When Bookmakers Refuse Your Bets

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I thought I’d add a post on bookmaker refusals and restrictions. Any long term, successful gambler will get restricted and this post should hopefully answer some questions.

So why should you listen to me? Well, as I’ve explained previously, I have been personally restricted in over 100 bookmaker shops. That’s not counting the online accounts. Did it annoy me, you bet it did, and still annoys me to this day.

My first restriction going back many years was with Bet 365 online. I don’t for the life of me, know how anyone can keep an account there for more than a week. When billionaire CEO Denise Coates is paying herself over £200 million each year, you have to appreciate the amount of losing bets and mug punters there are. Winning punters get restricted before the win a grand.

Why Do Bookies Restrict

It’s important to realize that bookmakers are businesses. Most bookmakers have massive overheads, costs, staff wages and advertising costs. Anything that restricts their ability to pay these costs, and provide returns to shareholders, is seen as excess risk.

One way to mitigate some risk is to ban consistent winners. It’s the easiest way for them to control their cash flow, which for them, is one way, straight into the till. Another way is to reduce staffing. How many times have you been in a bookies at night, and there’s one girl working on her own with boozed up punters, not pretty…

Bookmakers want to take money off losers, and that’ll always be the way. Losers frequent betting shops every day. The management love losers. They give away free tea and coffee, help punters place their bets, provide warmth and social interaction, and then, they legally rob their customers with bets that only losers would make.

Bets like 49’s, bingo and heaven help us, the fixed odds betting terminals. Great revenue earners for the shops, very few winners in real life. As part of the betting syndicate, I used to have to push past these people at the counters, in order to get bets on at the right price.

Quick question: Who do you think the staff in the shops prefer:

  1. Lots of people betting £1 each on bingo
  2. 1 person betting £500 on a horse

You got it, the big bettor every time. It’s less hassle, and guess what, any pro gambler that wins in a shop, will tip staff. It’s their way of keeping the money flow going for another day, until restricted.

How Do You Get Restricted

In days of old, being banned from a bookie involved them sending you a letter. All very civil, and they used to credit your account with your winnings prior to closing your betting account.

With the advent of online accounts, and due to the profits that these businesses make, staying competitive is key. To this end, all bookies offer signup and reload bonuses. These are then ultimately exploited by the matched bettors, in order to obtain easy, free money. As matched bettors offer little long term value to bookies, these customers usually get banned quickly.

Online, it’s usually a case of trying to place a bet, and only getting a pound or two on. This is then usually followed up by an email, explaining that you’re not profitable and to take your business elsewhere. Again, they usually they settle their bets and credit your account accordingly.

Shops are a little different. When I was pro betting, I’d place around £1000 per hour in bets. I’ve been restricted from shops even after I’ve lost £1500 in a session. I’ve also been restricted after making £2500 in a couple of hours.

As a pro bettor, early prices are important, in order to extract every bit of value, and the bookmakers hate it when you gain value. When they restrict you, it’s usually when you’re making a bet. They’ll state “sp only” or starting price only. That way, they’ve stripped all value from the bet you intended to make. As there’s no value left, your only option is to move on.

If you wonder what it takes to get banned in a shop, you need to understand that every punter is profiled. On screen, you’ll be given a silly name, “man in hat” or “drunken fella”. Every bet you place, is stored in this profile folder. The bookmakers traders have access to these betting patterns, and email or phone through instructions to shop staff. Usually a restriction.

I’ve seen people argue about it, and the shops even call security. There’s no need, It won’t change anything. In fact I’ve still tipped after being banned, but I’d took them for nearly 3 grand in the process, so no big deal to me.

Getting Your Winnings

Although most bookies settle their affairs, they’re under no legal obligation to do so. When I found this out, it stunned me to some extent. Believe it or not, a licensed bookmaker cannot be taken to court for not paying out on a winning bet.

There is no legislation currently to enforce betting debts of any type. A betting debt is classed as a debt of honor. Some bookies do make it difficult though. It’s also really bad PR for a bookmaker.

A funny and true story from a friend, involved him betting with a smaller North West based bookmaker. This particular vendor has around a dozen or so shops in the Liverpool and Manchester areas. If you guess who they are, leave a note in the comments below.

After a particularly good afternoon, my friend was then sp’d (restricted to starting price only). Rather than settle their debt there and then, as would be honorable, they decided to pay by cheque, and this took weeks to arrive. It was funny listening to the story, but there’s a serious side to that if you’re full time betting. Those actions could completely tie up your betting bank, rendering you unable to work.


Unless you’re using an exchange exclusively, I think it’s fair to say that you will get restricted at some point. Consider it a badge of honor, and that you’re heading on the right track to consistent profits. Don’t rant at shop staff, they’re just following rules, and can’t overturn a traders decision anyway. There are ways around this, that I won’t place in the public domain, but it can be done and is being done daily by those in the know.bingo

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