7 Strategies To Avoid Being Limited Or Restricted By Sportsbooks

Learning how to make money matched betting can be liberating. The extra few thousand dollars each month makes a huge difference to household budgets, debt, holiday plans, and any other life goals people have.

However, the betting patterns needed to maximize guaranteed profits aren’t a welcome sight for sportsbooks.

It’s a rite of passage for any matched bettor when they’re first limited by a sportsbook. Meaning they aren’t able to earn bonuses or place large bets.

If you get limited in too many places, it can be the end of your matched betting profits. That’s why there are a few hints, tips, and strategies that will help keep you under the radar.

Explaining Sportsbook Limits

Quite simply, there are two main types of limitation a sportsbook might impose on customers:

  1. Restriction – When a customer is limited to a certain ‘risk’ level for bets, therefore preventing any sizeable bets. I’ve been restricted to mere cents on bets at some sportsbooks.
  2. Gubbing – Preventing a customer from accessing promotions and bonus bets.

As a matched bettor, we want to reduce our risk of being restricted or gubbed. However, most people start questioning why sportsbooks feel the need to limit customers at all. After all, we’re just betting on publicly available markets and earning bonuses they promote to all customers.

It hardly seems ‘fair’ that sportsbook are allowed to limit any accounts.

There are two main reasons that a sportsbook would choose to limit an account:

  1. Only Betting For Bonuses – When an account is only betting on markets where a promotion is available, you’re actually shifting the expected value of your account into the negative. That is, you’re more likely to win than lose money over a long time. That invariably means that the sportsbook are likely to lose money by taking your bets.
  2. Always Taking Value Bets – When matched betting, we are always trying to find close ‘matches’ between sportsbooks. Often, close ‘matches’ represent a scenario where the sportsbook haven’t managed their odds very well and you’re getting good value on your bet. Ultimately, betting on good value bets is why professional sports gamblers get restricted (WaPo). They’re not profitable customers.

Sportsbook limits always come down to profitability. As a business, sportsbooks only want to take money from people who place regular poor value bets. It’s easy for them to profit from these people.

As matched bettors, we never gamble or risk our profits. So, what can we do?

Being Limited As A Matched Bettor

As I alluded to above, it’s practically a certainty that a matched bettor will be limited by a sportsbook eventually. It could be months away, it could be many years away.

Ideally, want it to be more like years than months.

It’s possible to reduce your risk of being limited by appearing more like the gullible, low-risk customers the sportsbooks love. Many of our strategies revolve around that simple insight.

However, a word of caution. These strategies require additional time to follow and result in lower profits in the short-term. They also can’t guarantee you won’t be limited anyway.

  • If you focus purely on matched betting and optimize for maximum profit as quickly as possible, you’ll earn big money for a few months but risk any long-term profitability.
  • If you focus on maintaining your accounts, you’ll earn profits at a slower rate and spend more time matched betting, but you’ll earn more money over the long term.

I don’t recommend a specific approach, as the choice is a personal one. Think about what you want to get out of matched betting (short term vs long term) and choose strategies based on that preference.

7 Strategies to Avoid Sportsbook Limits

You won’t find a more extensive guide to avoiding sportsbook limits in the USA anywhere else. However, that makes our guide quite overwhelming. Especially for anyone new to matched betting.

To make it easier to digest and pick out strategies you want to follow, I’ve given each tactic 2 ratings.

  • Impact: Likelihood of reducing your risk of being limited. High = Good.
  • Time: The amount of time required to implement the strategy. High = Bad
  • Profit: The possible impact on how much profit you’ll earn per bet. High = Bad.

Nobody knows exactly what systems each sportsbook has in place to identify unprofitable customers.

Instead, these strategies are based on my experience over the last 10+ years and talking to hundreds of other matched bettors. I’m confident that these strategies work, but I can never guarantee you’ll avoid being limited forever.

Start Mug Betting

  • Impact: HIGH
  • Time: MEDIUM
  • Profit: MEDIUM (Potentially HIGH)

The basics of limit avoidance strategy. Simply put, make yourself look like a mug punter. Someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

This means adding in other bets that don’t involve earning a bonus. For example, you could start betting on your favourite team or the big sporting events happening each week.

There are two mug betting methods, with the options down to personal preference:

  1. Matched Mugs: Where you hedge all your mug bets with another sportsbook by betting on the alternative outcome. You’ll expect to lose around 5% of your stake each time you place a mug bet pair.
  2. No Hedge Mugs: Math dictates that you’ll lose less money when taking an approach where you actively gamble with your mug bets. In theory, you should only lose the sportsbooks ‘vigorish’ on each bet over an extended period of time. However, if you’re seriously unlucky you could wipe out your matched betting profits.

The general agreement amongst matched bettors is that you should be placing a mug bet for every couple of bonus bets you place. It’s a tight balance between risking your accounts and making more money.

Some States Tax On Gross Winnings

If you are living in a state that taxes you on gross winning (like matched betting in Ohio), you could end up seriously increasing your tax bill by placing more bets. Even if your total winnings don’t increase by much. Mug betting isn’t suitable if this is the case.

Don’t Always Take the Best Matches

  • Impact: HIGH
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: MEDIUM

We explained the issue that sportsbooks have with so-called “value gamblers”. People who look for the best possible odds for every event they put money on.

