Why do bookmakers ban their customers, close accounts or limit stakes?

Of course, this rigid style of investigation may catch out a few players who are not professionals (or perhaps not yet), but it is better for the bookmaker’s risk management to employ, “If in doubt, kick him out”, rather than run the risk of losing money.

Whenever we are asked what to do when you are unsure whether to place a certain bet or not, we always answer: If in doubt, do not bet. A bet not placed cannot lose! This also applies to bookmakers. If in doubt, better off without the potential liability. Bookmakers are not in business to speculate or to take uncalculated risks.

It is also sometimes discussed that there is an electronic “warning system”, allowing bookmakers to receive information indicating the possibility of a high risk client. For example, iesnare is such a system. However, removing the cookies from your computer will probably thwart this ‘big-brother’ threat.

The simple fact is that bookmakers will do anything to rid themselves of non-profitable customers. The goal of fortune seekers to gain long-term winning bets, or even make a living from betting, is absolutely contrary to the business plan of bookmakers.

However, what specific criteria individual bookmakers use to manage their book of risk and make decisions, is open to speculation. To publish and disclose such information would be the downfall of their risk management mechanism.

Is the Picture Clearer?

Hopefully, having read this article you will now understand that bookmakers MUST manage their risk to stay in business!

You should now know WHY bookmakers ban customers or limit accounts. It may not be a satisfactory answer because it puts the dream of “getting rich from sports betting” in an even more remote and difficult place to reach.

Once again we reiterate that getting rich quick from sports betting is illusory.

It is open warfare with the bookmakers and before you jump out of the trenches and cross no-man’s-land to fight them you had better understand odds calculation, be able to compose a betting portfolio, have several bookmaker accounts and develop a good strategy, etc. Oh, and you have to know the market like the back of your hand, preferably even better. If you are weak in any one of these areas, you are dead as soon as you raise your head above the parapet.

And whilst you spend many long, hard working hours (probably even years) slowly developing into a professional bettor, at the same time, you are becoming an enemy of the bookmakers.

Perhaps it is better to call off the war and do something more constructive with your time? Or instead of betting yourself, why not write articles about betting? Please contact us if you fancy publishing for Soccerwidow. Paper exercises also increase adrenaline levels. This we say from experience… 😉

Last Update: 20 November 2015

Categories:Arbitrage Bookmakers

22 Responses to “Why do bookmakers ban their customers, close accounts or limit stakes?”

  1. 13 September 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    William Hill allowed me to place a bet of almost 5000 euros, but ticket had eight events on it, mostly on favourites on first round of Wimbledon 2015. Check it out, I have a screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/UuG6uRA.png
    But yes, a lot of european bookmakers limit their customers if they are winning regularly..

    • 10 December 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      Well done.

      That’s precisely the kind of bet that will get the ‘risk managers’ salivating and allow you a year or two of professional punting.


  2. 14 July 2015 at 11:45 am #

    I am betting for 10 years. I was also giving picks. My clients all restricted or banned from nearly all Euro bookies. Ladbrokes, Expekt, Bwin, Bet365, WillHill, Mybet all is limiting users or banning when they show risky winning user behaviors.

    I really advice you all to pass Asian Bookies. Sbobet, Ibcbet, Singbet, ISNbet and of course glorious PinnacleSports. These 5 bookies are not limiting users they have great limits. Best one is PinnacleSports of course then second best is Sbobet. I really cannot understand even you are losing bettor why you prefer using Euro bookies which give less odds. Also whenever you start winning these bookies will close your accounts so please do not bet there. They are freuds. Because they only accept you if you are a losing bettor. They do not deserve winning money. Asian Bookies are trustable I use them for 5 years and had no problems. Only SinBet sometimes void bets without showing reason but other 4 bookies are nearly perfect.

    Do not use Euro bookies use Asian ones.

    • 10 December 2015 at 12:51 pm #


      I use European bookies because the best way to make money from soccer is by betting on long term markets.
      Bookies will happily lay bets on such markets.
      Not much point in learning how to make money from markets you can’t get laid on.

      Sure you can bet what you like on the Asian markets …but of course they are so efficient that they are hard to beat.


