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Dealing with Account Limits at Sports Betting Sites

We are obviously huge fans of placing your sports wagers online. Not only is it extremely convenient, but the bonuses and rewards you can earn will really boost your bankroll. We could go on and on about the all the advantages online betting has to offer, but we can’t fail to mention that there are also a couple of disadvantages.

The disadvantage we will be focusing on for the purpose of this article is the fact that sports betting sites can track each and every wager that we place. While this might not sound like a huge disadvantage in and of itself, it’s what they do with this information that’s the problem.

Betting sites constantly analyze each customer’s betting activity to see what type of bettor they are. If a customer is deemed to be “low value” for any reason, then it’s likely that their account will be limited in some way. Some betting sites will even go as far as closing their customer’s account. Whether your account is limited or closed, this can be extremely frustrating.

The limiting of betting accounts is nothing new. Even before the era of online gambling, bookmakers would restrict successful bettors from placing wagers with them. It has become more and more common in recent years though, and it’s no longer just proven winners who are affected. Betting sites have become increasingly prone to limiting or restricting the accounts of ANY customers whose betting activity they don’t particularly like.

Sometimes customers are limited for valid reasons. Other times they are not. Since betting sites don’t always have the time and resources to properly investigate each account, they tend to err on the side of caution. This results in sites applying restrictions on more accounts than they technically need to. These days a single “suspicious” wager can be enough to trigger some kind of restriction, and the end result is that a lot of recreational bettors are affected despite not doing anything wrong. This is harsh, especially when these people generally lose money through their betting.

This issue has been receiving , where gambling is fully legalized and regulated, but it’s actually a problem for bettors all over the word. So why are betting sites so quick to limit the accounts of their customers?

We answer this question below, and also explain the different ways in which sites limit accounts. We provide some advice on how to prevent it from happening to you too. We can’t guarantee that your accounts will never be restricted, but our advice will certainly help you avoid it.

Why Betting Sites Limit Accounts

We already pointed out that having an account limited or closed can cause a great deal of frustration. This frustration will often cause affected bettors to complain that they’ve been treated unfairly. We understand why they feel this way, and as we already stated, we think it’s harsh that recreational bettors suffer. However, we also have to remember an important point.

Bookmakers are in business to make money.

Bookmaking isn’t a public service. All bookmakers, whether online or offline, are commercial operations. They do provide a service, yes, but they ultimately take wagers for their own benefit and not for the benefit of their customers. And while the bookmaking industry has always been competitive, it’s become even more so since the advent of online betting. There are a lot of operators that make a LOT of money, but their margins are usually very tight. They simply have to manage their businesses as efficiently as they possibly can, which means imposing limits or restrictions when necessary.

Consistent winning is the most obvious, and common, reason for a betting site to limit customer accounts. Bookmakers don’t prefer to take wagers from anyone who wins too often. Consistent winners are bad for their bottom line, so it makes sense financially to restrict them. As aggravating as this can be, we do understand and fully accept that a bookmaker or betting site has the right to either refuse our business or limit the amount we can wager if they’re concerned about us taking too much money from them. And, to be fair, not all sites restrict someone the moment they start winning.

There are a couple of other acceptable reasons for sites to limit their customers too.

  • They suspect arbing
  • They suspect bonus abuse

Arbing

Arbing is the act of arbitrage betting, which bookmakers hate. It involves placing different wagers on different outcomes with more than one bookmaker to make a guaranteed profit regardless of what the actual outcome is.

The competitiveness of odds offered by online betting sites, combined with the rise of betting exchanges, has led to an increase in the availability of arbitrage betting opportunities. Arbing is effectively taking advantage of bookmakers’ services without assuming any risk, so it’s understandable why they don’t like the practice. It’s not against the rules, it’s just not considered a legitimate way to bet.

When a betting site suspects a customer of arbing, it will only be a matter of time before they restrict their account. They may go as far as account closure, although limiting the amounts that can be staked is a more common response. We’d prefer that arbing wasn’t an “offence” in the eyes of bookmakers, but we can’t really complain that it is.

Bonus Abuse

Virtually all betting sites offer a signup bonus to new customers, and most of them also offer additional bonuses to their regular customers. Many of them run other promotions and special offers too. These bonuses, promotions and special offers are sometimes open to what the industry terms as abuse.

For example, a customer may receive $100 worth of free bets and promptly stake $50 on each of the two players in a tennis match. This ensures that they’re guaranteed a return from their free bets. Betting sites don’t appreciate this kind of behavior, so they will often limit or even close the accounts of people who engage in it. They’re happy to give away the extra value in the form of bonuses, but they’re not so happy when people choose to take advantage of them.

We certainly don’t have a problem with customers being limited or restricted because of bonus abuse. As we mentioned in the very first paragraph of this article, bonuses and rewards represent one of the major advantages of betting online. The people who abuse them are potentially risking this advantage being taken away (or reduced) for all of us.

So what are the “unfair” reasons for limiting accounts?
The main one is price sensitivity.

Another advantage of betting online is the fact that it’s very easy to compare the odds at a number of different sites. By spending a little time doing this before placing every wager, you can make sure that you’re always betting at the best possible price. This is something we recommend to all of our readers.

