The do’s and don’ts for making your brand new bookmaker account last longer – even as a shrewd bettor.
If you have been paying attention in the space that is profitable betting, you will have come across many articles that claim to understand how bookmakers restrict winning bettors.
The truth is, only the companies themselves know, and often those only in the specific departments whose job it is to restrict winners will know the exact methods for how they operate.
So if you come across an article that has been informed by a bookmaker employee then it is certainly worth paying attention to.
It’s why videos like this from the likes of Caan Berry are valuable. At SBC we don’t advocate taking the value ASAP like Caan mentions (you can see why below) but it’s certainly some of the best info out there in terms of how bookies profile accounts.
It’s also why I sat up and took notice when our inspirational leader Peter Ling put this old blog post in front of me…
The inside story on how one bookmaker restricts the stakes of its customers is a fascinating look at the specifics of how a bookmaker profiles its customers and then limits their betting activity by using stake factoring; sourced from an actual bookmaker employee in the know.
Go check it out. It’s a great read and unique to anything I had come across before.
My New Account Do’s And Don’ts
Such was its impact that I decided to write a new blog piece using some of the nuggets of gold found in the stake factoring article.
I decided to use these bits of info to suggest some do’s and don’ts for brand new betting accounts with the aim of making those accounts last longer.
Essentially we want to represent ourselves as a mug, losing, bad (take your pick) punter with the aim of throwing the bookies off our scent and gaining a favourable stake factor.
I call it ‘Priming’ an account because if you go in straight away with a new account and start betting on shrewd bets, it won’t last 2 minutes. Yet if you take time to make it look like you are a loser and ‘prime’ the account it could very well last a lot longer!
Why Priming Works
This approach is demonstrated perfectly by a story told by a betting associate of mine about the amount of money won on an account that was previously a big losing account.
The account was used over many years by an avid bettor who did not know what they were doing when it came to winning/profitable/value betting meaning the account was showing a huge loss (clearly this guy was not afraid to bet large sums as well).
My associate was able to win significantly more using this account than usual as he was not restricted as quickly either in profit terms or from the amount of shrewd bets placed.
In his estimation he won about 30 to 40 times what he would have been able to in a normal ‘new’ bookmaker account before it got closed down.
Clearly these types of betting accounts are hugely valuable to winning bettors and should be taken advantage of wherever possible.
Anyway…onto the do’s and don’ts for making your brand new betting account last longer – even as a shrewd bettor…
- In general, bet like a loser and how the bookmaker wants you to. So bet on accas, bet on other multiple bets and bet in the casino. This point on taking accas is really key as its one of the most important things you can do early in the life of a new bookmaker account
- Bet in-play on football, especially on the big games. You might also consider the odd bet on a random league like Chile or Brazil where you don’t have a clue and it looks like you are bored watching TV late at night and needing a punt.
- Bet at different stakes as it looks like you don’t have a set strategy. When you have a winner, bet immediately on something else using the funds won as this makes it look like you are just a bad gambler.
- Bet on a wide range of sports and markets. Being completely scattergun will make it look like you don’t know what you are doing.
- Bet late and on favorites in horse racing. Make it look like you are watching the racing and needing a punt.
- Bet on the same football team like a mug punter would do betting on who they support.
- Bet on the overs markets. Mug punters love betting on goals a lot more than no or under goals
- Bet via a mobile phone. Most shrewd punters use laptops or desktops (I know I do)…mugs do it on their mobile as they sit in front of their TV or at the pub.
- Bet when the bookmaker is a mile off best price i.e. if best price is 10/1 and you take 8/1, it is clear you are not value sensitive.
- Bet in a sensible, logical manner at the same stakes.
- Bet just on singles.
- Bet on racing into early markets. The bookies hate that.
- Take the max stake allowed on any bet. If for example the max bet a bookmaker will take is £100, don’t take the full amount on that bet. Take no more than 75% of the maximum being offered. (To check this – load up your bet and enter a really high figure – it will likely tell you what the maximum you can bet on it is – Skybet offer this facility for example)
- Take too many ‘boosted’ bets – one or two might be fine but taking too many bets that have boosted odds is not advised.
- Bet on shrewd bets that might beat Betfair SP or closing line odds.
- Take the free bet offers. They are tempting but bookies do log this and it might be used against you. Again is your account worth that £5 free bet? (no is the answer)
- Bet on tips from prominent experts that are known to move markets – the likes of Hugh Taylor or Pricewise.
- Bet into niche markets or sports they know they are vulnerable on.
- Bet using a VPN when priming an account. It flags with some bookies. Use a phone hotspot instead if you have to.
- Take a bet with the bookmaker when they are a stand out best price.
- Click on links from a site like Oddschecker. Your traffic source will be tagged as originating from Oddschecker and you will be tagged as a price sensitive customer (see the stake factoring article).
How to offset your mug bets
Clearly in order to attempt to throw the bookies off our scent, we have to make various bad bets that are not part of our winning strategy.
You may be thinking…this sounds like I’m going to lose a lot of money??
Well yes you are likely to end up losing some and to be honest if you win more than you lose when doing this you may not achieve the stake factoring status you’re after.
We can limit our losses, though, using a couple of methods.
Lay your win stake – thanks to the wonders of betting exchanges, it’s possible to lay the bet you’re taking at the bookmaker. This means you can have every eventuality covered and you’ll only lose what is known in Matched Betting as qualifying loss. This is the difference in odds between the win and lay price. If laying you can use a Matched Betting calculator to calculate your stakes.
Worth losing some? – theoretically speaking, you should only lose the margin that the bookmaker bakes into their odds. Using a casino slot game as an example, a typical RTP (return to player) is around 95%. This means that over the long term expect to lose only 5% of your stakes. So even if you don’t hedge/lay off any of your bets, you’ll expect to win some money rather than lose it all. This % figure applies to sports betting as well
Inevitably our betting accounts will not last forever and eventually they will be restricted to the point of them being useless. This is due to the fact that, as winning bettors, we will start to profit at the bookmaker and we all know that bookies will react if losing money.
