Some gamblers think the idea of getting their account closed down or severely limited by a bookmaker is a badge of honour but for me, it simply highlights how unfair this game actually is.
For those of you that haven't been banned, it's pretty simple. If your account shows a decent profit, it will end up on the bookmaker's radar. Once that happens, they will check you out and monitor your bets. If you continue to win money, they will no longer accept bets from you or else 'limit your account' which means the size of the bets you can place are, say, less than a fiver or tenner on the favourite.
Some friends of mine which I'd describe as 'casual punters' are often astonished at this. They are the type of punter the bookmaker loves - a tenner here on a horse, a fiver there on a match. Fun punters who are never really up in the long term, bar the odd lucky win. But if you happen to put in a bit of graft and earn a few quid, watch out.
Bet365 are the latest bookie to knock me back - or Bet €3.65 I should say as that's about as much as I can get on with them these days. Here's an email they sent me a couple of weeks ago:
When they say that their services are still available to me, that's actually a joke. They didn't want to say I was banned I guess as it's bad for the image but as an example, here's what happens when I try to back a horse at 50/1:
Call themselves layers? I say they should grow a pair.
On a horse priced 5/4, they'll let me have as much as €10.80
I miss the old style layers who used to bet their opinion (rather than following the exchanges) and would take a risk. Not too many of them left sadly. The good ones would use their winning customers to mark their cards so in some parts, such customers were welcome.
I'm singling out Bet365 here as they are the latest to limit my account but it's across the board as anyone who tries to get more than a hundred quid on anything will tell you. Again, if anyone thinks that this is some kind of boast, it's certainly not. I've had long term losing accounts which were limited after a string of wins over the space of a week.
Fair enough, bookmakers are businesses and they have to limit risk. I understand all that. But I hate when I hear them try to justify this behaviour by telling us that they simply like to have casual punters which like to have a fun bet. That's their market, they say. Oh really? Well, I know a man who lost over €30K with an Irish bookmaker and never got a tap on the shoulder to tell him to stop. It's pretty much ruined his life. If it were a level playing field, both the big winners plus the big losers would get their stakes limited.
It's the double standards that annoy me. If they are only interested in fun punters who bet a fiver or a tenner on a Saturday, that's fair enough but that's not the case. They also want the poor ba***rd that loses his wages every week and goes home to the missus empty handed. In short, they want it both ways and they have it both ways.
By the way, the total I won with Bet365 was in the region of €950 (over the space of one month). While just under a grand is a lot of money in any man's language, it's hardly JP McManus stuff now is it?
As I say, it's not just Bet365, they all do it. I've had accounts shut down over a few hundred euro, it's not always big money. And yet these same firms go and complain that the exchanges have ruined the industry! A funny bunch, the lot of them.
Anyway, life's too short to complain too much so I'll leave it there. Have a good weekend everyone.
Wayne's book Sports Trading on Betfair is out now: