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Bookmaker Restrictions

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 at some point in their life.

Why Do Bookies Restrict You?

Punters enjoy having lots of accounts as it ensures they can get best price on all their bets so it can be very frustrating to see accounts heavily restricted or even closed down. Although the official reason for restrictions is nearly always 'trading decision', here are some of the most common reasons accounts get shut down.


Bookmakers hate arbers. If you've been using an account for genuine punting and then you switch to arbing it can be easily flagged. A horse racing punter suddenly having a large bet on a darts match for example will stick out like a sore thumb and that account won't last long after that. If you open an account and start arbing straight away it also won't take long for bookies to spot your patterns and restrict you.

Backing Market Movers

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 an unprofitable customer or an arber (even though you might not be arbing). Bookies that offer odds on 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 their early bets.

Following Tipsters

Bookmakers generally 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 follow certain tipsters such as Pricewise, Hugh Taylor or certain paid services. The betting patterns are very easy to spot for bookies.

Bets Bookies Don't Like

Bookies love 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 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, bad each way bets (each way bets in races where there is a short priced favourite giving punters a great chance of profiting from the place market) 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 with even if you are losing to begin with.


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.

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?

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.

How To Avoid Restrictions

Solutions According To Man O Bong

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

  • 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 £39.98 will make you look much more like a genuine punter, whether you are or not.

  • Limit Withdrawals
  • Man O Bong suggests you 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 Man O Bong suggests backing 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.

Solutions According To Davidadan

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

  • Split Your Stakes
  • Big staking punters (if successful) can be quickly restricted. Davidadan's advice is that you should split your stakes between as many bookies as possible, even if it means losing out a little on price. This means 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 instead for betting, or even text betting where it is offered. This should mean protect you for a period of time from the bookies.

  • Explore Other Markets
  • If you are restricted and struggling to get your full required stake on a bet take a look at other markets. For example if you are betting on under 2.5 goals you could also cover the correct scores that make up under 2.5 goals. Or in a horse race you could look at win only betting or betting without certain runners.

Other Suggestions

Tote BookmakersSo how else do you get your bets on? The 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 4 or 5 bookies on 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.

Discuss Bookie Restrictions and Account Closures On The OLBG Forum

There have been several threads in recent years about this subject. Read more about it, learn from others and share your own experiences on the most relevant of these threads.

Bookmaker Restrictions

Bookies Close and Restrict Accounts

How Bad Can Bookies Get?

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