8 ways to stop bookies limiting your account

Continuing my Back to Basics Betting Class, a repeated complaint from successful punters is that bookmakers close or limit their accounts.  You spend all your time perfecting your betting skills, and then you’re barred for using them.  Is it really worth the effort?!

The answer, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear, is a resounding yes. There is no good reason why you should get your accounts closed or limited by the bookies if you follow these simple rules.


1. Bet round numbers (i.e. stakes ending in 0 or 5, without any pence).

Betting very precise amounts (e.g. £46.56) will mark you out very quickly as an arber. And most bookies don’t like arbers. This is because they really want to attract so-called “mug punters” who are happy to take random punts in a spontaneous way, and who traditionally lose money hand over fist.

In contrast, arbing suggests you are aiming to milk the bookies in a systematic way. And frankly they could do without the aggravation, as life is too short and anyway these days their margins are paper-thin.

If you’re arbing, use calculation software that works out rounded stakes (see my article on calculator betting for the best option), or use a system like SkewTrader Pro, which is designed to work with round stakes. Only bet pounds not pence, and stick to sums ending with a ‘0’ or a ‘5’.


2. Consider using the basic fake-a-loss technique by laying your bets off at Betfair (though a better option follows at steps 3 and 4!)

It may seem like stating the obvious, but bookies don’t like winners. You therefore have to think about how to fake losses effectively, with the classic way of doing so being to (a) back an event at the bookies (e.g. Lucky Ned to win), (b) lay the same event off at Betfair (Lucky Ned not to win), then (c) hope that the event doesn’t happen (e.g. Lucky Ned falls at the first).

This approach can often work but may prove expensive or back-fire entirely and get you shut down. In particular, things can go wrong if you’re tempted to back-and-lay longshots to “make sure” you lose, as longshots are often only available at much longer prices on Betfair than they are at your bookmaker’s.

So if you back Lucky Ned at 30, you might be offered lay odds on Betfair of 40 or 50. Such an arb could cost you up to £400 on a £20 stake if the Law of Sod kicks in, and Lucky Ned comes home in front. This, in my opinion, is way too much stress for the pleasure of making your bookie twenty quid richer. With the punchline being that, if your longshot wins, your bookie will probably close down your account anyway. This will follow as night follows day, if you’ve been taking money off him prior to the race. He’ll now figure you’ve moved on to successfully backing rank outsiders and are therefore not worth the trouble.

There is also the additional cost of Betfair commission to factor into your lay bet, so you may end up locking in a loss no matter what. Arbs that are guaranteed to lose, and in some cases lose you a lot, are an unnecessary price to pay for making your bookie smile; so my advice is to use this approach with caution.

So instead, here is a more sophisticated way to manage your bookmaker accounts…


3. Rest winning accounts in favour of losing ones.

Keep records of where you are with each bookie. I keep records of bookie balances in my bookmaker passwords file (it’s only 1 row per bookie so it’s really not onerous), and then I track whether I am up or down this week with each of them. This should be easy if you’ve been recording all your bets (which you have been doing, right?).

Obviously, if you’ve lost money at a given bookies this week, no further action is required, but if you’re up, review your progress over the last month and quarter. If I am ahead across all three periods, I will take action (see below). But if I’m only ahead at a given bookmaker’s over any one or two of these periods, I will usually decide to ‘rest’ him, and switch to the accounts I’m losing money with. There is usually no need to fake losses if you’re managing your bookmaker accounts carefully.

Now I do a LOT of arbing so there are always some accounts that, by chance, end up ahead, with others falling behind. The obvious long-term goal is to take your profits in Betfair, but you can give the natural cycling of bookie balances a helping hand simply by leaving successful accounts alone for a bit. In my experience, this actually only means resting two or three accounts at a time when I’m arbing (as of course bookie odds are designed to help the bookie profit over time, via the over-round, so usually the majority of accounts end up overdrawn).

But what do you do if you are still ahead at a particular bookie over the last week, month and quarter? Well, after kicking yourself for not resting the account earlier, try this….


