How to Avoid Banned Bookmaker Accounts and Restrictions

Has your bookmaker account been restricted? There is nothing worse for any gambler, or trader; whether a casual punter or a seasoned professional than getting an account banned.

Unfortunately, this is something that is happening with such frequency that even the national press have got in on the matter with The Guardian publishing several articles on the matter and even the BBC offering their own take on the subject.

With this becoming an increasing problem, and one that shows no sign of going away, I decided to sit down and try to understand why it is becoming an increasing problem.

My initial reaction to this is one of pure disgust. How dare the greedy bookies take away money from hard working men and women who are out to make a bit of money on the side.

The fact is however that as I have researched this article, I have found myself not necessarily sympathising with the bookmakers, but empathising with them to some degree for reasons that I will look at later in this piece.

In my opinion however, what the bookmakers are doing is definitely unethical to a large degree and whilst I can see their points, their own profit and loss sheet are their own worst enemies. After all, it is hard to sympathise when a company is reporting an operating profit of £80.6 million off the back of almost £1.2 billon of revenue (Ladbrokes).

Closed Bookmaker Accounts, Why They Do it?

There are two main ways that bookmakers can impact your betting. The strongest example is account closure. This can land at any time and essentially means that you can forget about betting through that bookmaker again. Your account is closed and cannot be bet on again.

Most bookies will pay you any undisputed credit that is in the account, some may make this more difficult. This can be devastating to some gamblers depending on the numbers of bookies they actually have at their disposal.

The other way that bookies will affect your betting account is with restrictions.

Whilst these may not be as initially devastating as having an account closed, it can be more frustrating. Restrictions can come in almost any number of formats but there are three main ones (and more often than not, combinations of the them).

The first is restriction of stakes. This is exactly what it sounds like. As a gambler you will only be allowed to stake so much on a given bet. Sometimes it is a set amount that you can only bet up to, for example £2.50. More often than not, the stakes are restricted based off the ultimate pay out.

This means that the bookmaker never have more than a certain liability with your bets. This is usually a small amount, typically less than £20.

The second restriction is restriction of odds. This is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Bookmakers will restrict odds for certain users to ensure that they are unable to get the best price on a horse or event.

This is a tactic that is often employed when somebody is consistently betting on horses whose odds shorten over the course of the day.

The final method of restricting your account is by restricting your access to bonuses. In and of itself, this doesn’t necessarily sound like a huge problem and to some gamblers, it won’t be.

To those who utilise ‘bonus bagging’ and ‘matched bettin’g however, this can shut down your entire operation. As this is a method of making money that has definitely become increasingly popular, it can prove very problematic for a lot of people when this occurs.

Why are Bookmakers Restricting Accounts?

It is rather difficult to say that getting your account banned through the bookies is a new phenomenon. It was however once the reserve of only the best of the best. Punters who really knew how to bring home big profits and more often than not, bet very big money.

In the main however, if somebody was doing well, it would be sorted usually in the form of a Gentleman’s agreement between a punter and their local bookie.


Unfortunately, bookmaking as an industry has changed and as companies have expanded into PLC’s and resultantly, become answerable to shareholders. This has the effect of the bottom line being the last word.

With the introduction of online betting, things changed dramatically for a number of reasons. A big part of this I found out about some time ago from a blogger who used to be involved in the industry “back in the day”.

He talks about how traders used to be the main source for odds compiling, and as such, they were reliant on punters to some degree to show where they had odds wrong (for example certain people putting their money on a horse would highlight that it is a potential hot tip, and so odds would be shortened).

This led to an interesting to and fro and I believe this is often what people think about when they talk about beating the bookie, a sense of being two sides of the same coin.

The final nail in the coffin for bookies in my eyes was Betfair and the resulting popularity of betting exchanges. The fact is that anybody can now see where money is being bet and which horses are more likely than others to provide a positive result.

And we love Betfair, don’t we, remember? 🙂

The thing about betting exchanges however is that they can be looked at by both the bookies and punters. This means that both sides have the same information and the fact is that bookies don’t like your average gambler. All of a sudden, what little edge the bookmakers held was gone.