What we hope to achieve here is to prime our accounts so we can get the maximum amount of money out of them as possible.
If we get new accounts tagged as being ones belonging to a ‘losing punter’ then it might be can extract a lot more time and money out of it before it gets closed down or limited in stakes.
What is written here is not an exact science but it is based on years of betting experience coupled with insider knowledge from a real life bookmaker employee.
We think that’s likely to be as good as it gets…
As always, let us know if you’ve got any questions or comments on this subject. You can reach me on email@example.com
Get More Help Beating The Bookmaker
As a Smart Betting Club member you can access several expert reports dedicated to helping you understand how and why restrictions are applied and how to avoid them as best you can, for as long as you can.
Whether it be through the use of technology, being selective as to the type of bets you place, how you spread your stakes around or the bookies more likely to accept winners – SBC is here to help you. Read more on SBC’s expert assistance.
Another route to profit is provided by betting on exchanges such as Betfair, Betdaq and Smarkets or with Asian bookmakers and/or bet brokers – something else as an SBC member you can explore in full.
In fact for every tipster we review, we explore the suitability of following them either via the exchanges or through Asian bookmaker or brokerage accounts as standard. Learn more on our Exchange Tipster focus
If you have been impacted by bookmakers limiting your stakes or closing your accounts down for winning too much money (or for simply being a ‘shrewd punter’), then you will want to read the very latest SBC report as released earlier today.
Titled “How bookies track WINNERS – the reality of profitable betting in 2020.“, it’s a deep dive into the world of bookmaker restrictions, how bettors are profiled and what you need to know to get around this problem (legally!)
Exploring the software and techniques used by bookmakers to identify winning gamblers, this special report outlines practical solutions you can utilise to avoid such profiling and stay as far under the radar as possible.
As part of this report, the SBC team spoke to several well connected sources to get the real lowdown on what bookies look for, the software they use and the tips and techniques all winning gamblers should employ. Most of them are very simple and straightforward, yet can make a major difference to your betting.
Tackling everything from spyware to VPN’s through to the issues with odds comparison websites – it’s a must read if bookmaker restrictions and closures are a problem for you.
This special report is available now to all Smart Betting Club members. Join today for instant access.
Part of our ‘Sustainable Betting’ Series
This special report forms part of our recent focus on sustainable betting options – including a whole series of tipster reviews on those making a profit on betting exchanges or at Betfair SP.
Both of these reviews and the special report on bookmaker tracking can be found inside SBC Issue #117 out now!
Smart Betting Club Editor
Yet, whatever your feelings on restrictions, they are sadly a reality for all punters – yet they needn’t be the end of your profitable betting quest.
Because with the right advice and strategy, there are things you can do to prevent restrictions affecting your bookmaker accounts.
And if and when restrictions do hit in the future, they might not be quite as harsh as they could have been.
So today I want to share 5 tips dedicated to helping you stay under the restrictions radar – all of which have been taken from the series of guides and reports we have published on the topic.
Move Your Profit To The Exchanges
Some stand-out advice from our major ‘Getting On’ report about avoiding restrictions is to shift any profits made with a bookmaker to a betting exchange, such as Betfair.
It’s a very simple concept – you back a very short price bet with a bookmaker (the type of bet they love) and then lay it off on the exchanges. You might lose a little bit on the trade but its a great way to extend the life of your accounts.
Here is what our expert, Jason told us as to why he does this:
“There is one stand out bit of advice I would offer anyone looking to prolong an account, which is after you made a profit on one bet, to consider laying the money made off on the exchanges. I do this and look for bets with odds of around 1/2 to evens. I might take a tiny hit on the trade but it’s a great way to move profits from bookmaker to your exchange account. Of course sometimes trying to find losers at short prices can be hard and I once had a run of 5 winning bets on the bounce – I just kept going until I lost the lot in one go. If you have any historically solid accounts the above method should help preserve them. “
Don’t Bet At Odd Stakes
Another really simple tip is to watch your stakes and bet in solid round numbers that aren’t likely to attract attention.
Here is what our bookie insider told us as to why this matters in a recent interview:
“Betting in odd stakes raises eyebrows, especially if you have more funds in your account. If you only have £50.41 in your account, then it makes sense you would only place a bet of that size, but if you bet £50.41 when you have £500 in your account, then that will attract suspicion. Especially if you are constantly betting at weird numbers and showing signs of not being a mug punter. Worst of all – they might think you are an arber and you will be shut down instantly”
Its also important to keep your stakes relatively low as for example in certain betting shops, all bets £50 and over are tracked as he outlined further:
” A regular winner is monitored and those betting to decent stakes £50 and up will have every bet logged in a database. Ensuring the bookmaker knows exactly what they are winning over any given period.”
Open New Accounts Before Cheltenham
One tactic a series of our experts all independently agreed upon was the practice of opening new bookmaker accounts during popular times, such as the upcoming Cheltenham Festival.
Bookies are exceptionally busy during such weeks and as long as you play it shrewdly, this approach can help you go under the radar during the crucial first few weeks of an account’s life.
Here is what 2 of our experts had to say on this matter:
“Another tactic worth mentioning is to open a new online betting account just before the Cheltenham Festival. If you use it as much as you can during that week betting at the festival, there is a greater chance you will simply come across as a recreational bettor. Moving forward, if you then use it mostly for your Saturday bets and other big meetings, you are going to continually go under the radar. I would also allow yourself the opportunity to place the occasional bet during the week without gaining too much attention.”
