How to avoid the profit police

Advice from industry experts on how to stay under the radar for as long as possible.

This post was almost titled Proper Preparation Prevents Pissing Off The Profit Police, but we thought better of it.

Minimum Bet Limits are a step in the right direction, but it’s still a battle to keep bookie accounts open because unfortunately, in this day and age, bookies ain’t bookies.  Whilst it used to be all about managing the book and maintaining their percentage, the move to online has meant they 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.

Victorian and NSW Racing

Firstly, don’t forget:  Racing NSW and now Racing Victoria both have minimum bet limits in place as part of their race fields policies.

Bookmakers must accept any bet  at advertised odds on all Victorian and NSW racing to win the following amounts:

Type Win bets Place bets
Metropolitan races $2,000 $800
Non-metropolitan races $1,000 $400

Refusing to take these bets, or closing an account to avoid taking them, could place the bookie in violation of the minimum bet rules so make sure you gather any evidence (communications, screenshots etc) and contact Racing NSW or RVL.

Elsewhere…

For racing in other states and countries, or for sport anywhere, the battle continues.  We’ve gathered the best pieces of advice from a number of people around the industry: from those who’ve worked for bookmakers, 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 be limited or even completely banned 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.

Softly, softly…

New accounts are likely to go under the microscope, as the bookie 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 bookie some comfort that you, the new guy, is just a regular mug, and they’ll move on to somebody else.  For now.

Betting big

It’s simple maths – placing large stakes will automatically get you flagged as a bigger potential risk.

$100 is the line where you really should consider splitting up your bets… but the smaller, the better.  If you have the same price across multiple bookies – 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.

Winning 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 bookies to keep it under $1,000.

Time your run

Timing is crucial for bookies.  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 bookie 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 is a certain way to annoy the bookmaker.

Be wary of obscure bets

Again, it’s much easier for a bookmaker to look after all punters – including winning ones – 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.

Diversify!

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.  Bookmakers hate specialists.  They know their stuff.

Make sure each one of your accounts gets a share of action across multiple sports and events.

Bet where they don’t ban!

Whilst it’s not possible for every sport or bet type, there are of course places to bet where there’s no danger whatsoever of being banned.

The most obvious is a betting exchange and the clear standout is Betfair.  Betting exchanges don’t take bets: they simply match money between punters on either side of the equation, so that one effectively plays the bookmaker, and the other the traditional punter.

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, as with all things punting 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.

An overseas option is Pinnacle Sports but the Aussie government may put the kibosh on that option soon. Pinnacle are a traditional bookmaker, but they operate on a low margin, high turnover model.  This basically means they offer better prices by taking a lower percentage, and sustain it through high dollar turnover.  They want people to bet more, and encourage winners and successful punters to bet with them to provide their turnover. Their ‘winners welcome’ policy is one they have honoured for many years now.

Finally…

As you can see, as with all things punting the rewards belong to those who are willing to put in the work.  A bit of extra time taken on each bet can definitely pay off in the long run.