Questions About Bookies Banning Users

Dear aegist,

I am a mathematical statistician and a beginning arber from Slovakia and I carefully read a lot of forums and I consider you to be the best person to ask my questions, so I hope that you will find some time to answer them.

Basically the only thing that bothers me is the bookies banning accounts and how they do it.  I have 2 questions

1)      I would like to ask you if you know about any rules that the bookies use to determine arbers, especially betfair. Are they some statistical methods e.g. what percentage of the matches you bet are arbs? Or is it the total amount you bet on arbs that makes them ban you ?
2)      What is the worst thing that can happen to you if you get banned ? Is there a possibility that they will take your money and dont give in back ?

Thank you a lot for any information

Best regards,
Jozef H.


Hi Jozef,
Bookmakers don’t actually ban arbers. Not usually anyway. What happens is they restrict your betting limits down to amounts that are so small that it becomes worthless to keep betting with them. Some of them do it dramatically, so one day you will place able to place bets of over $5000, and then the next day you will be limited to $5. Some of them do it over several steps. Limiting you to $500 for a couple of weeks and then lowering it down to $5 when you continue to place ‘pro’ style bets. In any case, they don’t do anything to your account, they don’t confiscate money, and they don’t restrict your withdrawal options or anything else – they simply make you want to withdraw your money by not letting you bet it.

As for how they determine whether you are an arber or not, no one knows for certain unless they work in the bookmaker itself, but it seems most likely that the odds themselves will clearly give arbers away. Obviously when bookmakers set odds they think they are the best odds to set, but in retrospect it can sometimes be very obvious that a particular set of odds is out of line with the market – that is, the bookmaker may realise that they are offering too much value to the bettors. This sort of fluctuation of lines happens naturally all the time, and so sportsbooks are constantly revising their odds, looking for odds that are offering too much value, and adjusting them down back in line with the market.

In order to identify arbers, all they need to do is look at every account that placed a bet on those odds while the odds were offering high value. By tracking the accounts which place bets on high value odds in this way, it should be very easy to quickly identify which accounts are only placing bets on high value odds. By identifying those accounts, the sportsbook can then limit its risk at the hands of these ‘sharp’ accounts by simply limiting the bet volumes allowed to those accounts.

I think this is the primary method for identifying ‘risky accounts’. Other elements, such as exact figure bet amounts, $325.49 for example, would also identify arbers. As would placing bets over $5 – face it, how many people do you know who actually place bets more than about $20 bets on a regular basis? I don’t know any. Only arbers (or sharps in general) place hundreds of dollars every bet they place… And some bookmakers are scared of all sharps.

So that is, according to my best educated guess, how bookmakers identify arbers. That being said though, you mentioned Betfair – Betfair is not a bookmaker. It is a betting exchange. It does NOT care whether you are arbing or not, and will never try to identify arbers. They don’t make money through betting margins, they just take a straight commission off your winnings, so they want you to place as many bets as they can get from you. They also will never ‘limit’ you, because the bet limits are set by the other users who offer the bets. This is true of all betting exchanges. Pinnacle is the only other sportsbook who I have ever been able to confirm that they don’t limit arb traders. So you can feel safe doing arbitrage trading at betting exchanges and pinnacle – no fear of being limited.

See more on this topic here:

7 thoughts on “Questions About Bookies Banning Users

  1. Wow just read this as i have been labelled an arber by Stan James, the truth is i watch all the races and then see what volume and money is coming in for any particular horse, which is a good indication it is being fancied, i then check odds checker to see who is offering the best value, ironically Stan james were offering 5.0, while the others had dropped to 4.25, erm, decisions, decisions, who shall i back the horse with? oh, i know the one offering the best price. I did this for about 14 bets and won more than i lost about £945 profit and was told my account was banned for arbing, i call it getting value for money, my bets were only small around £30. I have seen my friends dad place £1000 a time and he is legitimate as well and not arbing, so Stan james would not even let him back with them in the first place they would have some brown underwear as on the day i won i got some of the horses from him and he made over £18,000, he got those bets on with a proper bookmaker. after this i think everyone should stop using all the bookmakers and put them out of business, instead just use the exchanges such as betfair and we can decide the odds and amounts between ourselves, i know i will be looking at betfair in the future.

  2. helllo
    pleas answer me, i very need to help’
    i want use arbitrage method only once per month by 1000$ stake,
    for example:i bet on juve-milan “win milan” in bet 365 and win.
    bookmark how can know i arb bettors i only ONE BETTING PER MONTH in this bookmark?
    pleas answer me by mail

    1. Hi Sharokh, I’ve sent you an email about this if you’d like to talk about it further. I’m more than happy to help if you’d like to respond to the email.

  3. I use pinnacle have never been limited but I do not ever go over £500 a bet. Using other bookmaker I try to avoid exact bet amounts like £354.55 round up or down to the nearest £10. There are various methods that can be used to avoid being caught by the bookmaker.

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