Why Bookmakers Limit Accounts
In certain circumstances, bookmakers will limit the account of a betting customer. This means that they will restrict the amount that a customer can stake on a wager. A bookmaker will typically do this to accounts that are winning too much money, but it's not unheard for losing accounts to be limited too. In extreme circumstances, accounts can even be closed.
If you have been betting for a while, and experienced some level of success, this may well have already happened to you. If it hasn't, it's something you should be prepared for. There's no guarantee your account will be closed even if you are very good, but it's something that can and does happen to bettors.
Bettors understandably get very frustrated when their accounts get limited or closed. There's an argument that it's not "fair", and that bookmakers should always be willing to take business from bettors even if they are winning. However, it's important to remember that bookmakers are in business to make money, and they ultimately have to protect their commercial position. They are quite within their rights to refuse wagers from anyone, or to limit the amount they can stake.
In this article we look at the three main reasons that can lead to a bookmaker limiting or closing an account. We also offer some tips on how to avoid it happening to you.
Suspicion of "Arbing"
Arbing is a slang term for arbitrage: the practice of placing wagers on different outcomes with different betting companies in order to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome. Arbitrage opportunities aren't exactly plentiful, although the introduction of betting exchanges has made it easier to find them.
Bettors that regularly try to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities aren't very popular with bookmakers. Arbing isn't considered legitimate business, and they will be very quick to limit the accounts of anyone they suspect of it. In some respects this is perfectly reasonable, because anyone that's arbitrage betting isn't really gambling at all. On the other hand, arbing doesn't break any specific rules.
It's perfectly possible to make decent money out of arbitrage betting, but you need to accept that there's a strong possibility you'll have your betting accounts limited or closed. Bookmakers are pretty good at recognizing arbitrage activity, and you'll have to be smart to avoid their attention.
You should certainly avoid staking odd amounts on your wagers, because this is considered a clear sign of arbing. Staking an amount such as $23.76 will almost certainly raise a red flag with most bookies. It's best to keep to round numbers, even if this means you aren't maximizing your potential profit for any given opportunity.
It's also a good idea to spread your betting across several accounts. This is easy enough to do, because there are plenty of decent sports betting sites on the web, and it doesn't take long to open accounts with them.
Abuse of Promotions or Bonuses
Most online bookmakers and sports betting sites give their regular customers bonuses as a reward for betting with them. They also tend to run additional promotions, such as money back specials and enhanced odds. This is done primarily to keep their customers happy and provide them with some extra value.
While the bookmakers have no problem giving something back to genuine customers, they don't take kindly to people who take unfair advantage of their generosity. They generally have terms and conditions in place that ensure only those who are betting legitimately benefit from bonuses and promotions, but there are sometimes loopholes which enable people to abuse them. A pretty obvious one is wagering on all the possible outcomes of an event to try and meet the wagering requirements of a bonus without losing too much of it.
If you're suspected of this kind of activity, don't be surprised to see your account limited or closed. The only advice we can give you to prevent this happening is simply not to try and take unfair advantage of promotions or bonuses. It's usually perfectly possible to get some significant benefit out of them while still using them in the way they are intended to be used.
As we mentioned earlier, bookmakers exist for the sole purpose of making money. There are plenty of bettors out there who lose money regularly, and they are the type of customers the bookmakers want. They obviously don't mind customers that win some of their bets, but they don't particularly like those that consistently make a profit.
If you are, or you become, a successful bettor, it's very possible that you'll have a betting account limited or closed at some point. Most bookmakers will let you ride a winning streak for a while, but if you continue to win on a regular basis they probably won't want your business.
There's not much you can do about this if you are a really skilled bettor. You can try to make a few sucker bets every now and then, to try and make it look like you're not really that good, but that will only work for so long. There's no point in giving all your winnings back just to keep your account open, and eventually your overall profits will alert a bookmaker to your abilities.
The other solution is to again just use multiple betting sites. Your accounts will last longer if you are spreading your activity around several different bookmakers, so you should at least get the opportunity to make more money in total before they start getting limited or closed.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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