Bookmaker Restrictions

Updated: 8542 Learning

One of the most commonly complained about aspects of betting is bookmakers' willingness to put restrictions on punters' betting accounts. Exactly how willing the bookmaker is to restrict accounts varies between firms but nearly every successful punter will experience these

Bookmaker Restrictions
Nigel Skinner Blog Content Manager

Football Manager Expert and Political Betting Specialist across Exchange and Spread Betting Sites

How To Avoid Restrictions

Why Do Bookies Restrict You?

Many punters enjoy having lots of bookmaker accounts as it ensures they can get best odds on all their bets. 

Why be forced to take 5/1 when another bookmaker is offering the same team or horse at 8/1. 

One of the key tenets to value gambling is securing the best price in the market, therefore it can be hugely frustrating to see one of your accounts heavily restricted or even closed down. 

Although the official reason for restrictions is nearly always the ambiguous 'trading decision', here are some of the most common reasons betting accounts get closed. 


The bookies hate arbitrage betting and the arbers that regularly try it. 

Arbitrage betting is when a punter tries to take advantage of price differences between bookies to guarantee a profit regardless of the result.

The problem is that each bookmaker will:

1. Know your historical betting life

2. Know when they, as a firm, have a stand-out price.

Therefore, if you now only ever take stand-out prices when your previous betting and staking were very mixed, the bookies are alerted.

Arbitrage Example

Let us say you are a confirmed and regular football punter placing your bets as soon as the EPL match odds are published. 

You note when the percentage across the three possible results amounts to less than 100%. 

Of the ten games taking place that weekend a specific bookmaker has the best price on the outsider in two of the games, you place £100 bets on those two teams.

In the following weeks of the season you do exactly the same on the best priced match/teams in the bookmakers grid. 

The odds compilers at that firm suspect that you are arbitrage betting despite the fact that your account is only showing a minimal profit. (because some of the stand out priced teams did not win).

However in week 7 both of the the stand out priced teams win easily and now this specific bookmaker account is looking good for you and bad for the bookmaker. 

In a short space of time each of the three bookmakers starts noticing the pattern that you always take their prices when they as a firm are the best odds.

They suspect you are backing all three outcomes with different firms and decide in the long term your account will not be profitable for them and close your account. 

Match Odds
Arsenal 2.85 @BetVictor
Draw 2.75 @Paddy Power
Manchester United 3.75 @Ladbrokes
Total Book Percentage = 97.43%

Master the Art of Sports Arbing: Your Beginners Arbitrage Betting Guide

Master the Art of Sports Arbing: Your Beginners Arbitrage Betting Guide

Regularly Backing Market Movers

Bookies that offer odds for horse racing the evening before can be far more likely to restrict horse racing punters as there is more scope for those bookmakers to have offered 'the wrong prices' on the early bets that have taken from you.

Bookies don't like punters to generally get much better odds than the eventual starting price and if you are doing so regularly you'll often be flagged up as a punter with inside information.

If you become an unprofitable customer or are even considered an arber because of being ahead of market moves then you may find your bookmaker account closed or restricted. 

A restriction may allow your bets but only at Starting Price.

Following Tipsters

The best betting sites don't like popular tipsters as it can leave them with a lopsided book. 

A flood of money for a selection at a certain price can leave bookies with a large hole in their pockets when that selection wins. 

Therefore expect to see your accounts restricted if you regularly follow certain tipsters such as Pricewise, Hugh Taylor or certain paid services. 

The betting patterns are very easy to spot for bookies.

Bonus Abuse

Many bookmakers offer promotions, free bets and money back offers. This is to attract you to bet on an event that you may not have considered.

If the only time you ever use that individual bookmaker is to take advantage of their generosity then they may stop you having access to any special offers.

Bets Bookies Don't Like

We as punters love accumulators as it gives us the possibility of a big win, the bookies also love these multiple bets, this is why they offer so many enhancements and money back specials for these.

 Any type of bet involving more than one outcome gives you as the punter less chance of winning. 

Even if you have a few wins off these bets the bookies will generally cut you some slack as they'll believe they'll win off you in the long run.

On the other hand, singles or bad each way bets and each way bets on relatively short priced selections (3/1 or 4/1 shots) are amongst those that bookies don't like, and won't cut you much slack.

Bad Each Way Bets

Bad each way bets are only bad for the bookies! When you have an eight runner race where you have a short priced favourite the other horses in the race can offer betting value with the bookmakers paying 1-2-3.

Each Way Betting Advantages and Pitfalls for the Shrewd Tipster

Each Way Betting Advantages and Pitfalls for the Shrewd Tipster


If you are making consistent or large profits eventually your accounts will be restricted and closed whatever your bet types. 

Different bookies will generally allow you to win different amounts and how quickly your accounts are restricted will often depend more on some of the above factors than the actual amounts you win.

How Bookmakers Work and Create Odds

How Bookmakers Work and Create Odds

Fraud Prevention

If any bookmaker believes that fraudulent activity is occurring on your account, they will ban or restrict you from betting with them. 

Suggestions To Avoid Bookmaker Restrictions

So how else do you get your bets on? 

The best betting exchanges are a viable option, the only restriction you'll meet there is the liquidity available at the time you are placing your bet and generally you'll get better odds than those available at the traditional bookies. 

The Tote is another alternative but you won't find many bookies knocking back bets at SP so the Tote might not appeal for some bets.

