Limited by Bookies

Avoid being Limited by Bookies

17 Tips to Avoid being Limited by Bookies

Most people get limited by bookies for one reason only, arbitrage betting. The restrictions put in place for this is generally the most severe that the bookmaker has available to them. To either close the account, or limit bets to a size not worth your trouble.

I see in forums and all over social media complaints from disgruntled punters about being limited. They rage that it’s because they are a winning customer, and to their bottom line they might be, but bookies will also limit your account for arbing even if you’re losing with them. Traders, the people within the bookies that set the odds, see this form of betting as the lowest of the low. In fact arbers are often referred to as rats.

“It is only smart to shop about and get the best price” is the average punters response to be told betting on out of line odds has got them restricted. And you’re right, you should. But there is a difference between getting on top odds and betting mistakes or taking advantage of bookmakers’ lack of man power by getting on odds they are slow to move. So by all means get on top price, just not on errors. But be aware, always betting top price may still end in you being limited, but often the restriction for this isn’t as harsh.

You have to remember that many people working in the trading room, and in other departments, get a portion of their wage paid to them via a bonus. To get this bonus, certain targets need to be met. So knowing this, it’s clear to see why any right minded thinking individual would like to limit undesirable punters.

Of course there is a constant dance between what is best for the traders, betting company and the punter. Traders can’t limit every customer for one single indiscretion, as this can often happen by accident. If they did the company will slowly start to lose customers and begin to get a bad reputation on punter forums. So the heads in the company need to make sure a trigger happy approach isn’t happening just because traders wish to make their bonus.

This is often done with a set of rules and good software. Each trading room will have a risk team, or at least someone assigned to manage risk at any given time of day. Their job will be to go through reports of winning and losing customers to assign them to a certain category (called marking-up) and to keep an eye on the ticker.

A piece of software that is invaluable to a trading room is their ticker; this is a screen where all bets pass through in real time and is being constantly watched. Customers that have been marked-up will be easily identified as they will be highlighted in some manner. Generally this is done by different colours for different “offences”. Yellow might indicate top price punters, green for arbers, blue for shrewd football bettor etc. With this information the risk manager can then click into that match and leave a note, or mark-up all other customers that have also placed a bet at them odds. This makes other sharp/dodgy punters your worst enemy.

So one thing is for sure, if you have found a means to find value at a bookmaker and you don’t make some kind of effort to disguise it, it’s only a matter of time before a trader will shut you down. So what are the best means to throw the bookies off your scent? Here are our top 17 methods to avoid being limited by bookies.

Don’t arb

I truly believe this. This is the very first system of betting every novice punter tries when they decide they want to move on from betting for fun. And they just don’t have the skills, patients or discipline to make it work.

Arbing is a small profits betting system with high risk of getting your account limited. If you don’t know much about betting, other systems or ways of finding value, by the time you have this knowledge all you accounts will have been closed due to your excitement over the promise of risk free cash.

Ok, I’m not going to lie to myself, most of you will not listen to this advice so below are several tips that can help arbers and other system bettors avoid being limited.

Betting round numbers

When taking advantage of a bookie being bigger odds than that on the exchanges, we don’t do the maths ourselves. We rely on a back-lay calculator to do the calculations for us. This almost always results in placing bets to the nearest penny. Bookmakers know this, and it is a sign to them that you are arbing. A simple fix is to round all your bets to the nearest pound. If you can, ideally it will be better if you round to the nearest £5 or £10 as this looks more natural.


It’s hard not to get involved when a bookie is offering a great bonus, and I recommend that you do. But if most of your bets with a particular bookmaker is bonus bets it will not be long before you get that email saying your account has been restricted from taking part in any future promotions. If you don’t want this limitation on your account make sure you throw in other bets with that bookie.

I’m not saying have a bet for the sake of it, or make a losing bet just to look good. I’d never advocate deliberately placing a losing bet just to look like a mug punter, but you can make sure you place some of your other bets at this bookie when they are top price. If you find it difficult to place bets with them in-between promotions or bonuses it might be best to miss one or two promotions.

Keep stakes low

This isn’t me recommending you play around with pennies, but I’d say keep your bets below £100. Traders will not bat an eyelid at a sub one hundred pounds bet.