4. Back-and-lay short-priced selections (between 1.5 and 3.0) until you lose enough money.

This approach may sound counter-intuitive (as you will worry that favourites will win), but it is actually a sure-fire way of making losses on your bookmaker account. After all, the bookies make the bulk of their profits by laying favourites, so it shouldn’t be hard to lose to them by blindly backing anything in the required range.  Plus, if you’re backing favourites or second favourites, you are going to look like the mug punter they so want you to be.  And if your short-priced punt does come home in front, you’re likely to win such small amounts (relative to your stake) that your bookie is likely to let matters run, sure in the knowledge that your mug punter behaviour will soon find you out.

Now I know what you are thinking – haven’t we, in step 2, questioned the value of backing-and-laying on account of (a) the odds disparities between the bookies and Betfair, and (b) the Betfair commission issue?

Well yes, but Betfair rarely offers long lay prices on favourites. All you do is use a site like Oddschecker, combined with a separate Betfair window, and find back-and-lay options where the lay odds at Betfair are equal to the backing odds at the bookies. Then lay your horse/team/whatever at Betfair for the same (or lower) odds as those on offer at the bookmakers, for a sum equal to the backing stake.

If your selection wins, you will finish level, or possibly even ahead if you got better odds at the bookies. And if it loses, you will be down by the amount of your Betfair commission: typically £2.50 on a £50 stake, which is, I feel, a price worth paying to put the smile back on a long-suffering bookmaker’s face!

That said, if you follow the guidance on pages 14 to 17 of my free 43-page manual on making £1000 per month from betting, you should even be able to make money from your short-priced arbs.    Which in turn makes the whole thing that little bit more pleasurable!


5. Avoid moving money into and out of your accounts any more often than is absolutely necessary.

I can’t stress this enough. Bookies incur quite significant banking costs (that thankfully they don’t usually pass on to you) if you use bank cards. If they are already having doubts about your account, there is nothing quite like a whole pile of bank fees to tip them over the edge.

Just because you don’t see this cost doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to them. Remember – bookies’ margins are wafer-thin, so naturally they are tracking this stuff.

A really good way of getting accounts limited is to open an email about a reload offer, make a debit card deposit, milk the offer, then withdraw all your money again.   Please don’t do this!   Instead, focus on the long game.


6. Use Skrill (formerly Moneybookers) or Paypal to deposit or withdraw.

This follows from point 5. Save your bookie bank charges and he will smile on you.  Moreover, he will let you make much quicker withdrawals, so your bankroll can be turned over more quickly.  So everybody’s happy!


7. Use arb-friendly bookies.

No article on this subject would be complete without a plug for Pinnacle Sports.   This bookie is a punter’s dream. They offer great odds, openly welcome arbers, and, as far as I’m aware, have never closed down a soul.   If you don’t believe me, read this!

The only reason you’ve probably never heard of them is that they don’t waste money on marketing (or, by the look of it, on web design!) – and famously don’t bother with expensive sign-up offers.  They genuinely are in a class of their own, and should be on your radar.


8. Use a system that allows you to bet at modest stakes.

Arbing is all very well but if you are placing £200 bets on League Two football matches in order to drive out £2.70 worth of profit, it won’t be that long before your bookie limits you (Pinnacle aside).  It would be better to place four arbs of £50 across a whole range of bookies, so the risk of unwanted attention is reduced.

I developed SkewTrader Pro effectively to ‘widen the gap’ between the back and lay sides of the arb, thereby allowing you to make enhanced profits at lower stakes.   It comes with super-fast trading support screens, to help you get more value from modest trades.   Find out more about it here.


So that’s it.  Spread your bets around, using the techniques in my free manual on making £1000 per month from gambling, and open lots of bookie accounts.   Then adopt an organised approach to bookmaker management.

Having an account closed can happen to any of us (sometimes the bookies simply do random things!) but it usually isn’t inevitable.  You simply need to plan ahead to minimise the chance of it happening.


ps why not instantly download my free 30-page now FORTY-THREE PAGE ebook on making £1000 per month from betting systems?  The methods are all low-risk and re-usable, so click here and get it now!