“Consider opening your account and making your first wagers at a busy time for the firm – the afternoon of the opening day at Aintree or Cheltenham will guarantee your first few bets will sneak through unnoticed. Together with a sign-up offer, a few doubles or trebles on horses close to best price will fit in with the profile of a typical punter, all while giving an expected return of close to 100 per cent of your outlay.“
Play The Casino & In-Running Football
Another tactic many of our experts agreed on was the concept of throwing a few bets in markets which appeal to the bookmaker – specifically both hitting the casino and in-play football betting. Again you might lose a few quid (hey you might even make a few too if lucky!) but compared to how priceless an unrestricted account is – it could well be worth the effort
Here is what one of our experts had to say on this approach:
“Once you open a new account and after a few neutral bets on high-profile races or football games, consider a couple of spins of the roulette wheel or engage the ‘cash out’ feature. Most shrewd punters will run a mile from these gimmicks, which take margin from you at both ends of the bet, but that’s the point – these are the kind of customers they’re (bookmakers) looking for.
Likewise, in-play football and tennis betting, where the odds are generated automatically and at high margins, are good markets to throw a bookie off the scent, as are ‘virtual’ markets, which have a casino-style house edge built in.”
Using A VPN & 2 Dedicated Devices
To wrap up this article, I thought I would share a very sensible approach as taken by one SBC member, which I recommend as I do something similar. You can use a mixture of PC’s, mobiles and tablets, which in conjunction with a good VPN will go someway to helping prevent the deep tracking many bookmakers employ these days.
Here is the strategy:
“I’ve been restricted on several bookie accounts, but I’ve now changed my method of researching/placing bets, which seems to work.
I always use 2 PCs
PC 1. I use for all research on bookie ‘unfriendly’ sites – oddschecker, oddsmonkey and other matched betting, odds comparison and arb sites. I use this PC with VPN (different IP) and a different e mail address from the one I use for bookie accounts.
PC 2. I use for all bet placing with bookies and Exchanges. I also regularly check for bookie intrusion & phishing.”
This last point on removing and identifying bookmaker intrusion and tracking software is one for another email (there are several good articles on this available for free online) but the logic behind this strategy is clear.
Keeping one device simply for bet placement only does seem to go some way to preventing some, if not all bookies from building up a profile of how you bet. It also stops them keeping tabs on the sites you visit (such as Oddschecker as I outlined in my first article)
My VPN Recommendation
For those of you looking for a good VPN, then I suggest the service from Express VPN, who offer an easy to use, stable and fast solution with a huge number of VPN locations available. With one account, you can access their software via any and all of your computers, phones and tablets and its affordable – priced at $12.95 a month (or $99 a year) with a 30 day money back guarantee to boot.
More Expert ‘Under The Radar’ Restrictions Tips..
When it comes to combating restrictions, the 5 tips above only serve to scratch the surface of what you as a punter need to know. These 5 tips are perhaps some of the easiest, more straightforward tips – especially that of opening accounts during Cheltenham given the fact its just a few weeks away now.
If you are looking for even more help avoiding betting restrictions than you might be interested in reading some of the expert guides and articles we provide to Smart Betting Club members on the topic, such as the following:
- NEW ‘Restrictions Interview With A Bookie Insider’ – In this exclusive interview, we speak with ‘The Poacher’ – a highly experienced and well connected bookmaker employee who is a specialist in overseeing betting restrictions. This is a true bookmaker insider who has agreed to share his insight on restrictions, how they are applied and most importantly of all – how best to avoid them for as long as possible.
- ’55 Page Getting On Report’ – This extremely detailed report is your ultimate guide to betting restrictions and closures – including 6 interviews with professional punters on their tips, techniques and advice on how to cope with and avoid restrictions.
- ‘Bookmaker, Bet Broker & Exchange Guide’ – A major guidebook exploring the best betting exchanges, bookmakers and bet brokers for winners. Ideal for those of you looking to get the best odds and lowest commission rates possible from sites that actively welcome winners.
- ‘Anti-Tracking Software Review’ – Our review of the software designed to help prevent bookmakers tracking your online betting activity. Want to avoid links being made from old closed accounts to newly opened accounts? Then, this software is here to help. A must-read for anyone concerned about betting restrictions.
Smart Betting Club Owner and Founder
My article last week on bookmaker restrictions (AKA bookie-leaks) caused quite a reaction with plenty of emails, tweets and questions received following its publication. So much so that I thought I would highlight a few of the points raised and questions posed in today’s post.
Firstly onto the article itself and if you missed it first time around, you can read it in all its glory here: The Inside Story On How One Bookmaker Restricts The Stakes Of Its Customers.
Kicking off this follow-up email, the theme of last weeks article (the depths that bookmakers go to profile gamblers, encourage losers & prevent winners) certainly rang true with more than a few of you. Here is a small selection of tweets and emails received…
“Bookies are still doing what they want how they want and when they want…until someone has the balls to stand up to them they will steam roller over all and sundry” David
“Excellent article on what bookmakers have been doing online for well over a decade. If every delusional punter could read what actually goes on we might have a RATNER or WONGA moment when the truth finally drops.“ @mrpcmaguire
“Hate a winner, love a loser. The machines guaranteed them a substantial earner and were rigged so it was never a gamble for Fred and his cronies. After April they may have to take a punt” @GordonRwhgordon
Gordon is of course referring to FOBT machines, which for far too long were seen as cash cows for bookmakers. This all stops in April when new legislation will be reducing stakes, which in turn will be forcing those bookmakers affected to look for different revenue streams.
More Legislation Required?
