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Are Betting Account Limits Illegal?

The Illegality Of Betting Account Limits

If you are here then there is a good chance you have been the victim of a betting account limitation or restriction. 

Just for being a profitable sports bettor. It sucks but we deal with it, we move on. It’s just part of investing in sports betting.

But it shouldn’t be.

Getting restricted purely because you win. Not only is it unethical, but here at The Value Betting Blog, we hold the strong opinion that it is Illegal.

In this article, I will break down why it happens, why it shouldn’t, and finally how we can fight back.

Summary

How They Do it

This bit is a little bit eerie, there is some serious ‘Black Mirror’ stuff going on behind the scenes at these bookmakers.

I’m going to borrow from Daily25 here, a betting blog based in Australia, who had an anonymous guest poster from one of the big bookmakers write a tell-all article about bookmaker tracking methods. Read that full expose here – http://www.daily25.com/bookmakers-track-every-move-industry-insider/

Essentially, they do everything they can to understand you and separate the successful from the recreational. Some of those methods include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Tracking your IP address and MAC address.
  • Using cookies to track your exact behaviour on their site.
  • Build a profile based around everything from your home address, to the model of your smartphone.
  • Social media tracking. Everyone you follow, are friends with, or even just posts you’ve liked can be filed and used to determine or predetermine your betting habits.
  • Tipster tracking. Finding out, then grouping and banning people who follow a particular tipster.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, information security is not keeping up with information availability in this digital age. Every method they can use to profile you, they will use.

Once you are flagged you could have betting limits for a particular sport or market, you may be flat out banned or you could land anywhere in between. It’s completely up to their discretion, based on their information.

And there is more, a program called ‘IE Snare’, used by all major bookmakers and labelled as a fraud protection software, reportedly has the ability to track your every move online. We’ll delve deeper into that in an upcoming article.

We have cause to be concerned, not only about our betting habits being tracked but also about our general privacy.

Why They Do It

This bit is simple. They do it so profitable bettors don’t take their money.

Bet365 Maximum Bet Limit

Ban the winners and entice the losers to lose more. If no one will stand up and stop them then it’s just smart (albeit unethical) business.

Bookmakers can be pretty ruthless with taking advantage of problem gamblers, take this story for example – Gambler Who Lost Millions Says He Was Targeted By Betting Groups

The limiting of successful bettors isn’t so they can stay in profit, it’s so they can make a whole lot more profit than they already do, by targeting problem gamblers and getting rid of anyone who dares to win.

Why We Believe It’s Illegal

Here is where it gets tricky.

Legality doesn’t matter if there is no one wanting, willing, or able to enforce it. The online betting industry is a moving target, constantly changing and evolving. The judicial system has yet to catch up.

Let’s take Bet365 for example, they hide their justifications deep in the terms and conditions:

4.2 – bet365 reserves the right to close or suspend your account at any time and for any reason. Without limiting the preceding sentence, bet365 shall be entitled to close or suspend your account if:

(a) you become bankrupt;

(b) bet365 considers that you have used the Website in a fraudulent manner or for illegal and/or unlawful or improper purposes;

(c) bet365 considers that you have used the Website in an unfair manner or have deliberately cheated or taken unfair advantage of bet365 or any of its customers; 

(d) bet365 is requested to do so by the police, any regulatory authority or court;

(e) bet365 considers that any of the events referred to in (a) to (c) above may have occurred or are likely to occur; or

(f) your account is deemed to be dormant and its balance is, or reaches zero in accordance with paragraph B.5.1 below.’

And there you have it, they ‘reserve the right to suspend our account at any time and for any reason’, I guess they are covered, right?

Not quite.

Firstly, let’s just address the reasons they listed. They had the audacity to omit the single biggest reason for account suspensions and closures, profitable bettors. Glaring but within their rights, given they added ‘for any reason’.

But what about the most common type of account restriction, bet size limits. Nowhere is that mentioned, nowhere have they justified limiting bettors to minuscule bet sizes, as low as $1 in some cases.

This ambiguity and unethical treatment of bettors has led to a legal movement, primarily in Spain, in which a possible precedent-setting case was won against Bet365, the worlds biggest bookmaker.

The case was initiated by members of a WhatsApp group called ‘CaravacaPicks’ after many of their accounts were closed or limited due to being consistently profitable. The group, started by 8 friends from the Spanish region of Murcia, started gaining new members and quickly hit 50 members when word of their profitability spread. The increase in members and sustained profitability meant Bet365 were taking larger and larger losses from members of this group.

So they took action, citing the following clause ‘4.2 – bet365 reserves the right to close or suspend your account at any time and for any reason.’

A judge ruled that the UK-owned Bet365 bookmaker has terms that are abusive and ordered a reversal of the limiting actions taken by the bookmaker. Read about their full battle here – (In Spanish)

With this precedent and more word of successful fights against bookmakers, it opens the door for more people to push back against unfair bookmaker practises.

How We’re Fighting Them

After years of being limited by bookmakers and having to try and tactically avoid bookmaker restrictions and betting account limits, we were a bit fed up. That’s why we are writing this article, and why we are pushing back.

Firstly, WinnerOdds creator and co-writer at The Value Betting Blog, Miguel Figueres, started a petition – with relative success, yielding 1421 signatures.

Miguel then took it to the next level, filing lawsuits against seven different bookmakers. All for the closing or limiting of accounts. Due to court proceedings they cannot be named right now, we will be doing a write up as they develop.

A recent lawsuit filed by Miguel against 888sport for a separate matter has also just been won. Two bets placed on a Federer/Khachanov match were arbitrarily cancelled, the payout would have been €1500. The judgement forced 888sport to payout the full amount, just this week the €1500 was paid out in full + lawyer fees – Here is the full article on that.

The growing betting industry and snowballing brazenness of bookmakers to clamp down on winners has led to a wider voice for bettors:

The BBC covered a case back in 2015
The ABC launched an investigative report last year
The Daily Mail took aim at the Bet365 boss

One of the most dedicated voices comes from the website, https://justiceforpunters.org, who encourage bettors to share stories of unfair treatment by bookmakers.

The tide is turning.

What You Can Do

Firstly, argue. While rare, there are times you can get restrictions overturned. Maybe they made an error in limiting you, maybe they just don’t want to deal with your moaning, or maybe they fear a lawsuit. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Next, record what they tell you, what are their reasons and why do they believe they are taking warranted action. Get it on record, as we start to gain traction in our cases against account limits, all their arbitrary restrictions could become useful.

If you have a legitimate gripe with an unlawful action taken by a bookmaker, let us know. Either by email, Twitter or in the comments below. We may be able to feature you on this website.

Lastly, and shamelessly…

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