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Why Is My Betting Account Limited? | How to Avoid Being Restricted in South Africa

There are many reasons why an online betting site in South Africa might choose to limit or close your betting account, but it's usually because you’re playing smarter than the average punter. Other red flags for bookmakers can be that you're doing something illegal like using a fraudulent name or address.

It's always important to remember that every bookmaker is a for-profit company, and if you consistently make money from betting, you aren't good for business. Sometimes you don't even need to be profitable to have your account closed or limited. Beating the closing line, even if you lose money, is sometimes enough to have your account restricted in South Africa. But we'll get onto that topic a bit later.

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Here's the bottom line: If you’re a profitable bettor in the long-term then account limits and closures from bookies are likely. But that doesn’t mean there aren't things you can do to help prevent this from happening. 

Aside from some fraud-related matters that also apply to casino betting, most punters who have their accounts limited or closed in South Africa are sports bettors. Why?

Because, unlike sports betting, it's much easier for bookmakers to control the variables when it comes to casino products like Live Games and Slots, which ensures they make a continuous profit no matter who is playing.

Read our in-depth article on why your betting account might be closed or limited, plus steps you can take to avoid being restricted by bookmakers in South Africa.

Are bookmakers in South Africa allowed to close or limit your account?

Yes. Unfortunately for betting customers in South Africa and the rest of the world, bookies are under no obligation to allow you to bet with them. Even if there is nothing illegal about the way you bet or how you win, bookmakers just like any other company, are entitled to refuse your money or refrain from providing their service to you at any stage. 

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What some punters forget is that bookmakers being able to close or restrict betting accounts at their discretion forms part of the terms and conditions that every player agrees to during registration. And trust me, there are no exceptions! 

But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom for punters who want to make some money from sports betting. You just need to think a bit smarter than the average Joe!

Before we offer you some tips on how you can help prevent bookies from shutting you down, let's look at some of the possible reasons your betting account may have been closed or limited by your bookmaker:

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1️⃣ You win more than you lose

Sounds obvious, right? Being a profitable punter is the number one reason why betting accounts are limited, and it's really that simple! But what exactly do we mean by profitable? 

If you win a ton of money one day and then lose for the next three weeks, you aren't considered a threat by any bookmaker. On the other hand, punters who find a way to consistently make a profit from betting can easily find their accounts being limited or closed all of a sudden. 

Bookmakers have systems to help them quickly see whether you're in the red or the green as a customer. If you're still in profit after betting with them for a while, you might not be a customer they want to keep around.

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2️⃣ Fraud and bonus abuse

We mentioned this point earlier and it goes for both casino players and sports bettors. If you are found to have provided false personal information to try and get extra free bets, free spins or any kind of bonus or promotion, your account might be closed. 

The same can happen if you mask your IP address to illegally access and use your betting account from another country or jurisdiction not licensed by the operator.

3️⃣ Beating the closing line

Believe it or not, you don't necessarily need to win for your betting account to be shut down. If a bookmaker can see you're consistently ahead of the market and betting on odds that get shorter over time, you might be seen as a threat. 

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Even if you aren't using any special information or betting software, bookies don't like customers with a knack for predicting how the markets will move. This is called "Beating the closing line", and it's a warning sign that you could be a profitable punter now or in the future. 

4️⃣ Arbitrage Betting

When someone bets on all possible outcomes of a betting market to guarantee a profit, this is called arbitrage betting. Punters take these opposing bets at different bookies where the odds are favourable. One side is always guaranteed to lose in arbitrage betting, so most bookies don't like accepting these kinds of bets from punters because the risks are too high. 

So when a bookmaker suspects that you're placing a bet only so you can back the other side on another betting site and win money regardless of the outcome, they often limit or close your account. 

5️⃣ Jumping on a bookie's mistake

There are thousands of matches and markets posted by bookmakers every day, so technical and human errors are inevitable. Sometimes fractional odds will be displayed inversely or the odds and markets will get mixed up with one another. If you bet in these situations, there's always the chance your account could be closed. 

As a rule, it's never worth taking advantage of a technical or human error because bookmakers will seldom pay out and you'll show yourself to be "a chancer". Technical and human errors are another thing all bookies are protected from in their terms and conditions and the chances of profiting from one as a punter are very slim. 

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6️⃣ Suspicious games and match-fixing

The people responsible for trading at bookmakers are always on the lookout for suspicious betting patterns. If there is suddenly a huge amount of money bet on an event where the volume is normally much smaller, the bookmakers want to know why. 

Match-fixing is a reality in sport and betting syndicates have been known to bribe players or referees to get the outcomes they want. If you bet on a match that goes under investigation for match-fixing or suspicious betting there is a good chance your account will be closed for good. Especially if you bet a lot more than your average stake, which indicates you were probably aware the match was not clean.

Now that we've given you some possible reasons as to why your betting account might've been closed or restricted, here are some measures you can take to help prevent this from happening in South Africa: 

💡 Don't bet strange amounts 

Arbitrage bettors often wager very specific amounts (R117 or R534) to ensure they cover their full liability on one side and maximise their profit. So it's never a good idea to place bets of strange amounts or eyebrows might be raised. To avoid being suspected as an arbitrage bettor, use round stakes like R10, R20, R50, R100, R200, R500 or R1000 at a time but avoid betting an odd amount of money.  

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💡 Spread your bets

If you're taking big bets, split your stakes between as many bookies as possible, even if it means losing out a little on the odds. It's tempting to put all your money down on the best price, but this can be detrimental to your longevity as a customer. Splitting your stakes means your big wins will be divided between a few bookies and hopefully won't draw too much attention.

💡 Mix up mug bets with your sharp bets

If there's a sport or market that you consistently beat the bookmaker on, don't just bet on these every time, especially with the same bookmaker. Most profitable punters place single bets, but bookies love it when customers take multibets because they have a high margin and often lose. 

To avoid detection as a smart punter, mix up sharp bets on your specialised sport with typical bets that most punters make. Take the odd multibet and also bet on a sport you normally wouldn't. If you can make your account look like that of somebody who doesn't know what they're doing, you've got a better chance of it staying open. 

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💡 Don't make too many withdrawals

Bookies don't like it when you cash in for a few reasons. In most instances, it costs the bookmaker money to process your withdrawal. Secondly, the chances of them winning back the money after you've made a withdrawal are much less. 

Of course, you want to withdraw your money eventually, but you can trick the bookies into believing they can still get their money back by holding off a while.  

💡 Don't abuse bonuses

If you only deposit the minimum to qualify for a bonus or only play with bonuses and don't deposit at all, your account might be closed down. You can avoid being flagged as a bonus abuser by depositing more than is required for the free bet or deposit bonus. Also, try to make deposits when there is no bonus to be claimed at all.  

💡 Have multiple bookmaker accounts

Having multiple betting accounts is probably your best weapon in the fight against being restricted as a punter. As we mentioned earlier, having more than one account lets you spread your bets so your stakes are smaller. But using multiple betting sites also means you can shop around for the best odds, promotions, features and more. 

If you've read this far you can probably see that avoiding account restriction or closure is a game of cat and mouse game between punter and bookmaker.

It's not easy getting this right if you're a profitable punter, but there are many things we've mentioned you can do (and avoid doing), that will help prevent your account from being closed or restricted. Good luck! 

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For more about online sports betting, casino games and lotteries in South Africa, visit the Betting Guide homepage to find bookmaker reviews, promotions, betting tips and more.

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