When you look at the details leading up to betting as it is in nowadays, it is rather easy to see why accounts are closed so quickly. The fact is that online casinos and in store fixed odds betting terminals offer a guaranteed income for bookies by only paying out a certain percentage on the pound.

Compare this to horse racing and sports betting where hard working professionals can actually take home a profit quite easily, and you can see how things have ended up where they are.

There is one other change that bookmakers have made and that is in the kind of gambler that they try to ‘draw in’. Where once going to the bookies was seen as the reserve of a very certain type of person, nowadays a bookmaker’s best friend is the casual punter (the mug).

Nowhere is this made more obvious than a recent Ladbrokes advertising campaign that specifically tried to target the “Lad” market. Featuring a group of young men, each stylised as a “type” of gambler.

Interestingly, none of these were the professional. Instead, they rely on things like ‘gut instinct’ or ‘chase long odds’. All things that in the long term, lead to losing bets.

The long and short of things is that now more than ever, bookmakers don’t like paying anything out, and yet in terms of actual betting, they are probably paying out more than ever before.

There was a situation very recently where a customer of William Hill had to take them to court to get his winnings of £20,000 paid out. Crazy, and the law definitely needs changing to stop these bookmakers taking liberties.

Of course, this doesn’t make bookmakers closing and restricting accounts ethical, but as I said earlier, taking the time to look at the other side of things isn’t necessarily a bad starting place.

Is It Legal for Bookmakers To Close Your Account?              

Very unfortunately, it is entirely legal for a bookmaker to close an account pretty much as and when they feel like it. In fact, this is written into the terms and conditions of almost all bookmakers.

A handful of examples are included below:

Ladbrokes – “20.1. We reserve the right to close your account at any time for any reason.”

Bet Victor – “11.1 BetVictor reserves the right to suspend or close Your Account at any time and for any reason, including but not limited to the circumstances set out in the Terms and Conditions.”

Betfair Sportbook – “Either we or you may suspend or terminate your account at any time, either with or without cause, upon notice (we will use our reasonable endeavours to give such notice to you either before or after suspending or terminating your account).”

bookmakers illegal

William Hill – “12.6 We are, at any time (and notwithstanding any other provisions contained in the Terms of Use), entitled to close Your Account and terminate the Terms of Use on written notice (or attempted notice) to You using Your Contact Details.”

Bet 365 – “4.2 bet365 reserves the right to close or suspend your account at any time and for any reason.”

As these are the terms and conditions that you agree to when you sign up to an account with a bookmaker, it makes it a very difficult thing to contest. It does also allow bookmakers to shut you down without reason. In fact, you will often find that bookmakers don’t specify a reason for shutting down your account as they are under no real obligation to do so.

Are Bookmakers Exclusively Closing Accounts That Make Money?

The evidence available suggests that this simply isn’t the case. Whilst the amount that a punter is winning certainly seems to be a variable, my research shows that there are a number of different reasons that bookmakers are closing down accounts.

One of the most obvious ones that I have seen complaints about is people having second, third and even more accounts open with the same bookmaker. These are often under different names (family members etc.) and even addresses, however bookies are becoming increasingly savvy to this.

The fact is that holding multiple accounts open is a breach of the terms of conditions and as such, is something that you should use sparingly (although as I will explore, it is a way of staying one step ahead of the game).

Bookmakers may also close accounts that they suspect of arbing. This is something that there doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of evidence for unfortunately. Once again though, there are certain patterns that may be demonstrated.

Syping Software that Bookmakers Use.

Seemingly one of the main reasons that bookmakers will close down your account however is due to a little piece of software known as IESnare.

Now this is a big deal at the moment and it is something that I may well revisit in much greater detail at a later date, but I will delve into this parasitic piece of software in this article as well.

What Can I do if My Account Has Been Closed or Restricted?

If your account has been banned, then there isn’t really a lot that can be done. Bookies are very unlikely to reverse their decision and the Gambling Commission are rather powerless as they don’t directly resolve customer complaints.

The unfortunate reality of the situation is that given bookies don’t provide details of why they are closing an account, and it is in their agreed terms and conditions that they can do so when they wish, it is a very difficult thing to prove the intention of account closure.