Try spread out your bets

If your bet is at the standard industry odds you will not find it hard to place bets at several different bookies. This method means if you plan to place a large bet you can avoid your account being looked over by breaking the bet down into a series of smaller bets.

Betting palps or obvious errors

This one always makes me chuckle, what are people thinking when they bet on this type of bet. I can picture the joy and hope on their faces as they place money on odds of 185 when they know it should be 1.85. These bets are never going to be knowingly paid out, that’s just crazy, and with the speed in which the liability builds the risk systems in place will set off an alert even if the risk manager is asleep at his desk.

You will only lose from this type of bet. At the very least you will lose your time, and if that is all you lose then you might want to question why your account hasn’t been marked-up, because a trader will defiantly of had a look at it. Probably means your account looks like that of a mug punter, and if that’s the case it might have been better informing the bookies they have made a palpable error as this can result in a free bet, but this is a risky strategy if you are a shrewd punter as this could bring attention to your account.

Multiple bets

One of the best ways to avoid bookmakers’ limits is to place multiple bets, accumulators, lucky 15 bets, Trixie’s etc. Traders know that most people believe the only way to win with them is to only bet singles. If you read our article on single bets vs multiple bets you will see this isn’t strictly true. So if you have found a few bets that are offering value why not do the odd multiple here and there.

For those of you arbing or sure betting this is obviously not that easy, but if you find a few bets have different start times (and they don’t overlap) you can put these in multiples and then arb out a portion over the course of the bet – this does bring with it slightly more risk.

Open all your accounts at the same time

This will result in a bigger initial pay-out from you but it makes sense on two levels. The first and obvious reason people do this is to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. Doing it like this means you can play one bonus off against another – guaranteeing a profit regardless of the outcome.

But a benefit to doing this that most punters don’t take into account is to stop you being limited as soon as you sign-up. Many top bookies share information via, a fraud prevention company. This company helps stop account takeovers, arbitrage betting, collusion, cheating and bonus abuse. Meaning if you have already been marked-up by one company you may set off red flags when joining another. So best to sign-up to as many as you can before getting caught.

Bet in-play

Generally speaking, betting in-play brings less chance of getting limited by a bookie; it’s a faster moving market place where the trader doesn’t have much time available to see if you are taking good prices. And because of the fast moving nature of in-play betting traders are aware that this type of betting doesn’t attract the very risk averse arbitrage punters.

Avoid withdrawing large sums

If you don’t want your account to get unnecessary scrutiny then keep your withdraw amounts low. To be nearly one hundred percent sure you don’t set off automated alerts keep withdrawals to less than £100. But with bigger bookies this limit will normally be around £500 before someone has a look at your account. Several smaller withdrawals over a week would be much safer.

Choose your markets sensibly

strangely arb punters don’t seem to understand this, but as many have very little understanding of sports or betting, and arbitrage is just a game of maths, it is of little surprise. Bookmakers take a very high percentage of turnover on premier sporting events, top flight football leagues from just a handful of countries, big horse racing meetings and tennis grand slams.

Taking big bets on these events isn’t unusual and the amount each customer can bet will be relatively high. Traders will devote much more time pricing up and checking these sports, making them confident with every bet they lay. But when they see a massive liability on a Brazilian regional league that is only priced-up in order to have a complete offer then they know something is amiss. This will be investigated and you will at the very least have a note left in your account.

Ride the wave of the major sports on the calendar

As betting small markets can become a risk it makes sense to place your bets to reflect the interests of the general public. To anyone interested in sports this is normally very obvious. Otherwise just have a quick look at what the bookies themselves are promoting on their homepages, this is normally a good indicator.

Here are some reasons it’s better to bet the major events, several already been mentioned. To attract new customers these major events will be the subject of promotions and bonuses, for old and new accounts alike. This will also come with an aggressive set of odds and a wider range of markets. Which means the trader in-charge of that particular sport will be busier than normal and not able to keep an eye on things as would be the case on an average week. And as more money will be gambled on these events your bet will more likely go under the radar.

Don’t take multiple options from the same bookie

An obvious one; don’t bet two or more options from one bet type (with large outright markets and horse races this doesn’t matter). If you bet draw and away team at the same bookie it does look a little dodgy. This on its own will not have the trader limit your account, but could have your other bets looks at in more detail.

