracking your results anyway. It’s extremely important for bankroll management and maintaining a structured betting strategy.

Getting back on topic, by tracking results we can easily exactly how much we’ve won or lost with each bookie. If you’re running hot with one particular bookie you can park it for a little while until things cool off.

If you wanted to be a bit more proactive, you can also employ a fake-loss technique to ‘balance the books’.

This leads me nicely to tips six and seven…

Tip 6: Place mug bets

By placing a ‘mug bet’ you’re trying to disguise yourself as a regular punter. It’s a technique mostly used by the matched bettors who deliberately select bets that are not involved in promotions.

It can also work as part of a general fake-loss technique. The purpose, again, is to blend into the crowd, to make the bookie believe you’re a ‘mug bettor’. The risk, of course, is that you might get lucky and win the bet, or a series of bets, and get your account limited as a result.

To avoid losing money through mug betting you need to lay the bets using an exchange at equal or very close to the backing odds.

Tip 7: Back and lay short-priced selections

We can also fake losses by routinely backing and laying short priced-selections using exchanges until we lose enough money. Bookies make the bulk of their money from laying favourites, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to lose enough money by arbitrarily backing them.

If you randomly bet low-priced selections and get enough volume in, then the bookie’s overround will eventually beat you and you’ll lose money. In reality, we won’t lose money because for every bet we lose with a bookmaker, we’ll have won on the exchange.

This strategy takes a bit of practice and knowhow, otherwise you could make a costly mistake, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re a beginner.

You’d need to use a site such oddschecker and cross-reference with Betfair to find back and lay options where the lay odds at Betfair are equal to, or very close to, the backing odds at the bookies.

I personally favour this technique over ‘mug betting’ as the risk of winning big and getting your account restricted as a result is far lower.

Tip 8: Bet round numbers (for arbing)

Betting precise amounts (for example, £112.43) would flag you as an arber fairly quickly. And yeah, you’ve guessed it, the bookies don’t like arbers because they make money. How rude of them, right?!

Rounding up or down to whole numbers is a simple but effective technique that should help keep you off the radar, for a while at least.

Tip 9: Don’t be Mr Billy Big Bollocks

The bookies are always monitoring the risk involved, so naturally, the more you bet, the higher their potential risk.

If you just rock up, deposit big and start lumping on League Two corner handicaps, the chances are a few alarm bells will start ringing. I’ve done that sort of thing and, believe me, the fun didn’t last long! In fact I was restricted to virtually nothing within five bets.

Now, whether you actually know what you’re doing is another matter, but once you’ve placed a mark on your head it won’t take much to tip balance and get them to shut you down.

If you get yourself flagged like this, the fact is, you’re only going to keep your account if you start losing heavily. That is exactly the sort of lose-lose situation we are trying to avoid.


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Professional gambler & blogger. Say hello or shout abuse @tarrou22