If you believe that your account has been closed unfairly, then your only real course of action is to report this to the UK Horseracing Bettors’ Forum. Whilst they do not have too much in the way of direct power, they are a group created with assistance from the British Horseracing Authority.

They continue to work with the BHA to represent the interests of those who bet on the sport of horse racing, and their focus is exclusively on horse racing.

What Can I do to Avoid Getting My Account Closed?

Avoiding getting an account closed is still a very difficult task in and of itself. The fact is that a lot of methods of keeping accounts open, are often ones that will also get your account closed.

The first step that any gambler should employ is to have as many accounts with as many bookmakers as possible. By spreading your betting about across these accounts, it helps to reduce how successful you look.

The fact is that if you have made £1,000 profit over a year with 25 bookies, you look less of a liability than if you were to take £25,000 out of one bookmaker over a year.

As well as betting through bookmakers, always look to take advantage of betting exchanges where you can. If there is no or very little difference in odds, it can be worth betting through an exchange and taking the hit on commission to be able to bet with a bookie at a bigger price in the future.

Or, if you are using a system, try and find something that works solely on Betfair, like this scalping method I recently reviewed that does not rely on bookmakers at all, so they will have zero control over your activities.

This is something that is very important to keep in mind as bookmakers tend to make more mistakes than the market. It is up to you as a gambler to identify the best time to capitalise on these mistakes.

With the accounts that you have open, it is also worth placing bets that are in line with the general betting public. This might include things like backing your favourite football team every Saturday. Play a few casino games on a Wednesday evening. Back the odd favourite in a horse race.

Bascially, you are trying to disguise yourself as a ‘mug’ punter, who does not have any kind of intelligent betting patterns.

This kind of betting gives you two advantages. The first is that this kind of throwaway betting can make your wins seem like luck rather than having a system. Playing on casino games every now and then may also encourage bookmakers to keep your account open as there remains potential to “convert” you to a more profitable type of betting.

Another way to match the profile of a causal (mug) punter is to stake like one. As a professional, you may find that £89.74 is the perfect amount to stake.

Unfortunately, this kind of staking on a consistent basis may flag you up as a professional gambler. Instead, consider rounding numbers up or down to a significant round number (for example above I would look to stake £100), Whilst this may have a small effect on your profit and loss in the long term, it can also help to keep your accounts open.

In a direct contradiction of everything that I have said up to now, it can also be worth having multiple betting accounts with different bookmakers. This is an area in which you have to be very careful however. Bookmakers have increasingly sophisticated ways of monitoring who is actually using their websites (again, IESnare comes to mind) and who is placing bets.

Disguising Your Bookmaking Activities

In order to avoid getting accounts closed as being a “false”, there are some very important preventative measures that you should look to take. The first, and most obvious, is to use different names and addresses.

Ideally, these should be people that you know and who are comfortable providing things like identification should this be required. Whilst it is reasonable to use some family, it is counterproductive to use too many people who share your surname, even if they are at different addresses.

disguising bookmaker activities

The reason for this is that whilst the names and addresses may be different enough to easily justify that accounts are separate, if your betting habits remain the same across multiple accounts, this will flag up.

The other way of protecting your interests is to try and use different IP addresses (and I would even go as far as to say different computers) when you login to different accounts with the same bookie.

The reason for this is that once again, bookmakers will flag up if the same IP is accessing multiple accounts. You can use a virtual private network to get around this or even use a method as simple as stopping in a McDonalds or somewhere else with free Wifi.

One of the best ideas that I have heard in relation to this is to simply use a dongle to get online rather than a fixed internet connection as these will alter your IP address each time you plug it in. What I wouldn’t do is use proxy’s as these often use the same IP addresses and this is something that can flag up with bookies as well.

It is worth pointing out that if you are using multiple betting accounts through the same bookmaker, these can be closed down and your funds withheld as per the terms and conditions of many bookmakers.

