Limits and Account Closures Pt 2
- The TopTrap Greyhound Profit And Loss Account On Betfair - March 17, 2022
- Betfair Best Execution – 11 Requested & Filled At 320 - January 16, 2022
- BTB System e-book - March 13, 2015
This article was written in 2010 and some parts of it may now be rather dated. I am leaving it on the site because it contains some useful information.
What to do once limits appear
At some point you will start to question whether it is worth carrying on with arbing due to limits. I’m assuming here that you have used all the “easy” signups – the ones that don’t have big WRs and that are in your own currency (in my case this was GBP), and if you have a partner, you’ve done the “partner friendly” bookies for them too. Everyone is different, and what you do next will depend on your temperament, your attitude to risk, what you like to bet on and how much time you have. It will also depend a bit on how much you are wanting to earn and what you have already done.
1. Making the best of what you have (this is what I did). This suits people with plenty of time to arb, a degree of patience and a willingness to add up lots of very small wins to make an acceptable total. I carried on using my severely limited accounts, backing them up with phone betting where bigger limits are often allowed, but sticking to betting in GBP only (after one experiment with Euros, which I didnt enjoy). As my accounts became more and more limited (VC, Ladbrokes, William Hill and several smaller ones closed me completely) , I brought back online ones I thought I would never use again – a £100 win betinternet, a 1% Skybet, a £30 win Bet365 and Interwetten with their £20, £30 and £70 limits on football. At low odds these would still allow me decent stakes, and these were backed up for a while by a £100 win SJ, Coral, which has variable limits depending on the race concerned, and Centrebet, where every bet went to trader (which can be quite alarming). Waiting for traders is risky (as is betting on the phone) unless there is a large amount of lay money available, and some people may prefer to stick to bookies with a max bet clearly shown on the betslip. I managed to use this strategy, with decreasing limits and further accounts being zeroed, for over a year before things finally fell apart. My earnings during that final year were about 1/3 of the previous 3 years annual totals, which had been reasonably constant to that point.
Tip: most bookies limit to a particular win amount eg £100. To avoid being sent to trader, work out what you were allowed last time and submit a stake to win that amount (eg £10 at 11.0 for £100 win). Note – this doesn’t apply at Centrebet which appears to have random limits on individual horses, races and days.
2. Exploring other bookies. This suits those who are willing to try slightly more risky bookies, such as those with the bigger wager requirements which may do reload offers and some of the more obscure bookies as well as ones not in your own currency. You can try dutching between US bookies – their tendency towards handicap and asian handicap markets lends itself well to this (but if you are doing a WR make sure these bets count). You might also wish to try some other sports such as baseball, NFL etc, which open up more opportunities from US facing bookies, although you need to be aware of the rules at each particular bookie. Some of the US bookies will allow you bigger stakes for longer, although all will eventually limit arbers. Many also do reload offers, although the WRs tend to be large. With any foreign bookie there are potential pitfalls such as currency fluctuations and conversion charges, and with any bookie with a large WR there is always the niggling doubt that you may be limited before you have completed it. The more obscure or lower rated bookies also carry some risk that they will not pay out or may go out of business and you may lose your money. The more risks you are prepared to take, the more money you will probably make, but you might have to write off some of your profit if things turn against you. Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered with this – my interest lies mainly in horses, and although most US bookies and many European ones have “racebooks”, with very very few exceptions they are tote odds only and therefore useless for arbing.
3. Using other people’s accounts. This is known as “gnoming”, and is what most pro arbers do to maintain accounts at the sort of stake sizes required. I didn’t really want to write about this, as it is bordering on fraud – you are certainly breaking the bookies T&Cs and also those of the bank if you use someone else’s account. For my own purposes I will not entertain it (as several people who have tried to persuade me to do it will testify) , but since it is becoming more common knowledge that this goes on, I feel I should at least provide enough information to prevent you from being instantly detected by the bookies, with possibly expensive results.
WARNING – I believe that this is risky, not from the point of view of being discovered by the bookies, but more from unknown future implications should you be discovered by either the tax authorities (and deemed to be running a business) or those dealing with fraud. From a personal point of view, my take on this is that using someone else’s ID (even with their knowledge and approval) in order to open bookie accounts to earn yourself money is at least dishonest and at worst fraudulent and as such I will not do it. The worst case scenario could be backdated tax with interest, a very hefty fine or possibly a prison sentence. Plenty of people disagree with me and think my views are ridiculous.