A number of you are very keen to see even more legislation – this time laws to compel bookmakers to lay a bet as part of their licence requirements…
“A sad indictment for the bookmaking industry; current licensing requirements are clearly going to need to be rewritten to cope with this tech-enabled greed orgy.“ @BetsStatistical
I think it’s time the government stepped in and enforced a set of fair to all standards. They all claim to be Bookmakers, their profits should be limited to the percentage provided by their books, not by the farming of their customers.” Malcolm
“Very informative and true. I would say it is criminal what bookies do nowadays. Politicians must wake up and do their job“ @kokobet2
Big Losses = VIP Customer
One of the revelations from the leaked stake factoring table was the amount you could stake as a ‘High Value Customer’ – as much as 5X the maximum bet amount if considered a major VIP.
And as the next tweet pointed out – VIP’s are usually only those who lose lots of money:
“To be considered for a VIP account you need to be losing serious amounts. Not messing about stakes, but high turnover, high stakes action. Sure, a few of those will be bored millionaires. But most will be serious problem gamblers and the firms know it.“ @Mattgrayc64
Whilst its hard to know the proportion of punters tagged as VIP customers who might have a gambling problem, clearly the idea of encouraging losers to keep losing more and more is not a responsible strategy. Especially if you are at the same time closing the accounts of winning customers and those that do bet responsibly. It’s the ultimate ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ business!
Inflated Bookmaker Overrounds
Another interesting point was raised by email by Ron, who asked about overrounds (the bookmakers inbuilt profit margins) and why there were no rules on their size. The Grand National is well known for having an inflated overround but to see this creeping into everyday racing has to be a major concern. Here is what Ron queried…
“One question I can never find the answer to again regarding racing is: How is that there is no correlation between the number of runners in a race and the over round percentage?
The Grand National for example generally has a book % of 160 for 40 runners, yet as recently as last Sunday two 10 runner races had over rounds of 130 and 127%. How can this be justified? Are there no rules governing a min or max percentage take out?” Ron
I also included this point as earlier this week, the Horseracing Bettors Forum published a fascinating study on bookmaker overrounds broken down by UK racecourse. This kind of study is essential as it highlights the discrepancy in value punters get if betting at SP at different courses, with the likes of Ffos Las the worst by some margin. Once again the findings suggest a less than level playing field for bettors and the need for action to rectify it.
Problems With E-Wallets
Moving on and another point raised by a couple of you was as regards the large restrictions placed on punters with e-wallet accounts offered by the likes of Skrill or Neteller. In the Stake Factoring table leaked in last weeks article, e-wallet users were restricted to staking just 2% of the max bet allowed.
“I use Skrill on most my bookie accounts. So does this mean my stakes will be reduced just for doing so?” Mark
“Wonder what they have against Moneybookers/Neteller though“ @kjetilh_sports
My best guess on this front (as its hard to say with 100% accuracy as the leaked file doesn’t reference more on this) is that such restrictions are placed due to concerns about account holders with e-wallets being more like to abuse bookmaker offers and free bets/bonuses. Customers using an e-wallet from certain countries immediately raise a red-flag, whilst e-wallets are also operated by those opening multiple accounts.
This is not to say you should stop using e-wallets and many of you have done so without issue for sometime, yet its important to be aware that by doing so, there is a chance you will come under greater scrutiny.
Basketball But Not Racing?
Another fascinating email came in from David who outlined the differences he has experienced betting in shops on NBA, where he has won regularly without issue.
“I mainly bet on Basketball and I can honestly say that i have a won every month bar November since the currently season started last Sept and I nearly always put my three of four £25 singles on by midday once i know the team news and before the price starts to change” David
This does raise a very interesting set of points as it contrasts how you can bet and win on certain sports like NBA but not on horseracing. Something that really should bother the likes of the British Horseracing Authority a lot more as the inability to bet on the ‘Sport of Kings’ could well effect its popularity (if indeed it hasn’t already).
The reality is that I highly doubt David would have been accommodated to the same extent if he had bet on horseracing. His size stakes also keep him under the radar, because as my bookie insider told me the other day – any bets £50 and over placed in shops are referred for checks with head office and serial winners are duly profiled and often restricted.
More Expert ‘Under The Radar’ Restrictions Tips..
If you are looking for even more help avoiding betting restrictions than you might be interested in reading the exclusive interview I published earlier on Thursday with a genuine real-life bookie insider.
My ‘insider’ has worked for a variety of bookmakers over the years – including a role helping profile winning customers and restrict them from getting on – just as we saw outlined in my stake factoring article from last week. Ensuring he is extremely well placed to reveal more on the ‘dark art’ of how restrictions work and the tips and tricks to avoid them as best you can.
The full interview with this ‘Bookie Insider’ is available only to those of you with a Smart Betting Club membership, so if you would like to read this and several other expert articles we have on the topic, I invite to you subscribe right away.
I will be sharing a small selection of his expert tips to avoid restrictions next week via email so look out for more on this topic then. Please do also keep sending me your thoughts and comments on all of the points raised in this article – I welcome all correspondence.
Smart Betting Club Owner and Founder
In today’s blog post, I want to share a fascinating document which outlines the lengths one bookmaker goes to in order to restrict winning punters and apply ‘stake factoring’ to their customer accounts.
The stake factoring details were kindly shared with me by Brian Chappell from the Justice For Punters website. I felt it was worthy of sharing with you all. The document was leaked to ‘Justice for Punters’ a few months ago. The leak was anonymised, hence no mention of an individual bookmaker.
To help with this article I also spoke with a current bookmaking employee who works within the ‘restrictions’ department for one firm, who helped outline more on what really goes on behind the scenes there. My thanks go to Brian and my ‘insider’ for their help with this article.
What is Stake Factoring?
Betting restrictions are called ‘stake factoring’ as this determines the percentage amount of the maximum bet size offered by the bookmaker that each customer is allowed to get on.
For example, a stake factor of 0.01 indicates a customer is allowed to get on 1% of the maximum bet allowed in that market.
Conversely a stake factor of 5.00 indicates a customer allowed up to 500%.