Bookmakers Terms and Conditions – Be Aware

William Hill – “4.7.2 we may, at our entire discretion, void all winnings and refund all deposits (less amounts in respect of void winnings) made in respect of that Duplicate Account and, to the extent not recovered by us from the relevant Duplicate Account, any amounts to be refunded to us by You in respect of a Duplicate Account may be recovered by us directly from any other of Your Accounts (including any other Duplicate Account); or

4.7.3 we may, at our entire discretion, allow usage of the Duplicate Account to be deemed valid in which case all losses and stakes placed by or for You through the Duplicate Account shall be retained by us.”

Betfair Sportsbook – “Should Betfair believe, using its absolute and sole discretion, that you have:

  • registered and/or used more than one account; and/or
  • acted in collusion with one or more other individuals through a number of different Betfair accounts to back the same combination of selections (regardless of whether or not such bets are struck separately, at a range of different prices or on different days)

in an attempt to exceed the maximum pay-out for an individual account holder across linked accounts, it reserves the right to withhold any winnings arising from such behaviour.”

With this in mind, if I were to spread bets over multiple betting accounts with one bookmaker, I would withdraw my profits as often as possible without being suspicious (for example taking your winnings out at the end of the day rather than after each bet).

Bet365 – “1.10 In addition, bet365 shall be entitled to withhold and/or retain any and all amounts earned or received by you as a result of or in connection with your ‘unauthorised’ use of the Website including activities which are not for an authorised purpose.”

As I have already explored, at the centre of any decision to close or restrict an account is the money in the market. This means anticipating how much people will bet on an event and then trying to keep your stakes in proportion with this.

If for example you have a much favoured horse a Premier League team playing some conference minnows in the FA Cup, then you can bet a fairly substantial amount and bookies won’t really bat an eyelid. The fact is that £1,000 in a pool of millions is a drop in the ocean.

Compare this with a 7/1 outsider horse that has had just a few hundred staked on it on Betfair. Sure, you can get away with backing that horse a few times, but several times a week suggests that you know something the bookies don’t.

The last piece of advice that I would offer to anybody who is trying not to get their accounts closed is to constantly be prepared for your accounts to be closed. I am well aware that there is a lot of contradiction in the methods that I have discussed, but in a way, that is exactly what bookies want to see.

Most people who gamble (something that I see different as betting in so much as somebody who bets is informed. Somebody who gambles is not) are throwing money around chaotically. They lose on the horses so their next bet is on the Premier League because obviously their luck has run out on horse racing.

Then it becomes casino games and so on and so forth. By following this kind of pattern, you may be able to keep your accounts open for longer, but the fact is that given the power that bookmakers have in this regard, it is still not that easy to avoid detection.

Using a Restricted Bookmakers Account

This section is only going to serve as a bit of a short detour to highlight a mistake that people often make when their accounts are initially restricted. Whilst it may seem at first glance that a restricted account should be written off, it can still be worth playing around with.

The fact is that you are generally very unlikely to get the criterion you need in order to bet profitably. That having been said, it can be surprising how much wiggle room can still be found by those tenacious enough to look for it.

What is IESnare?

I have mentioned IESnare a few times now and it is something that I feel it is now necessary to address in detail. Put basically, iesnare is a piece of software that bookmakers are installing on users computers that monitors a number of details including your browsing habits.

By looking at things like the websites that you have visited how long you have spent on them and other information about your computer, a bookie can instantly figure out if you are trying to beat the system somehow.

The software itself is published by a company, Iovation and was supposedly written by somebody who has a history of creating products that help companies to monitor in game betting.

The company itself specialise in fraud prevention and as a result, you would expect iesnare to be good. Unfortunately, there are a large number of gamblers who feel that it is perhaps too good (myself included).

The problem with bookmakers using iesnare is that as mentioned, the software is technically being used for the purposes of fraud prevention, not for monitoring what punters are doing.

spying by bookmakers

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the usage of iesnare as a product due to allegations that bookmakers may be using it unfairly. Whilst I (and I presume most of the readers of this) can accept a bookmakers need to ensure that they aren’t complicit with large scale fraud, something like iesnare simply takes it too far.

The fact is that a bookmaker can review the data that iesnare sends back to them to find out if you had open a website on matched betting open whilst browsing their site. If so, you may find that your account is banned from using bonuses.