  3. 23 September 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    I initially used a system i brought that basically look for races with 7 or less horses then look on odds checker and find races with the over round 102% or less then back every horse in the race to win the same amount eg £200 with preferably best odds guaranteed bookmakers or max of 1 or 2 that arnt. By using bog bookmakers on average 1 race in 4/5 the winner odds have gone up since you placed the bet. Easy but highly effective. The downside is that because of using pence bookmakers possibly realise you are doing arbitrage and shut you down.

    You mention Bet365 dont limit/ban accounts but i have had mine limited can only bet with pence.I think all bookmakers will ban you once you are winning regularly i have consistently made £300 to £500 per week over the last week.

    I have now had to get friends to put money on for me but they soon get limited once we extract monies from them.

  4. 11 September 2014 at 12:48 am #

    Hi Kevin!
    Can you share your tips with me? I mean Can i bet on your tips since you Said you have been winning and that means you have good knowledge of the game. Just a favour 🙂

  5. 22 July 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    I have won consistently for over a year over £20k and can say without doubt that bookmakers do ban you when you win consistently. I cannot place bets with any of the following or very small often pence stakes.

    Bet365, Sky bet, Totepool, Bet Fred, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Boylesport, Stan James, 888Sport, Betfair Sportsbook, Betway, Unibet, Red365 and Racebets.

    To continue betting I have to share my methods with others and get them to put my money on until they get closed down again.

    My question is surely this is unfair trading and cannot be legal and the Government should be looking in to unfair business practices (Ok to take bets from losing clients only).

    When I ask why my bets are declined/restricted all I am told is that it is a traders decision and cannot be altered but no it isn’t because I win LOL.

  6. 20 May 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    I mentioned the 0-0 HT correct score purely because the odds are usually low – 2.3 to 3.3, so any wins in the bookmaker account won’t draw too much out of your exchange account.

    Another thought is to place accumulator bets in the bookmaker account. Perhaps minimum trebles. Stagger the event times so that the first match finishes before the next starts, etc. Lay each leg of the accumulator, one at a time, until you have your original stake back (or accumulated stakes if one of your lay bets loses), and then let the remaining legs of the accumulator run their course. The more legs on the accumulator, the less your chance of winning it and of course, bookmakers just love accumulator bets.

    I can think of many other ways to match bet your way out of a bookmaker balance and have tried numerous methods. In the end it’s just a numbers game and you will eventually transfer your entire balances to the exchange account.

  7. 20 May 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi Anonymous,

    You will need to analyse leagues to find the statistical patterns where outcomes lose regularly enough to back at the bookmaker and lay at the exchange. For example, the 0-0 HT score is the most common in every league you will look at, but it happens only 25-35% of the time, depending upon the league. You may need to take the odd hit where you cannot profit from the lay bet because of the odds difference, but ideally speaking you should be acting as an arbitrageur – trying to make profit, whichever side of the bet comes in.

    Our Home, Draw, Away, Favourite and Underdog tables available in the Soccerwidow Store allow you to quickly see which half-time and full-time back and lay bets perennially make money every season, and which lose money every season. You will even see which individual teams to favour with back bets at the bookmaker and lay bets at the exchange in order to transfer your profits.

    Good luck!

    • 20 May 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      Hello Soccerwidow’s Bloke,

      Thanks for your reply.

      Surely the data is taken into account within the price (odds)? For the example you gave

      “For example, the 0-0 HT score is the most common in every league you will look at, but it happens only 25-35% of the time, depending upon the league”

      – the 35% of the time my selection does win in the bookmaker account, I shall be paid multiples of my bet. No matter what selection you chose, if the odds approximately represent the probability of the event, then you’d be moving money back and forth.

      I think the only model I can think of to move profits is the matingale, when your ready to move your profits out, keep betting your entire account on a single bet, and lay this on betfair. Even this though, will result in you eventually making a fortune in your bookmaker account (when eventually you get lucky and get 5-8 selections right). But atleast this might lead the bookmaker to view you as a crazy gambler who will eventually go bust, so they might allow you to play without restrictions.


  8. 25 April 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Hi Nijinski,

    I must admit that you are the first we have heard of to be restricted by Bet365.