I am told that this maximum bet amount will vary from market to market and customer to customer and each firm operates this slightly differently. At some firms it is one layer of restrictions, yet what this stake factor table provides is insight into how one firm profiles gamblers based on their activity.
Here then is the stake factor table in all its glory:
When a new customer opens an account with this firm, unless it immediately draws a red flag (for example a link to a previously restricted or closed account) then he or she is given a stake factor of 1.00 to begin with. They are tagged as ‘To Be Stake Factored’ , no doubt as the bookmaker needs to build up a picture of the punter and the type of bets they are likely to place.
My insider tells me the first job head office staff at his firm have when dealing with a new customer is to gently promote the casino and games to find out what kind of punter they are dealing with. He tells me that if they see regular casino use for example, the punter is tagged as a good customer (i.e. if you look like a losing bettor). We see this in the above table where ‘Core Business’ punters are stake factored to 1.01.
At the insider’s firm, good customers will then be given regular free bets to encourage betting, especially if they go quiet for a week or so. He has seen punters lose thousands and then stop betting, only for them to be incentivised to restart with a free £25 or £50 bet, designed to encourage them to deposit more.
There is no evidence such practice goes on at the firm behind the stake factoring table above, but we can see a focus on certain punters (almost certainly all losers) as this firm will upgrade you to 1.5X the max stake as a ‘Possible VIP’, 2X as a confirmed VIP and 5X+ as a ‘High Value Customer’.
Providing the very distinct impression that the more you lose – the more they allow you to bet.
What Happens To ‘Unprofitable Accounts’?
Where it gets very interesting is at the other end of the scale with the stake factoring applied to ‘unprofitable’ accounts.
Unprofitable that is for the bookmaker, not the customers.
Bookies want to have their cake and eat it by targeting losing customers for as much as they can, whilst dramatically reducing the business they take from those with a modicum of ability. It’s the ultimate ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ business and it’s no wonder so many firms are making record profits.
And because bookmakers only win when their customers lose, these record profits are based on money taken from losing punters, some of whom are likely to be vulnerable people.
Back to the new account process and if after placing your first set of bets, it is not immediately obvious you are a losing punter, you will be given a neutral review. At this point you are factored quickly to 0.75. Even when ‘neutral’, the firm is already limiting what you can get on.
Should you be given a negative review, this reduces to 0.5.
And if you are confirmed as ‘unprofitable business’ – i.e. a winning punter then the starting point is a stake factoring of 0.1.
Oddschecker – A Necessary Evil?
There is also another stake factoring point from this table that I want to highlight – The use of the Oddschecker website.
Now most of us know what Oddschecker offers but for those unfamiliar it’s essentially a comparative tool to see which bookmaker offers the best odds on any given bet. Just as you might use Expedia to compare prices of hotels with different websites, so you would use Oddschecker to see which bookmaker offers the best odds.
Take 7/1 rather than 6/1 on a bet just by betting with William Hill over Paddy Power? It’s a no-brainer and a great tool for punters to use and in general I am a fan of the site and concept.
Yet, according to our leaked table, the simple act of using Oddschecker and being price sensitive will see your account stake factored to 0.45.
I imagine most bookmakers see Oddschecker as a necessary evil – a site that sends them a lot of customers, yet one that encourages price sensitivity and brings with it a fair share of problems.
This is because bookmakers love punters who have ‘brand loyalty’ – those who only ever bet with them and who don’t play the price comparison game.
Brand Loyal Punters Don’t Care About Value
Brand loyal punters don’t care about the value of their odds and whether they are getting 7/2 when they could have 9/2 by betting elsewhere. This immediately highlights them as someone not aware of the concept of ‘value betting’ – which is the recognised key to betting success long-term.
On the flipside, punters who are ‘odds-tarts’ are a concern, which no doubt links into the 55% reduction in max stakes they are being allowed as per the stake factoring table.
Speaking to my insider, he tells me at his bookmaking firm they don’t have a specific Oddschecker policy for profiling customers (their system is not that sophisticated apparently) and instead they use software that captures the price movement of bets both on Oddschecker and Betfair. This software will flag up those punters constantly taking best prices and if found guilty of this within a short period of time – usually 10 bets, you will be stake factored.
He was at pains to emphasise that this is not even about whether or not you are a winning punter that leads to such stake factoring – it’s simply the premise you are taking best prices far too often.
As we go down the stake factoring table, further restrictions are placed on you if identified as following a tipping line – Hugh Taylor or Pricewise would be two classic examples of this.
The stake restricting goes down as low as 0.02 or 0.01 if using e-wallets such as Moneybookers/Skrill or Neteller and if using a Bot or Arbing.
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Read more from SBC member, K.F on how SBC has helped his betting.
The Detail Behind Stake Factoring
The amount of detail that goes into a Stake Factoring decision can also be revealed, as within this leaked document were a list of requests put forward when analysing a customer’s account.
It covers everything from the time you bet, stakes, activity, type of bet, withdrawals and much more as part of an exhaustive list.
No stone is left unturned when it comes to identifying unprofitable customers from this bookmaker’s perspective (it is reasonable to expect that all major bookmakers do the same). Here is the full unedited list of analysis:
1.Price Advantage achieved (Taken Price/ Final Price)
2.Average Time of bet v start of Race/ Event
3.% Stakes that are Free Bets/ Bonuses
a.Record of free bets/bonuses?
5.Singles v Multiples Ratio
6.Distribution of stakes by Time of Day/ Day of Week
7.Pre v BIP Ratio
8.Average Time Between Bet Placement and price change
a.Bet placement and Final price
9.Frequency of cross over into other products
10.Average length of session/ activity
a.Average length for bet placement
11.Stake distribution v quality/ grade of Events
12.What triggers a withdrawal?
13.Time elapsed from bet settlement to next bet
a.Bet settlement time stamped?