As matched bettors, we do this when we look for close ‘matches’ through software like ProfitDuel’s Dutch Matcher (link to our review!). When we find those great matches that eke out an extra 1-2% profit on our bets, we’re signaling to sportsbooks that we’re smarter than they are.

You’re entering dangerous territory when finding bets that have:

  • Anything under 2.5% loss on qualifying bets.
  • Anything with more than 80% return with bonus bets.

The sportsbooks know exactly what time you placed the bet, and they know what the odds were across every sportsbook at that time. I have no doubt they have algorithms that judge how much ‘value’ customers are getting.

You’ll make a few less dollars on each bet, but it’s well worth it to keep your accounts open for longer.

Of course, if you just want to churn through the welcome offers quickly and run away with your profits, then go ahead and be patient in finding the best possible matches.

Only Bet on Popular Leagues

  • Impact: HIGH
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: LOW

When we use matched betting software such as ProfitDuel, their matcher can sometimes present opportunities on obscure markets. I’ve seen 90%+ bonus retention on Korean K League football and been sorely tempted to take advantage before.

However, this will undoubtedly make your account stand out like a sore thumb. Your average gambler has no interest in betting on obscure leagues in other countries.

They won’t have many customers using that market. It would surprise nobody for a sportsbook to review your account after a really obscure bet.

In the USA, I always advise people to stick to MLS, NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL. There are plenty of opportunities within these sports so you don’t have to rely on a Brazilian 3rd Tier Rugby match (for example).

Always Round Your Bets at Sportsbooks

  • Impact: HIGH
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: LOW

When you’re dutching multiple bookmakers, you’ll often find that the ideal stake at the sportsbook will be a very specific number such as $55.28.

Let’s be honest, it’s very rare that a normal punter would ever bet such a specific amount unless that was everything left in their account.

That’s why I recommend you always round up/down your matched stake at your second sportsbook to the nearest $5. In the case above, you’d bet $55 and accept a slight imbalance between the two sides of your dutched bet.

Over time, these should balance themselves out as sometimes you’ll earn more profit, and sometimes you’ll earn less.

Use a Betting Exchange

  • Impact: MEDIUM
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: LOW

Betting exchanges are similar to a sportsbook, except your bet gets matched against another customer’s bet. If you win, the funds come directly from that other customer’s bet instead of flowing through a sportsbook’s account.

That means there’s also a slight nuance because you can bet against another person which results in a ‘Lay’ bet. If, for example, there are 3 possible outcomes (win, draw, lose), then you could ‘lay’ the win event and your bet would win if either the draw or lose results occur.

Because exchanges make their profit on a small commission from winnings, they don’t care if you’re winning crazy sums of money. They are very friendly to matched bettors.

You can even place bets on weird figures such as the aforementioned $55.28 and would never have any issues.

Unfortunately, not every state has legalized betting exchanges so you’ll need to check if there are any operating in your state.

Use a Different Username and Email

  • Impact: LOW
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: LOW

If you’ve signed up to a matched betting service, it’s entirely possible that sportsbooks are also subscribed. They pay a small subscription fee to potentially get access to lots of usernames of matched bettors.

It’s best practice to completely separate the usernames and email addresses you use for these services, from the accounts you sign up to sportsbooks with.

I suspect this is where we’re getting into ‘paranoid’ territory. It’s relatively unlikely sportsbooks are monitoring these social pages and services but if they ever wanted to crack down on matched bettors, it would be a good place for them to start.

Limit Your Withdrawals

  • Impact: HIGH
  • Time: LOW
  • Profit: MEDIUM

Inevitably, you’re going to end up having large amounts of cash sitting in sportsbook accounts. It’s strange experiencing crazy winning streaks all at the same sportsbook, but that’s how the game works sometimes.

Sportsbooks do often review accounts when large, or regular withdrawals are made. It’s also a signal for review when a withdrawal is made immediately after the result of a bonus bet.

Best practice is to keep funds in a sportsbook account for as long as possible, limiting withdrawals for when you really need the money back in your bank account. If that’s not possible, consider leaving some funds behind.

Again, we’re aiming to mimic the behavior’s of a regular customer.

The downside is that we might miss out on some offers because we have funds stuck in sportsbook accounts. We might not be able to start new offers, or place high-odds bets at other sportsbooks without those funds.

Managing where your funds are is a more advanced matched betting skill, commonly referred to as ‘Bankroll Management’.

The Removal of Limits

Many matched bettors have wondered whether their accounts might ever be de-limited. Unfortunately, the short answer is that it’s highly unlikely. Most sportsbooks will never remove restrictions placed on an account.

Even if you request deletion of your account, their systems will always be able to flag if those accounts are re-created.

Some persistent people have reported success on ‘ungubbing’ or getting access back to bonus bets, simply by maintaining some activity at the sportsbook and asking the support team for access to bonuses every couple of months.

I wouldn’t recommend you expend too much energy on this. The chances of success are low.

Stay Unlimited

Hopefully these strategies contribute to your long-term matched betting success.

Each individual circumstance is unique and the strategies that have worked for me, might not be as successful for you. There are too many factors involved for us to control them all.

My advice is to apply the core high impact strategies, and take advantage of all the most profitable bonuses. We’re here to make as much money as possible at the end of the day.

Good luck!

About The Author

Website | + posts

David has been matched betting for over 10 years, with experience profiting from bonus bets in the UK and Australia. He's made over $30,000 from just a couple of hours each week and funded travel across the world. He struggles to understand why matched betting isn't more popular when it's the perfect side hustle.

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