Don’t green out with the same bookie

An extension of the previous tip. If you back both sides of a two-way market (in-play or after a big move in odds) to guarantee a profit this will signify to the bookie that you are relatively shrewd. The average punter these days don’t have the skill set to calculate a green out properly, hence the growth of cash-out betting.

Mix up your bets

The more varied your betting pattern the more “normal” your account will look. Throw in as much variety as possible, this isn’t that hard to achieve. Place in-play bet, pre-event bets, singles and multiples and place these bets using both desktop and mobile across a range of sports and bet types. Simple steps like this makes you look like an everyday punter.

Gender bias

Although bookies are doing their best to close the gap between the numbers of male customers compared to female one, with novelty bets on events such as Big Brother and X Factor, as it currently stands it’s vastly a male only pastime. In fact even these novelty bets have a mainly male fan base, most likely because they are being forced to watch it at home so make it more interesting with a bet.

So with this knowledge and with the experience of seeing many arbers coming back as soon as they are shut down under a female name, their girlfriend, sister or mother; any female name that scrolls through the ticker will automatically raise eyebrows. How is it known these female accounts are the burnt arber raising from the flames? Most decent bookies will have IP addresses logged for every bet placed. If a known arb IP address then opens a new account it will be flagged. So if you want to dodge being limited, try only using male accounts and mix up you IP address after being caught.

Bet with bookies that don’t mind winning customers

To be honest these are few and far between, high street bookies will not be happy with this custom. The best place is betting exchanges, these really don’t care if you are winning or losing, as you are taking money off another punter not them. Next up would be Asian bookies (many of which no longer take UK customers because of the new point of consumption tax, which is being challenged at the time of writing this), these bookies don’t restrict punters for anything other than cheating. The closest to a normal bookie that actively promotes they welcome arbers is pinnacle sports.

Thoughts on bookmakers limiting punters

If you have read all 17 tips to avoid being limited by bookmakers you will see why I advise arbing should not be done by a novice punter. The odds are firmly on the side of bookies finding you and limiting you. The question that is normally ignored when it comes to avoiding the bookies limits is should this be allowed. Having worked in the industry many years I can definitely see why it’s done, bookies want risk free profits. But it might surprise UK punters that in other countries bookmakers aren’t allowed to treat customers as shoddy.

Regulations are currently very fast moving at the moment as every government wants it’s slice of the pie, and to stop betting companies going to tax havens (most bookmakers you bet with will operate out of Gibraltar and Malta). So the following information is to be used as a reference, it’s true at time of writing, but may have changed by the time you read this.

Let’s look at a couple of our European friends that have recently implemented betting regulations. Italy first, this market is regulated by AAMS, a bookmaker in Italy doesn’t have the power to void bets because of a palpable error, if a bet is taken it is expected to be paid out. Great for sneaky punters, but maybe a little harsh for the bookie.

Next up is France, governed by ARJEL. Some points in the regulations made in France are great for punters, bookies aren’t allowed to void bets (although they can request ARJEL does for obvious error costing a ton of money) and they shouldn’t limit customers. This can be worked around by giving everyone a small limit and then raising it. The only real problem with ARJEL is they ask for such a big contribution in tax on turnover (not profit) it means the odds being offered to French punters are a lot smaller than to Brits.

Now let’s look at our convict brothers from halfway around the world. Australians have probably hit a sweet spot between bookie and punter. Here racing guidelines state bookies must accept any bet up to a thousand dollar pay out. This will keep winning punters happy and at the same time not break the bookies, it’ll just keep them on their toes.

So it should be more of a question of how do we stop bookmakers being able to apply limits rather than how to stop them limiting punters. Unfortunately this will be the hard part, the British Gambling Commission is as weak as gnats piss, the government doesn’t have the stomach for it (they are more interest in getting tax money than what’s fair for punters) so that leaves us with punter power.

Again this isn’t good news, because as there aren’t many shrewd punters we have no real power. Bookies don’t care what we think as long as the money keeps rolling in. Our best hope is a few “winners welcome” bookies hit our shores; and with a combination of us and the new companies shaming bookies that restrict punters until it becomes the norm to advertise winning bettors welcome. That day is a long way off, so as it stands all we can do is play to their tune and try and avoid being limited by the big bad wolf.

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