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Why and how bookmakers can limit your betting account

Let’s clear one thing from the beginning. You may find this article rather unconventional, as you’ll read information that is seldom mentioned on other sports betting portals, but you can’t hide elephants in mouseholes. Online bookmakers hate successful bettors. You've surely bumped into a thread where a player was claiming that his account was limited or even banned after attempting to make a withdrawal following a series of winning bets.

Perhaps you've encountered such an experience yourself, especially if you're steadily making a profit from betting. The prime reason a bookmaker will limit or ban an account is suspicions or clear evidence of arbitrage betting, the procedure of getting an advantage from different bookie odds  to place surebets. That’s something bookies usually prohibit and is specifically stated in their terms and condition. Unfortunately there are a lot of other pleas, true or nonexistent, where bookies just want to get rid of you.

How will a bookie limit you

Betting on politicsIf you think of it, limiting or banning accounts is a completely cynical procedure from a bookie's point of view as he is merely trying to maximize profit and minimize loss. If you’re a successful bettor, you're earning money at his expense. This means you’re a liability that should be eliminated. This is achieved through four different ways:

  1. Outright close of your account. Usually you receive an e-mail that contains a series of reasons, obviously outrageous, such as incomplete KYC, claims of using illegal software, bonus hunting, arbitrage, money laundering or even match fixing. That is simply a laughable excuse from the bookie's behalf as he needs an excuse to freeze your account. To avoid legal repercussions, the e-mail will contain an alleged broken rule in the “Terms and Conditions” that allows them to limit or close your account.

  2. Refuse to allow withdrawals. This is a bit rare among respected betting sites, however, there have been many instances where "shark bookies" played this card to keep the players' money for themselves. Such bookies will refuse processing a withdrawal, especially if the bettor has been successful, under various pretexts. The most commong outcome involves a series of unresponded emails before the bookie finally freezes the player's account.

  3. Limit your stakes. This is one of the most common tactics, that is often applied to bettors who are successful at betting on certain leagues. If for example you keep on winning by punting on minor leagues, you may soon encounter a limit on your stakes. This limit is usually so low (depending on your stake) that it will completely discourage you from betting again at the same league. If you try to overcome this limit by continuously betting at the same match, you’ll quickly receive a warning telling you’re not allowed to do this.

  4. Remove betting markets. This is the next step, following the stake limits. Entire markets will curiously disappear from a bookmaker’s website, that is sometimes visible when you are not logged in. This happens if you are placing many winning bets in a specific sport or a league, for example, the second division of women's volleyball in Romania. The intriguing part here is that you’ll never witness a bookie removing the most popular sports markets. If you’re regularly betting on football or basketball matches and at the same time you’re extremely effective on a minor sport such as water polo, the bookie would try to keep you active only where you're more likely to lose in the long term.

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3 common tells of an arber

Arbitrage is one of the most popular winning strategies when it comes to betting, but is also directly connected to account banning. Almost all bookies clarify that arbing (or even an attempt to arb) is illegal and prohibited according to their terms and conditions. No matter what they might claim, there are no legal consequences if you try to take advantage of different odds other than having your account closed.

Arbitrage is getting more and more difficult these days. Mistakes in popular markets are rare while odds comparison websites have proven to be an extremely useful weapon to bookies as well, as they instantly glance to what their competitors are offering. To top things up, bookmakers will easily understand if you're an arber by any of the following signs.

  • Abnormal stakes. In order to place a surebet that will award you a specific amount of money by backing each option, you must be punctual on your stakes. A typical punter's bet will be a rounded up amount, let’s say €50. If you continuously place stakes like €49.36 (in order to place the remaining €50.64 elsewhere in a two-option market) you’ll raise the bookie's suspicion.
  • Freebets & bonuses. If you’ve just signed up to an online bookmaker who awards a welcome bonus and didn't not bother claiming the offer, you will immediatelly be targetted. Most punters claim their bonus right away and keep on betting. Only professionals and arbers will abstaing from claiming a bonus, as the wagering requirements  will bind a part of their bankroll.
  • Time on site. Although there an average on site time limit does not exist, the average punter will usually stick around in order to find a match to bet on, or spend some time on the in play section to watch a match. A professional arber will log in for a few seconds, place his bet and sign out, as he may have to enter three sepearate betting sites in less than a minute to place his surebets.

Will all betting sites place limits on my betting account?

As we mentioned, bookies are looking to minimize their losses. If you are successful in the long term, you’ll be targeted sooner or later. However, there are different ways of dealing with limits, depending on which online bookie you are betting on. In general, reliable bookies are fairer, allowing you to withdraw your money when they announc they'll freeze your account. Scam bookies will find excuses to close your account and keep your winnings.

If you prefer being 100% sure of not tangling in such incidents, you're better off choosing a betting exchange (such as Beftair or Matchbook) or Pinnacle. Betting exchanges don’t bother with winning or losing bettors as they have a different structrure from traditional bookmakers. They’re just platforms where bettors trade their bets while the operator keeps a small commission (usually 2%-5% of the winnings) to earn his profits.

Pinnacle is overwhelmingly accepted as showing utter respect to market laws and upholding the players' interests. Their commission is impressively low for a sportsbook and as a consequence their odds are respectively high. As a result, Pinnacle does not only attract a large number of professional bettors, but also many other sportsbooks (with a higher commission) that are looking to safeguard themselves when they have accepted an overwhelmingly large amount of one-sided bets.

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Pinnaclesports needs no introduction. It can be regarded as an Asian, American and European bookie at the same time, covering the needs of almost every player around the world. Despite the rebranding, for the majority, the book still is the favorite Pinny of the players (including me) and still the perfect destination for the pro punters. It is one of the limited real bookmakers left in the industry and one of the few where the winners are welcome. Bear in mind though that there are certain restrictions applying to this statement. If you consistently place max bets on minor leagues, you might see your betting limits being cut, or your odds shift at those leagues. On the cons, the x3 deposit rollover, the only 1 free withdrawal per month and the lack of in-play combos are a slight setback. As for the top feats, you can see the odds ripples through the Dynamic Lines and I must admit I love their excellent betting resources. The same goes for the extra low margins at the best leagues, the withdrawal limits and the rebet option. Overall, if you want to become a top-notch punter, that is your top and final destination.

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