The scourge of the punter… bookmaker bans.
Minimum Bet Limits are a step in the right direction. But it’s still a battle to avoid bookmaker bans – especially on sport. Unfortunately, in this day and age, bookies ain’t bookies. While traditional bookmaking was all about managing the book and maintaining the percentage, the move to online has meant wagering operators have a huge bank of data with which to profile punters. This allows the “bookmakers” to weed out those who take their money, and target those who don’t.
Bookmaker bans: Minimum Bet Limits
Firstly, don’t forget: many Australian racing bodies have minimum bet limits in place. These compel wagering operators to take a bet from all punters, at the advertised odds, to win any amount up to the limit. Failure to do so is a breach of race fields agreements that the wagering operators have with the racing bodies.
Check out this page to see all the Minimum Bet Limits that are in place across thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing in Australia.
Bookmaker bans: 10 tips on how to avoid them
For racing not covered by minimum bet limits, or for sport anywhere, the battle to avoid bookmaker bans continues. We’ve gathered the best pieces of advice from a number of people around the industry: from those who’ve worked for wagering operators to those who punt for a living, and some who’ve done both.
First things first: all agreed that if you’re a successful, profitable customer, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll cop bookmaker bans at some stage. That’s just the environment we now operate in.
However, there are a number of things you can do that may well significantly delay that.
1. Start slowly
New accounts are likely to go under the microscope. The wagering operator will naturally be wary of somebody they have no knowledge of.
Depositing ten of thousands of dollars straight up and betting $500 each-way immediately is a sure-fire way to attract attention. If you’re a loser, expect a new best friend. If you have half a clue what you’re doing however, you’ll get the wrong kind of attention.
It’s worth going regularly light with the stakes on any new account you have. It’ll give the wagering operator some comfort that the new guy is just a regular mug, and they’ll move on to somebody else. For now.
2. Don’t bet too big
It’s simple maths – placing large stakes will automatically get you flagged as a bigger potential risk.
If you’re going to stake over $100, you should start to consider splitting up your bets. The smaller your stakes, the better.
If you have the same price across multiple wagering operators – which is extremely common these days – take an extra few seconds and split your stake across them. It’s a bit of extra work that can really pay off.
3. Don’t win too big
It also goes without saying that big, single collects will quickly raise the attention of the profit police.
Avoid this – if you’re betting to collect four figures on any one bet, split it up across a few wagering operators.
For rules 1 & 2, it’s also worth remembering that the world of wagering operators is a hive of corporate merger and acquisition activity. This means that even if you think you’re dealing with two separate companies, one may have bought out the other at some stage and be controlling it!
But we can help there… check out our Guide to Australian Bookmakers to see which apparent competitors are actually siblings.
4. Time your run
Timing is crucial. Everybody tries to read the market and capture the best price possible, but it stands to reason that the earlier you bet, the more time the wagering market has to adjust and balance things out.
Obviously we all bet late at times, but having large, winning bets consistently in the last few minutes will annoy the bookmaker.
5. Be wary of obscure bets
Again, it’s much easier for wagering operators to look after all punters when they can balance their risk. And it’s far easier for them to do that on popular, high liquidity events due to the flood of money coming in.
So try to avoid excessive betting on obscure events. Even if you’re lucky enough to get your bets accepted on that Division 2 Slovakian handball match, you can be sure it’ll raise a red flag against your account.
It’s the catch-cry of investors everywhere, and it also applies here. Betting strictly on one sport, or one racing jurisdiction (again, particularly if you’re winning) screams that you’re a specialist. Wagering operators hate specialists because they know their stuff.
Make sure each one of your accounts gets a share of action across multiple sports and events.
7. Punt like a pickle
Mug punters are obviously the most profitable for wagering operators. If your betting makes you look like a mug, then you’ll get more rein from the wagering operators.
Almost all of these rules are aimed in some way at making you look like a pickle. But there’s a few specific bet types you can use in combination with them, and make the illusion greater:
- Multis: noticed how much wagering operators advertise multis? They LOVE them. Generally, punters massively misunderstand the true value behind multis and they load up on bets that have very little hope of saluting. Get involved in this… place a few hail mary multis.
- Major seasonal events: if you’re looking to diversify your account across multiple sports, then pay attention to what’s in the news. All sports have their peak periods when action is at its highest, and plenty more mugs may throw a bet on because it’s the one time of the year they’re watching that sport. Do you never bet on NRL? Put on a bet on Origin night. AFL? Have a go on the grand final. For the sports you don’t usually bet on, place some bets during events like the Australian Open tennis, the Australian F1 Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup, the NBA Finals, high-profile boxing bouts and the Super Bowl.
8. Lay off your pickle action
What’s the point of being a winner if you have to balance it out with losing bets to keep betting?
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having a ‘pickle bet’? Lay it off on Betfair and massively reduce your liability no matter what the outcome. Better yet, where possible you can kill two birds with one stone and bet the other side with another wagering operator. It’ll still cost you a little bit, but not a massive amount… and to both the wagering operators, it just looks like a normal mug bet.
9. Bet where they don’t ban!
While it’s not possible for every sport or bet type, there are places to bet where there’s no danger of being banned.
The most obvious is Betfair. Betting exchanges don’t take bets: they simply match money between punters on either side of the equation. From there they just take a percentage commission from the winnings – so it’s not in their business model to stop people betting: their motivation is for people to bet more.
Whilst “just use Betfair!” sounds like stupidly simple advice, the benefits are really there for those who put in the work. Jumping onto the exchange and just taking what’s available may not necessarily be too beneficial. But learning how to properly observe the market, and when to bet to take get the best price, can lead to returns far beyond what any traditional bookmaker can deliver anyway.
As far as corporate bookmakers go, Aussie-owned TopSport are the operator with by far the best reputation for taking a bet (and continuing to do so). Use them where you can. They have limits like all bookmakers, but they’re higher and they don’t “play heads” and ban winners.
10. Put in the work
As you can see, like all things punting, the rewards belong to those who put in the work.
A bit of extra time taken on each bet can definitely help you delay or avoid bookmaker bans.
Bet with a professional punter on NSW racing: join Mark Rhoden’s NSW Winners.
Mark has compiled over $9,500 profit across Sydney metro and provincial race meetings since his members' service launched.