Disclaimer – All advice in this section is given in order to prevent elementary, expensive mistakes. It should not be interpreted as either advising you to do this or implying that it is safe. I hope merely to provide you with enough information to make an informed decision for yourself.
Please do not attempt to use a bank account or ID for a person who is on state benefits. If money is discovered in their account or linked to their name they will lose their benefits and may be prosecuted for benefit fraud.
Discovery of duplicate accounts or using other people’s accounts is likely to result in instant closure of the account. Bookies can and do void bets and return only your deposit. Some bookies keep the deposit as well. They will cite their T&Cs as covering them for this behaviour. There have been recent cases of this at Betway and Unibet among others. if you are going to use other people’s accounts it is important not to be discovered.
How you choose your IDs is up to you. You need someone who is prepared to supply you with the minimum of a full name, address, date of birth, passport or other photo ID, recent bank statements and recent utility bills. You will need a phone number, and can expect some bookies to telephone (it is not beyond some bookies to look up the ID’s landline number if a mobile number is supplied). You need to be absolutely certain that the person has not used the bookies before, or if they have, that they have told you which ones they have used, and that this information is reliable. Bookies will check the electoral roll – you will have fewer problems if your ID person can be found on it.
Many people who do this give their ID a cash gift for the use of their accounts. I suspect that most are completely unaware of the inheritance tax implications if they should die within 7 years:
“Small gifts: You can make small gifts up to the value of £250 to as many people as you like in any one tax year. However, you can’t give a larger sum and claim exemption for the first £250. You can’t use your small gifts allowance together with any other exemption when giving to the same person.”
Along the same lines, remember that if your ID dies all the bank accounts in their name will be locked pending probate, and you will not be able to get at the money. You will have the devil of a job proving that it belongs to you.
If you decide to use someone else’s bank account details, you risk them applying to the bank for a cheque book and walking off with any money in the bank. I know of at least one case where this happened. Considerable trust is required. You can use moneybookers instead as this requires only an email address which the person need not know. Some bookies do not take moneybookers and others do not give free bets for moneybookers deposits, but it is undoubtedly a safer option. [Note that this may no longer be the case. There have been reports of Moneybookers (now Skrill) locking accounts when gnoming was suspected.]
NEVER try to fund an account in someone else’s name using your own card or moneybookers account (or your own account using someone else’s funding method). This will result in no end of problems and could be extremely expensive. Payment methods must always belong to the person in whose name the bookie account is registered.
The best way to avoid discovery by the bookies is to have a completely separate computer for each ID. (You will also need a good memory so that you don’t muddle them up or enter the wrong details by mistake – use something like roboform to help you). Simply cleaning cookies and changing IP address is not enough. This is a deadly serious matter for bookmakers, who know gnoming goes on and are at pains to stop it as it costs them a fortune. They will plant things like iesnare (flash cookies) on your computer to identify it, and possibly even record its details. You can clean the computer up and use a virtual machine (don’t ask me about these – I know of their existence but otherwise nothing about them) but it is much safer to use a completely clean, new computer.
It goes without saying that you should change IP address. For dynamic IPs this is usually achieved by unplugging the router for a few minutes. You can check your IP before and after at sites like www.whatismyip.com to make sure that it has in fact changed. To change your IP if you have cable you need to know the mac address and be able to change it via the router setup. If you are using a mobile dongle you should be aware that the mobile companies have a very limited supply of IP addresses (possibly in single figures) and you may well soon find that you get ones you have used before (this can also apply to some of the smaller ISPs). I would definitely not recommend doing signups on a mobile dongle, although once you are signed up you will probably be ok to arb on it. If you are considering changing your ISP be careful not to opt for a static IP address.
I can’t think of anything else. Bear in mind that I have not done this myself, although I know people who have. To me the pitfalls are obvious, the hassle is considerable and I know that I am basically too honest a person to cope with dealing with the inevitable occasional phone calls by pretending to be someone else. I would trip myself up repeatedly and I don’t even want to consider it. I would urge anyone wanting to do this to at least think about the reservations that I have about it, and ask yourself if it really is worth it. For you it might be, for me definitely not.
You could always do what I have done and try trading instead.
In 2021 TradeHost traded 7,937 Betfair UK, IE, US & AU horse racing and greyhound markets.
2022 saw TradeHost become even more profitable with 22,698 Betfair markets traded.