    Personally speaking, if we strike success with any bookmaker, rather than withdrawing money from their account, it is always best to try and stay under the radar and withdraw your profits gradually using matched betting techniques via a betting exchange such as Betfair or Betdaq (try to find an arbitrage situation where you will make profit over and above whatever commission rate is applicable).

    Of course, losing money in this fashion from your bookmaker accounts (i.e. transferring it to your exchange accounts) will necessitate topping-up the bookmaker funds from time to time, which should keep them sweet.

    Pinnacle is indeed one of the few bookies to openly encourage arbitragers and their low margins also make them a powerful player when it comes to best odds. This is especially so when you are looking to lay an outcome using the Asian Handicap +0.5 market, where they are particularly strong.

    Take a look at our article “Why a Pinnacle Account is Essential” and decide for yourself. If you value the advice we have provided then we would be grateful if you would sign-up with Pinnacle using our link – the small affiliate incomes we receive from referrals help keep this site running.

    Good luck Nijinski – please let us know how you get on!

    • 20 May 2014 at 11:23 am #


      Could anyone suggest a model to transfer/ hedge out profits from the bookmaker account to the betting exchanges? Over the long term the fav and underdog is going to win a certain % of the time, and I think if I did this I’d just be transferring money back and forth.


    • 27 May 2014 at 2:46 am #

      I’ve also been restricted by bet 365, so much so that i can only win a maximum of £5 on any bet whether that be on a single or an accumulator. This just happened last week and after a little search on the web it’s apparently very common for 365 to do this. in fact they do this to such an extent that punters have nicknamed them Bet £3.65. So unfortunately they do restrict accounts heavily if they show any sign of being a savvy gambler. Which is a shame as they’re in-play markets and interface are streets ahead of any other in my eyes.

      • 10 December 2015 at 12:32 pm #

        Hi A1 Cam

        Unfortunately I’ve only just seen this.I must say I’m absolutely fascinated to read that bet365 will not lay you £5 on an accumulator bet!?

        Would it be possible for you to give a clue as to why you think the is?

        I mean I’m assuming that we are asking sports betting here and that you are not some genius bettor?

        Presumably you were arbing,yes? Bookies hate arbers.

        As far as the results of the survey is concerned the idea that 14 % of bettors on sport especially soccer are making a living at it is one of the most laughable things I’ve read on a serious website ever.

        They aren’t.

        The 2/3 % figure that is much quoted isn’t even the number of people who make a living from betting.
        It’s the proportion of people who make a lifetime profit from betting!

        Of course it’s a made up figure but still.

        • 10 December 2015 at 12:37 pm #

          Gosh,on rereading A1Cams post it seems he can’t even get £5 on an acca with bet365.,
          £5 is the most he can get back even from an acca!!!

          Curiouser and curiouser.

          I actually placed a very large accumulator with them on Monday so clearly they consider me to be one giant MUG.

          Then again I don’t arb. 🙂

  9. 25 April 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I have been closed down by Victor Chandler and Boyle Sports and virtually closed down by Ladbrokes due to their restrictive practices. Its a nightmare when you can see an opportunity and then realise you cant take advantage.

    I have just been restricted by Bet365 this week. The article says this has never been heard of before. I realise there is a time lag between the article and today so am I still the first and only one to be banned by Bet365?

    I will be looking into the writers options of the Asian markets and will be opening a Pinnacle account.

  10. 28 October 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Its a wonderful site loaded with remarkable material. I’m glad i stumbled upon it. Coming back to the topic of discussion, i personally have been barred from many sportbooks and ultimately i turned to Asian books. They have a motto, “Bet as much as you want and win as much as you want”. They would never close accounts,and closing of accounts are unheard of here in asia.

    I’m from Singapore and there are many professional bettors here. Bookies here are known to accept bets as big as $ 5 million up. They don’t limit accounts because it would apparently be an insult to the business in terms of the asian context. I guess its because the base collections can run into the billions of dollars so limiting any account becomes a negligible option. Also,the betting rings span across the whole of asia and bets could be directed to different syndicates to spread the risk. Pinnnacle sportsbook has been added to the agent list here in Asia as the only sportbook that links up to the asian agent system.