14.Activity triggered by Free Bet/ Promotion
a.Historical record of promotion?
15.Average price taken including split by sport
16.Average Stake by Sport
17.Metric for Stakes increasing when on winning streak
18.Average Time elapsed between Activity resulting in Zero Balance and next deposit
19.Behavior similar to other customers with SFx
20.Customers by Affiliate-typical behavior
a.Record of affiliate associated with account?
1.Metric for decreased activity when on a losing streak
2.Metric for stakes increasing/decreasing when on a losing streak
3.Metric for increased activity based on winning streak
4.% of repeat bets based on win/loss
5.Price disadvantage from opening price to price taken (well backed horses)
6.Multiple and single ratio – do multiples convert to singles when no longer live
7.Wins to Bets ratio
8.Potential win amount to bet stake ratio
9.Out of character bets frequency
10.Period of deactivation
11.Seasonality of bets
12.BIP triggers by match situation/period in game etc available for football/tennis
13.For Horse racing there are additional metrics that can be measured, if required, such as propensity to back LTO/Course/Distance winners
Although this leaked document represents the stake factoring policy of just one bookmaker – these days all firms take this topic very seriously and have whole departments with the sole aim of tracking their customers. It is reasonable to estimate many bookmakers operate in a similar manner with some having even more sophisticated tools to help prevent ‘unprofitable customers’ slipping through the net.
This profiling ensures ‘unprofitable customers’ are limited to what they can get on (or indeed closed down entirely) and ‘profitable customers’ are encouraged to bet very large sums, without consideration if this is affordable for them.
Policies that surely go against the claimed aims by bookmakers that they are now committed to encouraging responsible gambling.
Surely, until such firms start to make betting a more level playing field with fairness for all – both winning and losing punters, such claims of responsible gambling ring hollow.
Should losing high value customers be able to get more than 5X the max stake on without issue? Are these not in fact, the customers that need stake factoring given concerns about their gambling habits?
For me, another part of being responsible comes in the form of allowing all punters and not just perennial losers the chance to win a reasonable amount when betting.
We have already seen the start of this with the £500 Minimum Bet Guarantee offers for horse racing punters from Betfair, Bet Victor and to a lesser extent, Skybet, but it needs more firms to join this and expand it.
Offering the chance for all customers to bet and win up to £500 on all sports, not just horse racing would be a clear step towards this. Given the record profits many bookmakers are making as seen with the results from Ladbrokes/Coral and Bet365 recently, then there is no doubt they can afford it.
And if they won’t do this on a voluntary basis, perhaps it should become part of their licensing requirements.
More Help Combating Bookmaker Restrictions
My thanks go to both Brian and my insider for their help with this article and I do hope it has helped you understand more on how stake restrictions and bookmakers work.
To learn more on how bookmakers operate, including access to SBC’s latest report on bookmaker profiling and our dedicated section on bookmaker restrictions you might like to consider a Smart Betting Club membership.
Available from just £27.99 per quarter and with up to a 90-day money back guarantee, an SBC membership is here to help you maximise your betting profits and educate and inform you on the betting and tipster world from a shrewd punters perspective.
P.s. I welcome any feedback you might have on the above article. Feel free to contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts or insight you might have on stake factoring and restrictions.
For those of you following the ongoing topic of bookmaker fairness and a right to bet without restrictions (AKA Minimum Bet Guarantees), then I want to point you in the direction of 2 excellent video interviews published recently by the bookmaker, Star Sports.
Firstly, we have the ‘ordinary punter’ viewpoint with 3 fascinating interviews with Brian Chappell (AKA Jimmy Justice) from the Justice For Punters pressure group on the fantastic work he and his organisation have undertaken on behalf of bettors.
Across the series of 3 videos, Brian discusses the need for Minimum Bet Guarantees and why he feels this is the best way forward for punters looking to ‘get on’ with traditional bookmakers. He also reveals plenty on the negative tactics some bookies and casinos have employed and continue to employ to frustrate punters. Brian and the other volunteers at Justice For Punters have also been able to get some very high profile stories on bookies behaving badly covered by the likes of the BBC and the Times (a front page story no less) and credit must go to Simon Nott of Star Sports for the interview.
Brian’s approach to gambling and demand for ‘fairness’ is in direct contrast to that from another very recent Star Sports interviewee – Skybet head honcho, Richard Flint, who in 3 more videos tackles a series of hot betting topics including why Skybet don’t accommodate winning punters.
By my reckoning, this is the first time a bookie CEO has openly stated they don’t wish to take bets from winning punters as part of their business model. They only want losers.
Whilst I certainly don’t agree with many things Richard says, especially when it comes to why such a profitable business as Skybet can’t afford to accommodate the tiny proportion of gamblers that win, his willingness to engage on the topic should be noted and encouraged.
Keeping Up The Min Bet Guarantee Pressure
Both Richard and Brian’s interviews are important as they keep the conversation going on the topic of Minimum Bet Guarantees and the need for all punters to have the right to get a fair bet on.
Only last year a meeting was held in parliament to discuss the problem of restrictions (amongst other topics) and it’s a story that is continually being covered by the mainstream media who like most of us, find it hard to understand why it’s not a level playing field for all.
Richard Flint’s firm – Skybet are in fact one of three bookies currently trialing Minimum Bet Guarantees with the public – although it is Bet Victor who are leading the charge on this front with the most extensive offer. Their ‘Bet Guarantee’ markets are available for every UK/Ireland race, where you can win up to £500 from 11am onwards backing both to win and each-way.
According to a recent article published in EGR Intel, Bet Victor are persevering with the Guarantee despite some ‘bad business’, specifically surrounding those taking advantage of bad each way races. This in turn has led to them at times offering different odds in their ‘Guaranteed Bet’ markets compared to those on offer via their traditional racing markets. A move that makes sense, especially if it leads towards the long-term adoption of such Guarantee Bet markets by Bet Victor and other firms – many of whom will be watching the results of their trial very closely indeed.