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  1. Dan Lawler says

    This is definitely a problem – I’ve been doing this for only 2 months ans in that time:

    – Stan James first restricted my bets then closed me down completely
    – Racebets closed my account – AFTER 2 BETS!!
    – 888 restricted my bets to a ridiculously low amount… (less than £1)

    Also, Pinnacle Sports is eulogised here, but, unfortunately, they aren’t available to anyone living in the UK…

    I’ve been back/lay arbing mostly, and winning more on Betfair than on bookmaker accounts,, so as I’ve been losing on the bookmakers it’s a bit of a mystery why they’d restrict my accounts – and I always bet in even figures – even when dutching I round up…

    Frustrating and strange…


  2. David says


    1) Get a whiff of a racing arb at Stan and you can forget it, account closed. The nags are simply not worth doing there.

    2) This is typical Racebets behaviour, usually promo banned and limited to SP after one or two bets. Look to match anywhere close to an exchange price and you’re toast.

    3) 888 are more tolerant but again racing arbs are a complete no-no.

    Simple fact is you are taking value each and every time. It’s an absolute doddle for the bookies to spot the pattern(s). Seriously reconsider doing (racing) arbs of any sort and look at other ways to maximise returns from bookie accounts.

  3. Dan says

    Unfortunately, racing is one of, if not the, best source of arbs.

    What I do try to do is:

    Always bet to round figures
    Only bet on racing or UK football – -i’e. avoid obscure markets even where there is a very tempting arb… on Azerbaijani basketball or some such market
    Place ‘standard’ bets too on the bookmakers you are using
    Bookmaker websites use cookies which can relay information about other websites you access – so use a different device to access Betfair if you can

    Whether I’m backing/laying or just having a bet, I will always back at the best price available – that’s just common sense… so how can the bookmakers distinguish from a bettor doing that or one who is backing to lay?

    They seem to be able to, and maybe those cookies are the culprit…. just because you’re paranoid….

  4. Steve says

    Hi Dan,
    Unfortunately it really doesnt make much difference if you are arbing or just backing. The problem is you will always be taking top price (or close to it ). Winning isnt really the problem, its consistently beating the ISP that marks you out as a customer they dont really want as you will not be losing at the required rate. The reality is its not just winning but can simply be they dont like the way you lose!!

  5. says

    Unfortunately bookies have become less and less tolerant of arbers to the point now where if they get a sniff now they tend to limit/ban your account. You can delay limits as this great article suggest but eventually they will come

  6. Lucy says

    I’d welcome any ‘war stories’ that you may have regarding bookie account closures. I’ve been working on this problem recently and am hoping (not promising!) to develop an imaginative solution. It may be a partial solution of course… but I have a real hunch that there is a whole side to this problem that we haven’t been considering.

    • Steve says

      Sounds interesting Lucy. I really wish there was an answer to this one but I cant see it. I think I’m now pretty much closed/restricted at the lot of them.As long as they have the guaranteed cash cow of the FOBT’s / casino games /bingo its not going to improve. Only government intervention ( as in Australia ) where it is a requirement of their licence to accept bets to a certain liability will change it and I cant see that happening here anytime soon.

    • Arthur says

      This morning, I got an email from Winner saying that my account has been suspended. That’s the first account suspension that I’ve had and caused me to Google around, finding this article. It was only last night that I noticed that I’ve only deposited £50 with Winner and withdrawn over £250 so I guess I’m not profitable for them.

      • Lucy says


        At least you have the satisfaction of having withdrawn five times more than you deposited. :)


      • rob says

        Seems ironic that a bookie with a name like ‘Winner’ would do this to you……..you become one and they won’t let you through their doors.

      • Lucy says


        I worked with a US software company on a solution and am convinced they were on to something. Unfortunately they have prioritised other non-betting projects thus leaving me in the cold!

        I will try to resurrect but am not expecting a shortterm fix now :(


    • Lucy says

      What an excellent article that is, thanks for sharing. The only thing that’s missing from it is the technical side of things: as it focusses purely on the behavioural aspects of the bookie/client game.

      The ultimate solution, insofar as it’s possible, would comprise two elements:

      1. Presenting your best ‘game face’ – i.e. look and behave like a mug punter.

      2. Ensure you have a technical defence that overcomes the bookmakers’ increasingly sophisticated technical monitoring.

      I am working with a third party on a solution that picks up both aspects. It’s technically challenging and may not work! But I am very excited about it and will write more if/when I think I’ve cracked it.