    Most of the wagers here are taken on the Asian handicap which can be wonderful to study. Infact many base their conclusion to a match outcome to the monitoring of the odds fluctuations of the asian handicap for the day. This combined with hard past stats can be a real deal to pin-pointing the outcome of a match. Unfortunately,through the years the bookies have evolved through technology and a smarter betting market.The new era or odds reading is much challenging as one has to understand the true value of the teams of face the warth of the bookie odds traps.

    In conclusion,the asian bookies believe that it is the system that has to be fine tuned to beat a fierce storm . It will be wrong to cut out sharp bettors who win often because that would only go to show that the system has a flaw. It is always better to fine tune the engine instead of getting rid of a paying customer,and that is how the world of soccer betting has been evolving through the decades. They have to balance marketing (pulling in new bettors to the system) and profit raking( whacking the general betting population). The fact is Marketing and profit raking cant be done simultaneously. So with this concept, there is really no real need to put a stop or cut accounts of bettors.

    • 12 December 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Very interesting to read this, Mike, since I am currently thinking of moving out of my country in order to make serious money from betting. I am among the mentioned 15% who regularly make profit and have to watch out not to make too much.

      I would thank you if you could provide information on names of bookies I could have a look at there in Singapore or all over Asia.


  11. 5 September 2013 at 6:10 am #


    I would like to challenge your basic premise that the profit/loss of a bookmaker is directly proportional to the numbers of losing customers minus winning customers. The PnL of a book, in my opinion, is directly proportional to how well balanced the book is. Here is an example –

    3 players betting on a soccer game, player1 bets on teamA, player2 on draw and player3 on teamB. TeamB wins.

    Would the bookmaker now ban player3 if he happens to make more money over time as compared to the other players? I don’t think so, I think that player3 is very valuable to the bookie, as players1&2 because together they balance the game/book.

    We all know that the betting public – soccer fans collectively put down alot of money on the fav team. For the bookie to make a profit on a game/book he requires either some punters to bet the underdog/draw or hedge the risk out with other bookies/exchanges.Regardless of which punters make/lose money, the bookie only makes money when the book is balanced. If the book is not balanced, the bookie is taking risks – which is not their business model.

    I understand that some punters have their accounts blocked, and my best guess is because their betting styles is causing the book to be unbalanced. And when a bookie looks at a very profitable account that is causing them problems, they limit the account.

    I would appreciate your thought on this.


    • 5 September 2013 at 7:14 am #

      No problem – challenging is always good! Only this will help people to start thinking outside the box. 🙂

      Regarding your question, the article does not say that the basic premise is that the profit/loss of a bookmaker is directly proportional to the numbers of losing customers minus winning customers in one soccer game. What I said is that bookmakers balance their books in order to make a profit. Bookmakers books (portfolios) are huge meaning that risk is diversified between hundreds or even thousand of sports events; and risk is not limited to one individual soccer game, or one league only.

      It’s the fans who don’t follow a business model and easily lose sight of the overall objective by getting bogged down in small details, focusing on predicting an outcome of an individual match rather than balancing their own portfolios.

    • 25 September 2015 at 6:55 am #

      very interesting that you mention ” the bookie only makes money when the book is balanced, if the book is not balanced , the bookie is taking risks”

      so how is this different to sports arbitrage trading ?, he has enough on all outcomes to ensure that whoever wins he will make a profit , exactly the same as an arbitrage trade??


  12. 11 November 2012 at 8:08 am #

    A quote from Pinnacle Sports web page:

    “About Our Approach – A Unique Bookmaking Model

    Pinnacle Sports operates a unique low margin-high volume model that enables us to offer the best odds, and highest betting limits online. This distinguishes us from a traditional bookmaking approach, because we don’t take positions, but let markets shape themselves. This is only possible because we have refined a unique combination of exclusive technology, and expertise in odds-setting, that no competitor has been able to match, let alone better!

    Winners Welcome – Why We Need Sharp Players

    Unlike our competitors we actively welcome winners. We aren’t afraid of successful players, we need them. Our model requires the volume that serious bettors bring, and the betting behaviour of sharp bettors informs us, giving us the confidence to provide the best odds and highest betting limits online.”

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