Being ‘gubbed’ in matched betting: Everything you need to know about account restrictions
As you work your way through the offers given out by the majority of UK bookmakers, you’ll quickly discover that they really don’t like losing. And betting account restrictions are popular. As a matched bettor, you’re not their favourite type of person. Why? Because you’re using their free bets against them (or, at least, that’s what they think).
Bookies are used to being the only winners and when that’s not the case, they take steps to turn things back in their favour…The most extreme action they can take, is to close your account and ban you from placing bets. If this happens, your account is useless and you’ve unfortunately lost one of your money-making avenues. Other – less final – steps bookies often take include limiting the size of the bet you can place (your stake) or banning you from taking part in promotions.
What are betting account restrictions?
And what does a restricted account mean for your matched betting activity? A restricted account can make it harder for you to reach your target profits as you’ll either only be able to stake small amounts or you’ll no longer receive any freebies at all. This can be a major roadblock for matched betting, as free bets are our main source of income.
However, don’t worry if you have restricted accounts: there are still ways to do matched betting without free bets.
Why do betting account restrictions happen?
There are lots of theories about how bookmakers make the decision to restrict accounts. Let’s take a look at one: when you sign up to a bookie, you’re given a rating between 0 and 100 (0 meaning you have no chance of being gubbed and 100 meaning you’re banned from promotional offers). Based on your betting activity, this rating can go up and down. Although once it reaches the top, there’s no going back.
Bookmakers employ traders to look for patterns of behaviour which DON’T follow those of the ‘normal punter’. If they decide that’s you, they’ll notify the bookmaker, who’ll make a decision. Unfortunately, the bookmaker’s decision is usually final, so it’s best to try and look after your accounts from the off.
What does it mean to be ‘gubbed’?
If you’re a member of a matched betting forum, like OddsMonkey’s Community, you might see the word ‘gubbed’ flying around. Sounds painful…but what does it mean? This is just another way of saying ‘restricted’ or ‘limited’.
Gubbings are placed on sports betting accounts. This means that you’ll normally still be able to take part in casino games and bingo offers with that same bookmaker. Betting exchanges, like Betfair and Smarkets, rarely gub – although it’s worth keeping an eye on your Betfair Sportsbook account.
How will I know I’ve been restricted?
Sometimes you won’t know anything’s changed until you go to put a bet on and find out that you can’t. Confirm via live chat, if you’re in any doubt.
Usually though, you’ll receive an email, telling you that you’ll no longer be able to take part in promotions or offers. Spoil sports! The content of the email will vary from bookie to bookie.
It’s important to note that if your account has been restricted, you should be able to withdraw any funds you have in there. Your money should not be in danger.
There have been a couple of instances where lesser-known bookies have folded and customers have lost money. This is why it’s super important to research a bookmaker and make sure you’re comfortable depositing with them before you do.
Is there anything I can do to lift the restrictions?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal you can do if you are gubbed, other than take it on the chin. There’ve been a few times where people have logged into their account, months after receiving their ban, and the account has been “ungubbed”. But this is extremely rare and not something you should bet on. Pardon the pun…
Remember, you’re usually still eligible for all other bonuses from the bookmaker. It’s normally just the sportsbook side of things.
Top tips to avoid being gubbed
Stick to what you know
Stick to well-known or high-profile events. Premier League, Champions League, Masters Golf, Grand National. (Remember – that obscure Russian 2nd Division football match with the team’s whose names you can’t pronounce may just catch the bookmaker’s eye.
Try mug betting
Where matched betting relies on bookies’ promotional offers, mug betting doesn’t. Instead, mug bets are made on selections without using free bets or bonus. However, the matched betting process is still used, so back and lay bets are still placed. The aim is to imitate a regular bettor and their betting pattern.
Mug bets are placed at low odds or on selections where the back odds are closely matched to the lay price at the betting exchange. Another example of mug betting is backing and laying a particular football team to win every time they play. This makes it look like you’re betting on your team. Remember: always lay a mug bet off.
You stand to make a small loss by doing this, but you’ll be making your account look more like that of a mug punter, which is really who the bookies want as customers.
Change things up
Don’t always bet the lowest qualifying amount. Notorious gubber, BetVictor, offers a ‘£30 free bet when you place your first £10 bet’. As matched bettors, we’d usually deposit and bet £10 to get our £30 free bet. However, information suggests this could spark a trigger with this particular bookmaker. By depositing and betting a different amount – maybe £20 or £30 – we might be able to stay under the radar and keep our account from suspicion.
Timing is everything
Try and place your qualifying bets on the day of the offer, ideally just before the event starts. This helps give the impression that you’ve just found the offer and it wasn’t on a ‘to do’ list.
Put yourself about a bit
Use other parts of the bookmaker’s site. A few spins in a casino or playing bingo using a small amount of your profit will go a long way to convincing them you are a genuine customer.
Don’t bet odd amounts
If you’re dutching and the stake is £28.56, round it to the nearest pound or even the nearest £5 to be safe. This isn’t necessary on the betting exchanges but can stand out at the bookmakers.
Keep a( )float
If you don’t need to withdraw funds, just leave the money in the bookie account. This is obviously based upon personal circumstances, but withdrawing sometimes draws attention, putting your activity under scrutiny.
Always think, ‘what would a bookmaker think of this bet’? For instance, always betting on the closest match might draw attention to a betting pattern. Maybe look for a match lower down on the OddsMatcher at times.
Be aware though, that no matter what theories you believe or advice you choose to follow, there’ll be times when it looks like you’ve been gubbed for no reason at all. The truth is, some bookies seem to restrict accounts without there being an obvious or plausible explanation. Current examples of bookmakers that can be extremely quick to hit with the gubbing stick are Stan James and Boylesports.
Remember: even if you’re super careful, you might still see your accounts restricted. Sometimes, there’s no rhyme nor reason to gubbings.