If you have open a betting exchange and have clearly been pouring over it for an hour plus on a single race that you then bet on, iesnare can report this to a bookmaker. A bookmaker may then view your account as being a liability to them and close it.

So far, it is pretty obvious that iesnare is something that any gambler worth their salt should be aware of and as such, you would expect to be able to keep an eye out for it.

But what I haven’t mentioned is that iesnare is often being installed without the express permission of a computers user. In fact, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that bookmakers are installing this software before you even register with them.

Is iesnare Illegal?

This is one of those questions that at the moment, nobody seems to be sure of.

If I were to throw my hat into the ring, I would be inclined to say that bookmakers are very heavily monitored from a legal point of view and I can’t see them implementing something so big without extensive legal consultation.

That having been said, the fact that something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean that it won’t be shut down in the future. If I am honest though, I don’t see this being the case. Because bookmakers will always say that they are using iesnare as a method of stopping fraud, money laundering, etc.

I simply can’t see any court calling the use of the software immoral as it is stopping a larger problem.

One of the problems with iesnare is that there is surprisingly little information really available on the subject. People are increasingly becoming aware of the software and there is a slow revolution of sorts as it is discussed more and more openly.

The biggest issue however is that whilst punters are talking openly about it, to the best of my knowledge, no bookmakers are willing to talk openly about the software and exactly what information it is collecting and what they are using. Until this happens, I think that all punters will instantly assume the worst.

How Can I Get Rid of iesnare?

The first thing that you must do is identify whether or not iesnare has been installed on your computer. The fact is that there is no comprehensive list available in terms of which bookmakers are using the software.

On the occasions whereby somebody has anecdotally identified the software being installed on their computer, it has been vehemently denied or the line of questioning evaded.

Identifying if iesnare has been installed on your computer is relatively straight forward, however I would recommend having some experience with computers before you make a start on this process.

In order to find out if the software is installed, simply go to the search function of your computer and search for “mpsnare”. If you see any of the following folders, then it has been downloaded at some point:


There are plenty of comprehensive guides to removing iesnare from your computer so if you do find that you have it, a quick Google search should provide you with the details.

What I won’t do is relist the information (although if you are struggling to find anything, there is a helpful thread on forum).

Once you have disabled iesnare, you shouldn’t have to do anything else however for peace of mind I would check periodically that it hasn’t reappeared in a different format.

Will Bookies Ever Become The Good Guys?

Whether or not things will change for the bettor (pun absolutely intended) very much remains to be seen. Given the increasing power that bookmakers have, I am loathe to say that I can’t see things getting better.

The fact is that gambling is a tax free enterprise if you are a punter whilst betting firms have to pay taxation. This means that there is always going to be a degree of vested interest when it comes to laws and reforms of the sector.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the UK is one of the more liberal countries in the world when it comes to gambling.

The politics aside, betting companies are only getting bigger and with a merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral literally just around the corner there is a sense amongst the more cynical that betting could become something of a monopolised industry.

As it stands, it tends to be the smaller guys who are giving out the best odds and the best opportunities however as punters increasingly bet with them this is inevitably going to be eroded.

good and bad bookmakers

I also feel that betting companies will eventually move away from the sportsbook. A look at Ladbrokes annual report for 2015 shows that they wish to continue to grow their “recreational customer base”.

This is going to be a market that all bookmakers will wish to capitalise on and resultantly, the professional punter will have a harder time than ever keeping accounts open.

I also feel that fixed odds terminals will continue to pay a part of bookmaker growth in the future.

All of that having been said it is also hard to ignore the fact that I don’t think that gamblers have ever had it easier than they have right now. Ignoring account closures (which are generally more of an inconvenience to any savvy bettor), there is more information available online and a bevy of different tools that experienced gamblers can use to help even things out a little bit with the bookies.

Conclusion Bookmaker Account Closures

Betting has evolved more in the last 20 years or so than probably the prior Century and the rate of change is only likely to accelerate in my opinion. Things like iesnare are going to become more and more common place and as bookies get larger, the ability to hide your activity is only going to get harder.