For more on the current situation with Minimum Bet Laws, Brian Chappell has also written an interesting Justice For Punters update on exactly where we stand from his perspective, which outlines several points including questions on the legality of restrictions.
For those of you interested in this topic, I will continue to keep you in the loop on all major developments including any changes or new additions to the Min Bet Guarantee ranks.
If you want to join in the conversation, you can find SBC on twitter (@sbcinfo) and you can also read a full lowdown on the 3 main Min Bet Guarantees here.
Smart Betting Club Owner and Founder
I have more news and advice today on the topic of bookmaker restrictions and closures including specific advice on why the forthcoming Aintree Grand National meeting is such a good time to take action on this front.
Before that though, some interesting news came out this week on restrictions following our call to action to email the Gambling Commission about how they had impacted you. Greg Wood of the Guardian published this fascinating article on Sunday, which outlined how action might not be far away on a min bet law…
“Representatives met with senior Gambling Commission officials on Thursday to discuss the possibility of a minimum bet limit becoming a requirement of a bookmaker’s operating licence, and apparently left believing that it will, at some point, become a reality.”
I followed up on this article with Brian Chappell from Justice for Punters who attended the meeting referred to and because he and his colleagues have also met with others since. He had this to say:
“We mustn’t get carried away, because a lot of what is required for a Minimum Bet Law (MBL) is out of the control of punters, except for campaigning, so it’s really important that people contact the Gambling Commission as part of their present consultation as outlined here.
The possible options on the table are; that companies finally, due to pressure, realise they are trading unfairly meaning they enter into constructive discussion about a voluntary MBL, new primary legislation, which will be difficult to progress quickly due to the UK parliament being obsessed with Brexit, or the CMA forcing companies to be clear in their T&Cs that winning using skill is not allowed. It is, therefore crucial SBC readers continue to email the GC with details of any stupid account restrictions they incur.”
He went on to say that everyone should read the Victoria, Australia MBL rules, because this is what Justice For Punters is campaigning to be introduced and nothing less.
That’s the future, but what about avoiding restrictions right now?
Whilst the above is very encouraging news, until such a time as a minimum bet law is introduced, we must still be careful to protect our existing bookmaker accounts from future restrictions and closures.
..And with the Aintree Grand National meeting coming up – a time when thousands of new bookmaker accounts are being opened from people with no idea about betting, it’s also a fantastic chance for shrewd punters to hide in plain sight and have your accounts ‘coded’ as safe.
To explain more on this and to help you best understand how bookies track your accounts, I wanted to share an article written by a bookie insider for the Smart Betting Club on this very topic.
This insider has spent years working on both sides of the betting fence so is uniquely positioned to offer advice about how to get your bets on.
His approach is all about ensuring your account is coded as ‘safe’ in its infancy and following certain strategies to fool the bookies into thinking you don’t know what you are doing (despite the fact you do!)
Even though this article was first written in late 2016, much of the advice is still very relevant…so without further ado, here is the lowdown from our Bookie Insider…
An insider speaks – how to ‘code’ your accounts as safe
From the point of view of someone who has been on both sides of the fence over the last 15 years or so, it’s best to view the battle between shrewd punters who want to maintain winning accounts and the bookies who want to shut them down as a game of cat-and-mouse.
Bookies have moved well beyond analysing the behaviour of their customers in an attempt to restrict those who will beat them, into employing increasingly smart technology to catch those who discover loopholes and cover their tracks.
Tracking software has become ubiquitous with all major bookies – the likes of iesnare and iovation have been the subject of huge controversy as the grey area of customers’ privacy is challenged. But avoiding these legally-dubious methods is just the first step to take when engaging in the battle of smarts and wills with the online bookmaker and by which ‘unwelcome’ punters can keep under the radar of the bookies’ account-coding teams.
These teams work hand-in-hand with the liabilities department, examining each bet that meets certain criteria, such as those which are due to return more than a certain amount, those from punters who are already being monitored, or those on specific events or niche markets where the firm in question might be vulnerable to savvy customers.
One approach is to try to avoid being ‘coded’ at all – to escape the attention of the hawk-eyed account restrictors by staying under the radar with small bets in the hope of not being noticed. This is possible but it’s tougher than ever to pull off – if your betting patterns are shrewd you’re likely to get noticed at some point and then it’s back to square one.
Try and get marked up early as a ‘safe’ account
Another method, and the one we’re focused on here, is to actively try and get marked up early as a ‘safe’ account, one in which the betting patterns suggest it’s operated by a typical losing punter.
This involves pre-empting the marking of the account by making it look as though the account will be a winning one for the bookie, one likely to consistently lose money over the long-term.
These accounts will tend to have a less rigorous filter applied to them, meaning that for bets to appear on the liability team’s screens they have to be at or close to the market’s maximum stake, or that the event is being subject to particular scrutiny (in which case all bets on that event will be flagged up).
Put yourself in the bookies shoes
To get an idea of how to go about this, try putting yourself in the bookie’s shoes – if you were charged with coding accounts as good or bad for business, what would you do?
The customers that firms like the best are those who lose consistently and reliably, whether involving big or small amounts. Punters like this who lose small (probably 95 per cent of a firm’s active clients) rarely appear on the coders’ radar as the system filters their bets out as irrelevant – they’ll generally be small non-price-sensitive stakes on big markets, or multiples thereof.
To come to a coder’s attention with a young account then it generally would require that account to feature bets on small markets or niche events with bets close to the maximum stake allowed. If you open an account and your first bet is a large one at a stand-out price on, say, a speedway event, it’ll raise a red flag.
