Why Sportsbooks Limit Players

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
5 minute read
why sports books limit or close your account

Being limited betting by an online sportsbook is something that may seem foreign to the betting masses. If you’re new to online sports betting and just beginning your journey into +EV wagering, this concept may be new to you as well. While the vast majority of sports gamblers lose money, there is a certain segment of the betting population that is superb at what they do.

They move the lines (for the most part), and there are many sports bettors that would put sportsbooks out of business if they continued to take their action. Getting limited at a sportsbook is a “rite of passage” for successful bettors, and it’s something that will inevitably happen once they win a sufficient amount of money. Betting sites lowering sports betting limits or even ban a player from betting there due to sharp action is extremely common.

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Why Would Sportsbook Limit Its Players

Just winning large amounts of money over a short period won’t get you limited at most sportsbooks in itself. Even if you go on a heck of a run over an extended period, depending on the type of wagers you’re making – there’s a decent chance they will still welcome your action with open arms. Sportsbook risk managers look for certain types of wagers from bettors to determine their ability as a handicapper.

If players are only betting markets that have a +EV expectation and going after the sportsbook’s weakest markets, there’s a much larger chance that they are going to draw attention from management. Attacking smaller markets, such as propositions and the more obscure sports offered by a sportsbook is not only profitable but is a red flag for the oddsmakers. Especially, if you’re firing up maximum bet slips.

Bookmakers And Prop Bets

Proposition markets aren’t as sharp as other sides and totals. Bookmakers often lose money on props, despite the fact that they are designed for recreational bettors. The same goes for smaller markets, which at US-facing sportsbooks aren’t typically wagered. Their odds simply won’t be as sharp for these markets.

While the maximum betting limit on these wagers is a lot smaller than their more high-profile sports, they can’t allow bettors to who are consistently beating them to continue to wager. If you’re max betting these markets or merely focusing on them as your primary weapon for wagering – it’s highly likely you will draw attention.

The same goes for steam chasing. These wagers will always be +EV provided players beat the sportsbook to market moves and find lines that are inefficient. Just about every bookmaker in the world takes issue with steam bettors. It’s probably the fastest way to get yourself noticed by management.

Should You Avoid These Markets?

One argument that some have made is that savvy bettors should disguise their wagers and bet high vigorish markets, along with profitable wagers to fool risk management teams at online sportsbooks. This strategy may buy you a bit of time, but there are issue with this course of action.

For one, unless you’re betting similar amounts on each wager, it’s not going to be very convincing to management. Sportsbooks have entire teams devoted to finding players who are beating them where they are most vulnerable. Betting smaller amounts on high vig markets isn’t likely to fool them. It’s almost certainly not going to work, and even if it did, it would severely cut into your bottom line profits. The reality with sportsbooks limiting profitable players is that is it inevitable in almost all cases.

It’s probably not worth trying to use smoke and mirrors to disguise from sportsbooks that you’re a player who has a clue. It’s probably not going to be successful, and you’re simply going to waste money on –EV bets that you could have wagered on profitable markets like NFL betting. Essentially, we’re advocating that bettors attack all they can before getting limited because it’s likely to happen in the same or similar timeframe regardless.

Sportsbooks Most Likely To Limit Players

How fast you get your betting limits cut depends heavily on the sportsbook where you’re wagering There are some sportsbooks that limit players extremely fast and others that will be much slower to lower wagering amounts of winning players. Sportsbooks that are heavily focused on recreational bettors that wager small amounts will be the quickest to limit players in most cases.

Their betting limits are already much lower than the higher limit books, and they’re plainly just not interested in sharp action. Those with higher limits will be slower to limit players, but will certainly do so when it’s clear they’re being beaten. Although their odds will be much sharper than the above mentioned recreational focused sportsbooks, there are still bettors who can beat them.

Pinnacle Sportsbook

Pinnacle Sports sportsbook

PinnacleSports.com, the worldwide leader in sports betting, famously states that “winners are welcomed”, but, even the almighty Pinnacle may occasionally (albeit, rarely) limit players. They rely on the best sharp bettors in the world to shape their lines, but they can’t continue to take action from a player who is beating them consistently, especially with their gargantuan betting limits. A player getting limited at Pinnacle may be only able to bet around $1,000 or so per bet slip, which is extremely high in comparison to other sportsbooks restrict betting limits on winning accounts.

Many recreational sportsbooks will limit players to just a few hundred dollars per wager (or double digits) and if they continue to max bet this rather small number, these limits can move to just a few dollars on each market. Which basically is a banning. It’s a nice way of saying, “we don’t want your action” and usually does the trick to send savvy bettors on their way.

If You Get Limited By A Sportsbook

Once a sportsbook limits your account, and your betting limits are cut, in all likelihood, these restrictions will stay on your account perpetually. Creating another account under a different name is something that many bettors will try to do get back in action after a sportsbook has banned them. Some have had success doing this, but this does breach the terms of conditions of the sportsbook and they track IP addresses to prevent things like this.

There is a serious risk of losing your deposited funds, along with any potential winnings if you try to sign up under someone else’s name and they catch on to your scheme. There have been some success stories here, but also gruesome horror stories of guys who ran up a balance on a “new account” only to have their balance confiscated.

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Negotiate Sportsbook Restriction

Although we mentioned above that being limited is almost always a restriction that lasts forever on your account, players may have a window to negotiate with management. After players get an email or notice on their account, an email to management may do some good.

Depending on how long you’ve bet at the sportsbook and the nature of your wagers, there may be a common ground that can be worked out. There have been situations where bettors have pledged to stay away from certain markets and arranged an agreement with management lift betting limit restrictions.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on Forbes.com as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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