Many football fans enjoy a regular flutter at the bookies. Using your football knowledge to outwit the bookies can be highly satisfying, not to mention financially rewarding.
But if you’re too good at it, the bookmakers will bite back. It’s not widely known (largely because it’s rare and the bookmaking industry does its best to keep it quiet) but regular profitable gamblers will have their accounts restricted or even closed.
The practise, sometimes known as gubbing, mainly affects two types of gamblers – successful professionals and matched bettors.
Bookmakers keep close tabs on customers’ behaviour and start paying attention as soon as you start winning regularly. They monitor betting patterns, look at your stake sizes and the odds you’re choosing and, most of all, how much you’re winning.
Pro gamblers tend to get picked up quickly because they win a lot. They take money off the bookies more than the company is comfortable with, so they have their accounts restricted – usually with a limit on the amounts that can be staked on certain markets.
This is one reason why a lot of professional gamblers set up their own tipping services or syndicates – they can’t put bets on themselves but they can advise others on what to back in exchange for a fee or commission.
In short, if you’re seen as a risk to the bookies’ profit margins, you’ll get stopped in your tracks pretty sharpish.
Meeting your match
Matched bettors are also unpopular with bookies – because they win every time.
For the uninitiated, matched betting is a process that involves backing all outcomes of an event to guarantee a profit.
It uses bookmaker accounts but it is not gambling, as the outcome is certain. The opposing bets make sure the stake is covered, while the profit comes from a bookmaker bonus.
It’s not just restricted to sign-up offers – it can be done long-term as regular bonuses and offers are available every week.
Matched betting is used by hundreds of thousands of people and is seen as a legitimate way to top up your income on a regular basis.
But how is it sustainable if bookies shut you down? Well, there’s a couple of reasons. For a start, one side of the matched bet will lose every time, so you don’t always win with the same bookmaker.
And, secondly, matched bettors have become particularly clever about keeping their accounts open, disguising their behaviour and adopting tactics to make sure accounts don’t become restricted.
Whether you’re a matched bettor or a traditional gambler, here’s some advice on keeping your account open:
- Don’t hit all the bonuses: Bookies offer bonuses to get people betting and don’t like them being taken advantage of. But, of course, they are great ways to make sure you rake in a profit. It’s best to dip in and out and not to hit every bonus available.
- Win some and lose some: ‘Mug betting’ is common practise among matched bettors. This means to occasionally deliberately lose small amounts so you look to the bookmaker like a regular punter – or a ‘mug’.
- Accept shorter odds: Bookmakers know when the odds they’re offering are the best available and will spot it if you use them whenever their odds are the best. So, occasionally, use a bookie even if they’re not offering the best odds. It will only cost you a few quid in value and will be worth it long-term.
- Cover your tracks: Try to avoid visiting a bookie directly from sites such as Oddschecker or a betting exchange. This will look like you’re shopping around for the best value – a sure sign of a professional gambler or matched bettor.