High Street Bookmakers: Winners Need Not Apply

Interested in Online Betting? Winners Need Not Apply: This is the REAL Ladbrokes Life

Post by: Anonymous Contributor

What is it like to actually win money consistently from online bookmakers? Obviously, it is a thrilling experience but if you think that bookies don’t play fair; you don’t know the half of it! I recall watching a documentary called ‘The Gambler’ about an Irish punter named John O’ Shea. He used to be an accountant but ditched his steady job to enter the exciting and risky world of high stakes poker.

John also liked to bet big money on football matches, and while he often came up trumps, there were days where he lost five and even six figure sums. According to John, only about 3% of gamblers are ever likely to make a decent enough profit to live on. From my experience, that figure sounds about right. Therefore, you would think the bookies would be happy to let that slide since they win from the other 97%… right? WRONG!

Taking Their Ball & Going Home

Sadly, online bookmakers are ALLOWED to restrict punters that show signs of not being a complete mug. If you have any interest in sports betting, you’ll probably be aware of the infuriating ‘lads’ culture that surrounds gambling. The ideal punter from a bookmaker’s perspective looks something like this:

  • A casual punter who likes the odd ‘flutter’ on major events like the World Cup or the Grand National.
  • Someone who doesn’t bother researching and ‘goes with their gut’ (incredibly, Ladbroke has an advert ‘celebrating’ this type of person).
  • People that place 6+ team ‘accas’ (a betting term which means accumulator – more on that below).
  • People that do accas in the pub with their mates on their mobile phones.
  • Punters that stick to the ‘popular’ football leagues because the bookmakers have these markets nailed down.

I quickly learned that they don’t like people who research, bet off the beaten track and generally know what they’re doing.

The Accumulator – The Calling Card of the Loser

I first dabbled in sports betting many years ago and began with the usual 5+ team acca which usually got me nowhere. I do remember winning £270 from £5 when a 7-team accumulator came in one weekend but overall, the bookies were well ‘up’ against me. Why do they love the ‘acca’ so much?

The famed accumulator is simply a bet whereby you place a wager on several different outcomes; it is common for punters to bet on 6 teams to win their respective matches for example. Every single one of them must win for you to collect. Punters are tempted by the seemingly astronomical odds on offer, but in reality, they are backing a loser from the get-go. You see, bookmakers absolutely kill the punter due to the ‘overround,’ another term for their mathematical edge.

The above is a screenshot of a random football game I chose to show the power of the overround. When we divide all the odds by 100, we end up with the mathematical probability of winning:

  • Heesseler: 100/3.25 = 30.77%
  • Draw: 100/4 = 25%
  • HSC Hannover: 100/1.8 = 55.5%

Add up the three percentages, and you get 110.55%. In other words, the bookmakers will make a profit of 10.55% on this game if punters bet evenly on all three outcomes. What do you think this edge looks like in a multi-team accumulator? The overrounds are multiplied along with the odds. Imagine a 10% edge per match on a 7-team accumulator? I will save you the trouble; the bookies have a 94.8% edge! I think the term you’re looking for is easy money!

What’s Your Point?

The average punter is hopelessly overmatched when up against the corporate machine of online bookmakers yet they are still not happy. In the incredibly rare event that a punter consistently makes a profit, bookmakers respond by restricting stakes, suspending an account or closing it altogether.

I learned this the hard way. After finally learning how to beat the bookies, I started to win significant sums of money. Without going into specifics, my profits are in the five figure range per year for the last couple of years. I simply avoided accas like the plague and focused on football games that were away from the well-known leagues. It turns out that bookmakers don’t do a good job with mismatches.

Anyway, I was faring extremely well then suddenly; I found that I could only bet pennies per match. After a curt discussion with Sporting Bet’s less than helpful customer service team, I was informed that the ‘trader made the decision,’ but they wouldn’t tell me why I was banned. Of course, I knew why. Other bookmakers followed suit: Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Coral, William Hill and more; 11 in total to date. Each and every time, my wings were clipped with no warning or reason given.

Deep within their Terms & Conditions lays a rule that they can close or restrict your account at any time for any reason. The chances that the British Government (or any other one to be fair) will do something about it are slim at best. In simple terms, bookmakers are allowed to prevent winning punters from betting but can take as much money as they like from losers. We have to risk our money, but they don’t have to risk anything because they can eliminate any perceived threat. It’s a fantastic business model if you can get away with it I suppose.

Oops – Our Mistake

Yet another way that bookies weasel their way out of paying up is by claiming they made a ‘mistake’; also known as a palpable error. Again, their terms and conditions cover their asses by ensuring they can void any bet they believe was made in error. So if you win big and they decide they don’t want to pay, they don’t have to. Back in 2009, Cliff Bryant walked into a Ladbrokes shop and placed two very speculative accumulators. To his disbelief, they both won, and he was owed over £7 million. Guess what? Ladbrokes refused to pay up because apparently, Cliff shouldn’t have been allowed to place the bet. Yet he did, and they offered him £31.78.

In Conclusion…

By all means, do your research, place your bets and win some money but if you are consistently successful, don’t expect to last long with any single betting site. They will ban and limit you for having the cheek to win, and some will even welch on the bets.

And for heaven’s sake, stay away from accumulators!

If you believe it is a disgrace that bookmakers can get away with some of these shenanigans, consider lending your voice to the few people that fight on the punter’s behalf. One excellent site is www.justiceforpunters.org; it highlights the abuses perpetrated by bookmakers and offers to help on your behalf in certain cases.