Don't underestimate the usefulness of betting shops either. 

All shops have their own restrictions but generally, if you are not known to that shop, you'll be able to get a fair bet on. 

Given that most high streets these days have 1 or 2 bookies you should be able to get all or most of your stakes matched with those. 

Don't get greedy though as the more you try to get on in each individual shop, the quicker you'll become monitored and then restricted in the shops as well as online.

Possible Solutions To Being Restricted By Your Bookmaker

Having discussed bookmaker restrictions over the years OLBG members who place tips in the OLBG tipping competition suggested some solutions.

OLBG member Man O Bong wrote a blog about bookie restrictions and here is some of his advice. 

  • Use Rounded Stakes: The more random your staking the more you are going to look like an arber. Arbers bet precise amounts to ensure a profit and betting £40 rather than £39.93 will make you look much more like a genuine punter, whether you are or not. 
  • Limit Withdrawals: Don't withdraw too often or make it look like you have a set betting bank as the more strategy you show the bookies, the more likely your account is to be restricted, if you are winning, let your account balance rise.
  • Lose: This isn't as crazy as it sounds. If you are having a good run in an account back selections you think will lose and laying them off on the exchanges, you'll need to ensure your liabilities don't exceed your potential returns though.
Dear John - Your Online Betting Account has been Closed!

Dear John - Your Online Betting Account has been Closed!

OLBG member Davidadan wrote a blog about bookie restrictions and here is some of his advice. 

  • Split Your Stakes: Big staking punters (if successful) can be quickly restricted, split your stakes between as many bookies as possible, even if it means losing out a little on price, then your personal big wins will be split between bookies and won't set off any alarm bells.
  • Use Technology: Bookmakers record IP addresses on betting accounts, try using your mobile internet , or even text betting where it is offered. 
  • Explore Other Markets: If you are restricted and struggling to get your full required stake on a bet take a look at other markets. E.G if you are betting on under 2.5 goals you could also cover the correct scores that make up under 2.5 goal, or in a horse race you could look at win only betting or betting without certain runners. 

Betting Account Restricted?

Betting Account Restricted?

What Does It Mean If You've Never Been Restricted

Don't worry if you have never experienced bookie restrictions, enjoy it! 

Many punters bet just for fun, many bet too small a stakes for bookies to really worry about them and many punters either lose regularly or only bet on the types of bets bookies love (mainly multiples).

Is It Fair To Be Restricted By A Bookmaker?

It has to remembered that bookmaking is a business so we can see why they want to restrict big winners and their terms and conditions allow them to do so at any time.

It would be much fairer if bookies treated their big losing customers like their big winning punters but there isn't much chance of that happening without government legislation. 

We are in a time when monitoring customers is very easy for bookies, so restrictions simply has to be considered one of the hazards of betting.


  • Who can i contact if a bookmaker closes my account?

    Firstly read the terms and conditions on the bookmaker website, if you feel that you have adhered to these then contact customer services/instant chat at the relevant bookmaker. If you are unhappy with their response ask to speak to a manager, keep on going higher up the chain of command. If still no joy then email or write to the company stating your case. Finally you can resort to IBAS who are an organisation who can help resolve gambling disputes. However when a firm decides they just do not want your custom it is very hard to reverse their decision. 

  • What is identity verification

    A key requirement for bookmakers is to know their customer. Because of this they may ask for forms of identification such as a driving a licence or passport. The bookmaker may stop or restrict you from betting until the documents have been forwarded to them. 

  • Bookmaker geographical restrictions

    Different countries and jurisdictions have a range of gambling laws that the bookmakers must adhere to. If you reside in a country the bookmaker cannot or will not deal with, the account can be closed or restricted. A full list of eligible countries is normally published on the bookmakers website.  

  • Can the bookmakers limit my stakes

    If the bookmaker feels your betting success is something they are not happy with then they can limit your stakes. This can happen if you are always beating the odds by betting overnight or they feel you have inside information. You may ask for a £100 on a bet and be restricted to a much smaller amount or only be allowed to place bets at starting price. 

Responsible Gambing

If you have a bookmaker account up and running, you must always ensure you gamble responsibly. On OLBG, we have various tools to help you, including advisory blogs and prominent links to gambling charities.

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help

Responsible Gambling Features, Function and Help

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

Editorial Information

This bookmaker restriction article was created by OLBG Betting Expert Nigel Skinner, who has been placing bets on sports, entertainment and politics for many years.

Nigel Skinner

Nigel Skinner

Blog content manager

Nigel is one of OLBG's senior editors with 19 years of industry experience. Today he specialises in researching and writing about the betting angles to political and mainstream news stories and being the OLBG in-house expert on 'next football manager' betting markets.

Specialist Subjects🔬📚

⚽️👨‍💼 Nigel is an Arsenal fan first and foremost but has an unrivalled knowledge of English football managers at every level. Meticulously putting together our Next Manager articles, Nigel can quite possibly name you every manager of every club in the land, not to mention a pretty good eye for predicting replacements when changes happen. 

📈📊📉 A long-time exchange trader and spread betting fan, Nigel is our go-to for advice on the subjects and uses them daily in his own betting activity. 

🗳️💼 Finally, Nigel loves his politics and [some would say] has an unhealthy interest in the day-to-day events in the UK's political landscape, contributing to all our Political betting content and new pieces.

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