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No doubt many of you reading this will have some or all of your bookmaker accounts limited in regards to size of stakes. 

If you are still allowed to bet unrestricted it’s clear you are doing something very wrong with your betting, especially if you want to make this game pay. 

Either that or you are very skilled at laying off several ‘duff’ bets that win on Betfair and manage to lose with bookmakers, allowing them to let you carry on unrestricted: if so, well done! 

If that’s your route, you may be able to swerve the bookies’ radar for a period, until – sod’s law – you cop a series of winning bets with the bookmakers: then the restriction kicks in… Or maybe not: it all depends on certain factors that I will reference further on. 

Many years ago when telephone betting was prevalent as the only bet from home option, bookies would simply send you a letter with a complete ban along the lines of: ‘Our traders have took the decision based on your account activity that your account is no longer viable… [blah blah blah].’ 

My first ban came from William Hill: I was notified by letter. At the time it felt like a badge of honour, until it dawned on me one of my cash taps had just been turned off so the novelty of the ban soon wore off. 

The only consolation was the points I collected every time I bet with Hills, and we all know what points make? Yes: prizes! I exchanged mine for a nice 750 watt microwave! I would much prefer to have kept my account open, but there you go. At least I could now make microwave popcorn, so every cloud and all that. 

With today’s online bookies, a restriction of stakes is imposed to an amount where it becomes pointless to even bet! Especially if you’re trying to win some serious amounts. Years ago it was bets of £200+ that were referred to the trading team for approval, nowadays it can be as low as £50.

Nowadays why do they restrict, instead of ban?

The answer is quite simple. When bookies only offered telephone accounts they had nothing else to offer clients in terms of gaming features. 

Today they tread carefully with the purpose of keeping your account open in the hope you play one of the numerous ‘mug’ games on offer e.g. slots, cards, virtual racing, amongst many others. 

Don’t get me wrong: these are OK for a bit of fun with a set amount – but with no skill or judgment required it’s not for the serious player. 

Therein lies the sole reason why they restrict instead of ban – simply in the hope you will still access the site and play these games where they are guaranteed their profit percentage the longer you play. 

You will also note they have little or no stake restriction on such games. So much for their gambling-responsible mantra. 

In keeping with my email of a few weeks back stating bookmakers are not there to give you a living. Therefore always do the opposite of what they entice you with or make it easy for you to do. In this case, DON’T play these features if you are serious about making a profit. A bit of fun maybe, but that’s as far as it should go.

Why do they restrict when I’ve won very little?

Some of the reasons given by the bookmakers well rehearsed PR machine about bet restrictions must have been drafted by someone with an IQ no higher than room temperature! Here’s what a few of them said below…

Paddy Power said: ‘We take a ‘one-for-all’ rather than an ‘all-for-one’ view, so for instance if we’re prepared to lose €2m (£1.5m) on an event, we would much prefer to lose €2,000 to 1,000 different customers rather than €2m to one individual.

Well if that were true, Mr Paddy Power, then taking your above policy into account would mean I could at least get a few pounds of my bets on from the £2,000 you promised to give a 1,000 customers. Fact is, you won’t even allow me to have one single pence on!

Here’s evidence below:

William Hill said: ‘William Hill insisted the vast majority of their customers could bet what they like when they liked, but to provide competitive prices to its recreational customer base it sometimes restricted bets from a small minority of customers, mainly professional gamblers.’ 

What utter C**P! I’ve been restricted on all of my horse racing bets with Hill’s. 

So are they telling me every bet I place is restricted to protect prices for other recreational (another word for ‘mug’) punters? 
I’ve even been restricted on stakes when trying to place a bet the day before a race takes place, leaving me to ask the question ‘How can they know what their full liabilities are on a race at that early point?’ 

I can understand their reasoning to restrict some large bets close to the race-off-time, to give them a balanced book, but the night before? Do me a favour!

So what do we do?

The obvious route is too avoid using bookies altogether and aim for strategies that can be fully operational with Betfair or other exchanges. A lot of punters are moving this way. 

Hence why, since account restriction became prevalent, I’ve focussed most of my work on developing strategies that are Betfair-based. Methods that make use of high liquidity markets where all followers are assured to get their slice of the pie. 

Either that, or be prepared for some hard work ducking and diving (if you plan to keep using bookmakers) by opening accounts in various family and friends’ names. Though, this can be short-lived in the same way as your own account being  restricted. It’s just kicking the can down the road (so to speak) until the inevitable happens. 

A possible way around this could be the following route, as emailed to me by Sarah (a buyer of one of my publications)… 

She operates the usual backing with bookies and laying with Betfair as close to the back price as possible, hoping they lose with the bookie to keep her accounts open. 

However, Sarah only centres her strategy on favourites. Bookies love those who blindly back favourites, especially odds-on favourites: that’s where Sarah places most of what she calls her ‘duff bets’ on. 

For every one big-priced selection she backs with bookies, she backs at least three odds-on shots and lays them off on Betfair – hoping, of course, they lose with the bookies for a slight loss, or break even on her Betfair account, should they win. 

Sarah told me her bookie accounts are about break even, and she can still avail of early big prices with the occasional bonus of the winning drifters when the BOG (Best Offer Guaranteed) is delivered. 

This ensures Sarah keeps her accounts open for a longer period – who knows, maybe indefinitely! It’s sure worth a try. 

Another option is to follow a service that has shown to make profits using Betfair Sportsbook prices or Betfair SP. One such service is ‘Bookies Enemy No.1’, where it made a nice profit over my five-week trial – without pulling our hair out in trying to get advised prices. 

So a few angles above to help you keep ahead of the game, or routes you can take to avoid using bookies altogether.