I don’t, however, see bookies letting up any on those gamblers who turn a frequent profit – especially when they have shareholders on their back expecting an increasing profit to be turned.

I do however think that in the future, betting exchanges may well become the predominant form of sportsbook betting. As bookies continue to make life difficult for gamblers and odds continue to fall (especially in horse racing), professional punters will look elsewhere and with increased money in the markets those in the know may well follow suite.

In terms of account closures, they aren’t going to stop any time soon. That is an unfortunate truth. If anything, in the future it is a situation that I can only getting worse.

The problem is that every time the betting community are able to take a step forward, the big bookmakers are waiting to push them one step back. iesnare is a perfect example of this kind of thinking.

Whilst on the topic of iesnare, unfortunately I think that this is only the beginning of a new wave of “fraud prevention” from bookmakers. It is often said that bookies are only interested in mug punters who lose more than they win, but with this new insight into betting habits I can’t help but think that even so called mug punters will have their accounts closed in little to no time.

The problem here is that fraudulent behaviour and money laundering are a pretty big problem if you are a bookmaker and as long as they hide behind these labels, punters will always be at a disadvantage.

In terms of the here and now, all that you can realistically do is aim to keep fighting the proverbial good fight. There is no denying that it is very difficult to maintain multiple accounts but it is something that can be done.

The only advice that I can look to give at this point is a reinforcement of what I have already said which is to treat every account as though it might be closed tomorrow.

The very least that you can do is to make sure that bookies aren’t pocketing your winnings under some obscure terms and conditions loophole (of which there are many).

I know that this article has maintained a rather cynical tone and it seems like there isn’t all that much good news for punters, but I don’t want this to put people off betting. At the moment, there is very much a balance of power and the winners could be anybody.

It is hard to ignore the fact that betting for a serious income is increasingly difficult for those that search for it.

That one percent at the very top who bet big day in day out simply don’t have the leverage that they once did.

Things like bonus bagging have played a big contribution in my opinion as well (during one badly placed offer through Sky Bet, one bonus bagging service supposedly netted several million across all of its subscribers).

There are also things like arbitrage to consider, all of which we as punters exploit with the same glee that bookmakers close our accounts down, that is to say by taking advantage of loopholes.

Whatever the future holds for betting, it will be interesting to see what happens, however I suspect that we are a long way from any kind of balanced system.

Don’t Use Bookmakers – Here is The Alternative.

You can solve the problem of getting banned by bookmakers by simply not using them. That may seem obvious, but if you use Betfair solely, then you have solved the problem.

I reviewed a product that relies solely on Betfair, which is a scalping product and worked very well in my trial, and customers are already emailing me about it with very positive results.

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  • robin says:


    In regards to IESnare.. wouldn’t deleting show the bookies that we are traders not mug punters? As mug punters wouldn’t ever think/know to delete this?

    Also can IESnare gather past information? – for example If I went on betfair, then went on a website that installs IESnare,can they see I have been on betfair before IESnare was installed?

    Thank you

  • Ken Dowling says:

    would going “incognito” prevent bookies from tracking your betting activities ?

  • Ross says:

    nothing works long term if you’re trying to gamble professionally using bookmakers. You will almost certainly be restricted or have your account closed sooner or later, no matter what you do. Bet365 for example was my favourite bookie. My account with them was over a year old, I never staked over €100 per event or even per day. I used their casino from time to time in order to seem like a mug punter. Then one day out of the blue I got the dreaded message “our traders have reviewed your account etc etc” and that was it, restricted to €4 stakes. Some bookies like Boylesports or StanJames will even close your account down when you’re making consistent losses with them! They’re mostly big corporations now, often answering to shareholders and if they get so much as an inkling that you MIGHT be a pro gambler, you’re done.

    • Ben says:

      Hi Ross,

      I couldn’t agree more.

      When shareholders own the company, then the game is over, as rules will then most certainly change, and they become a faceless entity.

      I actually think the law needs changing on bookmakers and their abuse of banning accounts, because it is also false advertising, and enticing mugs under the guise of ‘having fun’.


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