  7. Captain Pooface says

    Racebets are weird – I managed to keep my account without being banned from promos or limited until I verified my account! As they have a limit for withdrawals before you need to verify your account, I never met this so never verified my account until recently. Everything was fine for nearly 3 years until I sent in my proof of address and passport!!!!

    Same happened to other people I know. Never had issues until verifying their accounts.

    Bookies are probably coming down hard on people now as there has been a huge rise in matched betting sites popping up and generic arbing software available under 100s of different names / sites. people placing the same bets as part of offers etc. will be easily spotted and suspected of being part of a service.

    I think this article could do with an update: I would probably change the stance on moneybookers – most bookies associate this with matched betting, multi accounters & fraud, probably not recommended anymore, it’s more likely to get your account looked at rather than staying under the radar so to speak.

    I would also add to this – don’t click affiliate links for free bets from sites advocating matched betting or guaranteeing profits from bookies etc… these links are obviously tracked and will swiftly get you limited – even though some are masked with scripts like safeurl, I would still be vigilant of those links as well

  8. SueD says

    I believe that ultimately everyone will get banned from the bookies at some point, however careful you are – unless you only do mug punts and lose overall. I think they like you more if you use their casino or arcade – again making you appear more like a mug punter but the downside is you’ll probably lose money unless you’re very lucky. The opposite of what we’re trying to do.

    I’ve been banned from one and am restricted and/or have been exempted from offers on several. I’m dreading this happening with Bet365 as no matter what I do I always seem to win on this site. Tonight, on their PSG v Man City offer I won the initial bet and the freebie – as I did last time. What are the chances? I think I better give their next offer a miss!

    Tomorrow I shall try to lose some betting on favourites in the horse racing, at least the favourites are generally fairly easy to match. I went for a horse EW at odds of 25 a while ago – it won too! Very cautious with them these days.

    Eventually I’d like to be able to only use the exchanges. I have a couple of reasonably successful systems I’m trying there and at some stage I need to learn how to trade. Life would be so much easier – and all your money in one place.

    • Alan says

      How are you getting on with your accounts now?

      Also I like the idea of trading. Or as I remember it being called, arbing on the exchanges. But Betfair have more and more commissions.

      Does anyone know how to trade between the exchanges?


  9. SueD says

    Alan – I’ve been banned from offers and BOG on more but, amazingly, Bet365 is still going strong!

    Unibet was the latest. I hadn’t used them or taken them up on any of their offers for several months – and started using them again about 2 months ago. Primarily small multiples with the occasional single matched bet – but nothing which would have flagged up anything – ie the odds weren’t particularly good against other sited, sticking primarily with favourites or near favourites. Then I took them up on an offer – it was inplay football, money refunded if you win. I lost and the following day had the email ‘no longer eligible for promotions’. Why?????

    If you do go for trading/arbing between the exchanges, something I’ve noticed and taken advantage of is that with football matches the odds difference between Smarkets and Betfair can be quite substantial on occasion on the o/u 2.5 markets inplay. Something to keep an eye on. It’s a pity someone hasn’t come up with a bot to take advantage of this as I reckon they could make a killing!

    Re how to – I have a calculation I copied from somewhere a very long time ago on Excel where you enter the appropriate commission(s) to get the correct lay for whatever the back is – but I’m sure someone else could advise you (much better than me) and point you to a site that provides the same service.

  10. Sean says

    If anyone is unfamiliar with iesnare, it’s software that many bookies place on your computer and in some cases even if you merely go to their website to have a look and don’t even sign up for anything. The software itself basically spies on you and can track which other websites you go to and if you also visit betting exchanges, they will have you down as an arber or matched bettor even if you are not.

    The legality of bookies doing this is very questionable considering the software was originally designed for fraud purposes and so bookies are essentially labelling all of their customers as a bit dodgy, so there are a few punter friendly websites trying to stop bookies from doing this via online petitions and gathering evidence to present to any authorities or regulators.