The potential drawback of always comparing odds is that it increases the chances of having your accounts limited. If you only ever bet with the best odds, then a betting site will probably notice that most of your activity is at particularly good prices. They’ll label you as a price sensitive bettor, and they might even limit your account as a result.

This doesn’t seem fair to us. It’s something that most betting sites do, but that doesn’t make it right. A customer should be able to take advantage of the best odds without fear of punishment. After all, many of these sites regularly advertise their competitive odds as an incentive to use them. Where’s the incentive if we’re going to be penalized for actually betting at those odds?

Let’s be realistic. The limiting and restricting of online betting accounts isn’t going to stop any time soon. So if you’re a price sensitive bettor, an arber or a consistent winner, you just have to accept the fact that any one of your betting accounts might be limited or closed at any point. All you can do is take a few precautions to reduce the chances of that happening. We’ve got some advice on that later, but first let’s look at the different ways in which sites restrict accounts.

How Betting Sites Limit Accounts

Betting sites limit accounts in a number of different ways. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know their exact criteria for deciding what type of restriction to apply to a customer, as this isn’t something they’ll want made public. It’s safe to assume that the criteria would vary from one site to the next anyways, so knowing it wouldn’t be particularly helpful.

What is helpful is learning about the different methods they use to restrict accounts. Here’s a list of the most common limits and restrictions they apply.

  • Restricting stakes for specific wagers
  • Applying a maximum win for specific wagers
  • Restricting access to specific betting markets
  • Applying a maximum stake or win for all wagers
  • Closing an account
  • Offering “dual lines”

The first two methods are essentially the same thing, and they’re probably the most common these days. Basically, what happens here is that limits are applied to certain types of wager. These limits will either be in the form of a maximum stake, or a maximum potential win.

As an example, let’s say that there’s a guy who’s particularly successful when betting on the total number of goals in soccer games. He might find that he has limits applied to every total goals wager he places. He wouldn’t necessarily get formally notified of this, but would instead receive a pop-up message anytime he tried to stake an amount over that limit. It would look something like this.

An example message when limited to a maximum stake

Restricting access to specific betting markets is going just one step further than the two methods described above. Rather than limiting the amount that can be staked on certain types of wagers, customers are blocked from placing them at all. In some circumstances, they may be blocked from placing any wagers on specific sports. Again, they wouldn’t necessarily get a formal notification. They’d just receive a message similar to this when trying to place a wager on a restricted market.

An example message when restricted from a betting market

Betting sites don’t typically apply a maximum stake on all wagers, and it’s even more rare for them to actually close a customer’s account. Still, we must be aware that these things CAN happen. They often only happen to people who consistently win on several different sports or markets.

Offering “dual lines” is an unusual approach to restricting customers. To the best of our knowledge, there are just a couple of sites that use this method. These sites offer a different (and less favorable) set of odds and lines to any customer that they think might be a sharp bettor.

A lot of people have a real problem with this approach, but we don’t think it’s too bad. Of course, it all comes down to how drastically the odds have been changed. If the difference is so extreme that there’s never any chance of finding value, we might as well just have our account closed. If it’s just a small difference, however, then we can live with that.

Some sites may use other methods to limit or restrict accounts. We’re not aware of them though. The ones we’ve discussed are the only ones we’ve ever encountered or heard about, so it’s safe to say that they’re the most common.

Want to avoid having your accounts limited? Then follow this advice!

Advice for Avoiding Account Limits

We must embrace it; today’s online bettors are at risk of having their betting accounts closed or limited in some way. It’s a real possibility for anyone one who regularly places bets. It’s more likely to happen to those who win consistently, but even those who lose more than they win face the prospect of being limited. Especially if they engage in bonus abuse or arbing. As we’ve covered in this article, restrictions aren’t based solely on how much you win or lose.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to completely avoid being exposed to such restrictions. If you’re a successful bettor, it’s simply something you’ll have to accept at some point.

With that being said, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of having your accounts limited or closed. We’ve listed these below. At the very least, these should increase the length of time it takes to have your accounts restricted.

  • Don’t abuse bonuses or promotions.

    You can get plenty of extra value from these without taking unfair advantage of them.

  • Don’t place strange bet sizes.

    Staking amounts such as $25.47 or $112.42 will instantly get you flagged as a potential arber.

  • Use multiple sites.

    Spreading your wagers across multiple betting sites means you’re less likely to attract attention at a single site.

  • Place the occasional sucker bet

    Placing “bad” bets such as parlays or accumulators with lots of selections will deflect suspicion that you might be a smart bettor.

  • Play casino games.

    A lot of betting sites offer casino games too. Spending a little money on them from time to time will make you a more attractive customer.

Be careful with the last two tips on this list. Placing sucker bets and playing casino games will probably prevent you from getting limited or restricted for a while, but they’re also likely to cost you money. Make sure that you don’t lose too much, or it will completely defeat the purpose.

We want to leave you with one final piece of advice. If you ever get to the stage where you really struggle to place any meaningful wagers due to account limitations or closures, do NOT start signing up with the less reputable betting sites. It’s better not to bet at all than to bet with sites that aren’t trustworthy.