If, on the other hand, it’s Sunderland to beat Chelsea 6-2 or a goalscorer accumulator across a few live games, your bets will either be passed over or you’ll be considered a ‘safe’ punter and put under consideration to have your staking limits increased by 20 or 50 per cent.
Consider opening your account at a busy time – like the Grand National
Therefore one approach is to open your account and making your first wagers at a busy time for the firm – the afternoon of the opening day at Aintree or Cheltenham will guarantee your first few bets will sneak through unnoticed. Together with a sign-up offer, a few doubles or trebles on horses close to best price will fit in with the profile of a typical punter, all while giving an expected return of close to 100 per cent of your outlay. The forthcoming Aintree meeting culminating with the Grand National is as good a time as ever to do this.
Bookies don’t like serial bonus (ab)users but they’re generally happy to oblige customers who they feel will be long-term losers, so free bets can generally be incorporated into the ‘churn’ of a new account, lowering the cost of getting the account into respectable shape.
After a few neutral bets on high-profile races or football games, consider a couple of spins of the roulette wheel or engage the ‘cash out’ feature. Most shrewd punters will run a mile from these gimmicks, which take margin from you at both ends of the bet, but that’s the point – these are the kind of customers they’re looking for.
Likewise, in-play football and tennis betting, where the odds are generated automatically and at high margins, are good markets to throw a bookie off the scent, as are ‘virtual’ markets, which have a casino-style house edge built in.
Unfortunately, this strategy will almost inevitably entail losing money for the first few bets but smart punters have to consider the long game – with the bigger picture in mind this should be considered a sacrifice worth taking.
Long-term value of a bookie account that goes under the radar
You might lose a few quid this way, yet have the long-term value of a bookie account that goes under the radar. That can be priceless.
Only once your account reflects the behaviour of a casual punter should you try to draw attention to it by striking bets that will get you noticed by those monitoring the bet streams. ‘Mug’ bets on any sport but particularly football accumulators or side markets at below top price should be considered alongside your ‘shrewd bets’.
If an account marker likes what he sees, he might deem your account ‘safe’, increase your staking limits and hopefully enable you to fly under the radar if you manage your account carefully. This involves generally avoiding hitting maximum stakes (75% or less of the limit is a good guide – anything higher will attract the attention of the liabilities department) and steering clear of niche sports and small, illiquid markets which could attract the attention of compilers as well as liability managers.
Remember, you’re trying to strike a balance between persuading a trained operative that you’ll be a consistent loser in future, without losing too much money while doing so. It’s not easy but it can be relatively cheap if you stick to big prices (which should in reality be far bigger) which will have lower maximum stake limits and therefore trigger the bookie’s monitoring systems without having to risk a lot of money.
If this approach is successful and your account has been deemed ‘safe’, it will be monitored more loosely, allowing bigger stakes and hopefully increasing its lifespan. Care still needs to be taken of course, but if your limits are raised and your bet doesn’t automatically pop up on a liability manager’s screen, that’s half the battle won.
4 key points to consider…
So in summary, the main advice would be:
- Avoid drawing attention to your account in the first few days; bet like they want you to bet for your first couple of dozen or so wagers.
- Use the firm’s gaming app a few times and cash out a few bets; play in-running sports markets and the occasional virtual race.
- Once you’re happy your account history looks like that of a losing punter or chancer, bet to get noticed, ideally avoiding busy times so they can get a good look at your apparent ineptitude.
- This means hitting maximum stakes on poor value bets (ideally at big prices, to limit losses), which will appear on the liability screens, meaning your account will be examined.
If the employee monitoring the liability screens likes what he sees and is in a good mood, he may loosen the restrictions on your account and help your account stay under the radar, increasing its lifespan.
Whatever you do – good luck with your betting and keeping your bookmaker accounts open as long as possible. It can be done with the right approach.
More advice at hand…
My thanks go to our ‘bookie insider’ for taking the time to pen the above article and share his insight with us all. Thousands of new punters open up accounts to bet on the Grand National (which takes place on the 14th April this year), so its a great time to consider trying to hide in plain sight.
Whilst restrictions of bookmaker accounts are a real problem, there are always things we as punters can do to circumnavigate them such as:
- Not always taking the absolute best price on a bet
- Never taking a price with a bookmaker which is shorter on a betting exchange (they will accuse you of arbing)
- Being sensitive to which markets and when betting on them might flag your account (for example – taking early prices for all non-major horse racing markets is a big no-no)
- Avoiding specific niche markets
- Spreading your stakes and winnings around the bookmaker accounts you maintain.
There is further, detailed advice on all of the above and more in the special Restrictions & Closures only section of the SBC website (SBC membership required) for those of you keen to learn more.
Plus – Advice on the best Exchange-only Tipsters
One of the absolute best ways to avoid all issues of restrictions is to simply bet on Betting Exchanges only. There are more valid exchange options available these days with Smarkets, Betdaq & Matchbook all offering lower commission rates and challenging Betfair’s long held dominance so its a growing area. None of whom will ever restrict or close your account for being successful.
For those of you keen to find out more on the Exchange based tipsters we recommend, you can find a list of them available via the Exchange Betting members-only section of the SBC website.
Every single tipster review we publish these days explores the potential of following them via Betting Exchanges with more and more options coming out of the woodwork these days.
Some can be followed at Betfair SP, with others simply by placing your bets in live racing or sports markets and getting great value prices.
So, even if you have had your bookmaker accounts closed off, there are still several very genuine and realistic options out there for you!
You can read all of our expert content on avoiding restrictions and the best tipsters for betting exchanges with a Smart Betting Club membership.
You can also enjoy a 90 day anytime money-back-guarantee, so you can try our service out for size and if you find it not to your liking (something we feel is highly unlikely) then claim a full refund.
We know we can make a difference to your punting – so why not sign-up right away and get started immediately.
Smart Betting Club Editor