    You can check via the link below if you have the software installed on your own computer


    and on the Website Storage Settings panel make sure you are on the yellow folder tab second from the right and scroll down to look for something called mpsnare.iesnare.com or anything that has iesnare, then click to highlight it and click the radio button to say Always deny. Then delete the entry from the list and every so often come back to the link above to check it’s not back again and/or if so, that it’s still showing Always deny. You can do the same again for any bookie if you like and see if it has any effect on how their site works, as some use Flash Player and so you might not have all of its features. Bet365 for example I think uses it for live video and think maybe some of the exchanges do to show races.

    If you use multiple browsers then it’s best to do the block for all of them and if you want to be ultra careful or want an alternative way to block iesnare, look into downloading Privacy Badger, which is a browser extension with a slider setting you can use to block any online trackers it detects and then the software starts to learn your browsing habits and remembers your settings, although it never hurts to check them again every so often anyway.

    • H says

      I hear that blocking iesnare though will automatically flag you as an arber to bookies. So better off leaving it unblocked. Legally they are not allowed to use the data that each other bookie sees, only the data related to visiting their sites. But I am still trying to figure out whether this is try or not. (Note that it would be completely illegal if they had this power of being able to see what other websites you visit).

  11. Patrick says

    Hey guys,

    anyone having a couple of months experience by now with blocking iesnare at the bookmakers ? Does it make a difference for the better or even leads to quicker restrictions ? Any problems with cashout because of it ?

    would be very interesting to know

    best wishes

    • Lucy says


      It’s an interesting question. There is an argument that it signals to the bookies that you’re on to them. However, leaving IESnare on your computer also doesn’t sound like a great idea.

      One option is to follow Sean’s helpful advice above.

      Another is to consider a product like Jolly Lock – see http://www.laybackandgetrich.com/jolly-lock-ip-conclusion/ for my review. I was initially a bit sceptical about this service but feel I have got my head round it now.


  12. peter says

    Hi Lucy

    By not accepting bets are bookies not defrauding the country of £millions in lost taxation, as I am sure that ££millions more per year would be wagered if bookies were prohibited from refusing bets and/or closing accounts, other than where fraud is proven. I tried to place a £1ew lucky15 (total outlay £30.00) with PaddyPower some time ago, but all they would allow was 2p ew (yes, 2p), (total outlay £0.60), so there was £29.40 from which the IRS could not obtain revenue. (I had visions of the PP management running like hell to the toilet at the thought of taking such a huge bet!!!!!).

    Perhaps it may be worthwhile if this fact could be passed on to influential people who could work out just how much the country is losing by these tax evadors, and the bookies concerned be brought to task.

    Best regards

    30 Mar 2017

  13. Casey says

    In regards to the bookies limiting accounts, I’ve had it happen to me but when I talk to the customer service representatives to ask them why they’ve done it, all they give me are very vague answers like, “it was a business decision by management”. They won’t tell me the details of what they talked about that led them to the decision and it is so frustrating. I’m wondering what your thoughts are of perhaps filing a lawsuit against these casinos for discrimination (limiting my account when I’ve really done nothing wrong yet allowing other people to bet with maximum limits) or making a human rights complaint or something like that. In my written evidence I would state that I’ve done my best to try and communicate with them to resolve the situation but they refuse to give me any details of what the problem is. Do you think that perhaps they would look bad to a judge in this situation? Would I get anywhere with such a lawsuit? It really does seem right to me that people should have the opportunity to make smart plays and win (that’s all arbing really is!!!!) and that it’s wrong on their part to choose to restrict us.

    • Lucy says


      I share your frustration but suspect it would be very difficult to make a lawsuit stick. My understanding is that a bookie can, ultimately, decide who to trade with and doesn’t have to give any reasons as to why.

      A more positive line of enquiry may be to ask whether the bookies’ alleged monitoring practices are legal. Read this article for more.


    • Marek says

      Unfortunately a company has the choice on who it conducts business with, so they are entitled to refuse your custom. The reason they don’t tell you anything is both for legal & security reasons. If they were to tell you the wrong thing or wrongly accuse you of something, then you would have legal grounds to do something. If they suspect you of doing something wrong or illegal (regardless of whether you were or not), then they won’t tell you anything as it may compromise security

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