One of the big issues that has plagued successful sports bettors throughout Europe over the years is having their stake sizes significantly limited, or even having their accounts closed as a result of winning too much. It appears that this phenomenon has now made its way to the United States since sports betting was legalized in May 2018.
Background to this policy
Despite what their advertisements may suggest, sports betting operators are in the business of being profitable.
They don’t really want their players to consistently win significant sums from their sports bets in the long run. The saying goes that the house always wins in the end and this isn’t something that happens by accident.
The odds are ever stacked in favor of the casino or sportsbook, but there are some people who can swing the odds towards their favor as a result of having more information than these operators or by having successful strategies.
Card-counting in blackjack was a strategy that was used successfully by many gamblers over the years to win tens of millions of dollars. However, it is not allowed in most casinos because it gives the counters too much of an edge.
While it isn’t illegal under respective state or federal laws and it is not considered to be cheating, casinos hold the right to refuse service to anybody they want on their premises. This helps to swing the edge back into their favor.
Sports betting is similar in the way that it curtails winning players stakes after they have demonstrated that they have won significant sums over the course of time. They could have their potential stake size shrunk to mere pennies after one too many big wins.
People will point towards cases of sports bettors winning big off an accumulator in the UK, sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, these accumulators are one of the sportsbooks’ most profitable markets and the occasional big win is significantly outstripped by the losing stakes that they garner.
When on occasion someone strikes it big with a 12-team accumulator, it is pushed and promoted by the bookmaker as it is a great marketing ploy for them. They try to entice other people to start placing these long-shot accumulators with the promise that if someone else won big, they could too.
Therefore, people should be under no illusion that sportsbooks are in the business of making money.
US seeing similar sports betting trends
While this has been a significant issue in the UK and throughout Europe for some years now, it seems that the recently legalized US sports betting sector is set to have similar issues.
Some may write it off as being an inconsequential problem, as only a select few people are affected. However, research has shown that as many as 50,000 people’s accounts have been shut down over the last few years, with probably the same number again being heavily restricted.
The decision to do this is seen as an economic strategy by the operators themselves. It has been a practice in Las Vegas for many years, as there is nothing illegal about it. However, states that recently legalized sports betting following the end of the federal ban such as New Jersey have seen these issues start to arise.
Talking to ESPN about this issue, the Justice for Partners in the UK founder Brian Chappell said: “Americans should be worried. It’s coming.”
One of the big concerns that American punters have is not that the number of bans or stake limits is being increased, but that the reason for these decisions is becoming even fuzzier. Many think that if you in any way bet in an intelligent manner, you will soon be banned.
There is a chance that with prominent European bookmakers getting involved in the burgeoning US market that they are bringing these practices with them. ESPN talked with 20 different bettors who had previously received bans from sportsbooks in Nevada, with a couple also having been banned in the new sportsbooks operating in New Jersey.
Investigations are being conducted with regards to the New Jersey matter. It is one of the few states where gambling operators cannot refuse bets from punters who just utilize skill. This pertains to a Supreme Court decision of 1982. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is in charge of the investigation.
This growing trend has been put down to the increase of online gambling, which makes it a lot easier for the operators to analyse their punters’ betting patterns.
There was also a big shift in the bookmaking market in the UK around 2007 when the corporate bookmakers acquired a lot of the independent bookmakers across the region, which made the industry a lot more consolidated.
This is certainly an issue that will be closely watched by successful sports bettors across the US, as well as by the authorities in states like New Jersey.