Don’t panic. Most bettors hop onto their sportsbook account, browse some bets, and try their hand at placing a winning bet. But some bettors wager differently from laymen. Professional gamblers seek betting lines they can profit from. However, sportsbooks are also on the lookout for money launderers who place large bets to clean a lot of it at once.
Sportsbooks keep a sharp eye out for sharp bettors. Bettors who game sportsbooks to win drain sportsbooks’ money. Remember, sportsbooks make money from losing bets. When bettors place money on +300 odds, they see the big payout. They often miss the 25% chance of winning those funds.
However, it’s not just about the bottom line. It’s also about proactively banning money launderers. The Patriot Act requires financial institutions to implement know-your-customer protocols to verify each member’s identity. That means no one can use a bank, sportsbook, or casino anonymously. There are still ways for money launderers to try to get around those requirements. But that means sportsbooks must detect money launderers through their online behavior. Here are a few ways to avoid gaming sportsbooks and, in some cases, not be confused with a money launderer.
Don’t Win Too Big Or Too Often
This is the most contentious–and likely the most common reason that bettors get locked out of their sports betting accounts. Maybe you’ve been keeping up with sports news and have been able to call bets that everyone else thought were impossible. Bettors can keep that up for a while, but sportsbooks can’t. So, if sportsbooks find a bettor who earns an extraordinary amount of winnings, they may limit or delete that account.
But it’s not just about winning a lot. It’s also about how bettors seem to win.
One of the biggest fears sportsbook have is accepting money from someone with inside information. Like insider trading on Wall Street, sports betting with non-public knowledge is unethical and illegal. Aside from undermining oddsmakers, bettors with inside information are often people with close knowledge of individual team members. Allowing people that close to teams to use insider information encourages match-fixing, which would undermine the integrity of sports and sports betting.
Large, consecutive, and unlikely wins could alert sportsbooks to insider trading, resulting in a limited or deleted sports betting account. So, don’t use any non-public information to place bets.
And don’t make it look like you are, either.
Don’t Abuse Bonuses
Most sportsbooks offer welcome bonuses that award site credits. Some welcome bonuses award site credits as bettors deposit funds and others deposit site credits after the first lost bet. These could be great ways to make larger bets for the same amount of money, which would increase winnings without increasing cash spent. However, bettors who sign up for sportsbook accounts can only create one account. So they can only take advantage of bonuses once.
However, some enterprising bettors try to find ways around the rules of one sportsbook account. They may use someone else’s identity and wager under that name. That requires their social security number, so they’d have to be close.
But just because they’re under another identity doesn’t mean sportsbooks can’t suspect that the same person is playing under two names. It’s not hard for an algorithm to identify identical bets from two different social security numbers. Especially if those social security numbers are connected to two spouses.
If sportsbooks suspect bettors of creating new accounts to take advantage of their bonuses, they will shut them down. Sportsbooks dislike bettors who game their systems.
Don’t Look Too Professional
Professional sports bettors routinely push sportsbook limits. They max out bet amounts, search for particularly profitable lines, and bet on both sides of the line. There are a few key tip-offs that alert sportsbooks to bettors who game them for a living. Many of them can be illustrated by planning an arbitrage bet.
One of them is not only betting on both sides of the line but betting on both sides of a line with odds that ensure wins for professional bettors. With moneylines, that’s called arbitrage betting. Professional bettors will search for lines whose total probabilities add up to less than 100%.
Here’s what that means. Let’s say the Broncos and Titans had these odds to win:
If you convert these odds to probabilities, they add up to less than 100%–in this case, 98.1%. Because the favorite to win has lower odds than the underdog and because the probabilities total less than 100%, bettors can place bets on both sides of the line and profit no matter who wins. However, bettors have to wager specific amounts to guarantee a profit. You’d have to google an arbitrage betting calculator to figure out how much to wager. Here’s what that specific wager could look like:
If bettors wager $100 on the Broncos and a precise $91.64 amount on the Titans, they could win $3.56 no matter how the game goes. (Maybe $3.55 depending on rounding errors.) This is advanced sportsbook math that required a special online calculator to put together. It’s a sophisticated strategy.
Why Colorado Sportsbooks Hate This
A sportsbook’s oddsmakers would never allow moneylines to look like this. To do arbitrage betting, bettors have to wager at two or three different sportsbooks.
Colorado sportsbooks won’t know that bettors are placing these kinds of bets. However, they’ll be suspicious if bettors repeatedly place bets that are specified down to the cent. Sportsbooks may flag bettor accounts with this pattern and delete those accounts.
Over time, arbitrage bettors could lose sportsbooks accounts across an entire state. And since their accounts are tied to their social security numbers, they’ll have a hard time placing bets. Layers of math aside, the risk to bettor accounts is why arbitrage betting is not mainstream among amateur bettors.
Don’t Game Colorado’s Sportsbooks
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons sportsbooks can ban bettors. However, they cover the major reasons sportsbooks may become spooked and limit an account. Sportsbooks may be worried if they suspect:
- Insider trading
- Bonus abuse
- Arbitrage betting
- Other unfair betting strategies
If you hear bettors complain about unfair account limits, you may not know the full story. It’s possible that a sportsbook limited your friend’s account because they were winning too much. The profit motive certainly exists to shut profitable bettors down.
But there are other good–and sometimes better–reasons for sportsbooks to limit customer accounts. Bettors could be winning because they know something the rest of us don’t. They could be finding new ways to game welcome bonuses. Maybe they’ve been betting weird amounts that could only be explained by arbitrage or middling bets.
The most likely reason is one of these tactics has made a sportsbook wonder whether bettors are laundering money. The Patriot Act holds financial institutions responsible for money laundering that takes place on their platforms.
Angry bettors may see limits on their accounts and see a sportsbook cutting losses. Instead, they should see a company that wants to avoid hefty fines and federal prison sentences.