Matched betting can be an incredible money-making machine. You’re guaranteed profits and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end.
In our case, that’s with the dreaded gubbing followed by the even more depressing restriction. This guide explains what these terms mean and whether you should care about them or not. Importantly, I also provide 20 strategies to extend the life of your betting accounts.
Check out the table of contents below for an overview of all 20 strategies.
What is being ‘gubbed’?
If you’re new to matched betting, this is going to be a completely new concept for you. You’re going to hear two key terms that you need to understand:
Gubbing – This is specifically being made ineligible for bonus promotions and earning free bets.
Restrictions – This normally refers to both being bonus restricted (gubbed) and stake restricted where they reduce the amount of money you can place on a bet.
That means a bookmaker has the ability to decide whether you’re offered any promotions, whether you can bet a certain amount or even if you’re allowed to bet with them at all.
But why would they restrict you?
This is simply a business decision where bookmakers have only one priority – making money. As a matched bettor, you’re generally not a profitable customer for bookies because you’re taking good odds and receiving a lot of free bets. Instead, they prefer people who bet regularly with poor value ($$$). We call these people mug punters.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about any restrictions at the Betfair Exchange – Here’s our full guide to that.
Should I worry about being ‘gubbed’?
This has been a complex question ever since matched betting has existed. Is it worth doing anything to reduce the risk of being gubbed?
Firstly, let me tell you that receiving a gubbing is inevitable. You’ll never be able to stop them catching up with you eventually. The only real escape is if you’re primarily a normal gambler but do a bit of matched betting on the side. That makes you a profitable customer and often not a profitable individual.
However, it is definitely possible to extend the life of your betting accounts by trying to look like a normal gambler. These 20 strategies all try and do this in some small way.
It then becomes a trade-off between time, risk and profit:
- If you focus purely on matched bets and hammer them very quickly, you’ll earn big money quickly over a few months but then earn very little after that.
- If you focus on maintaining your accounts, you’ll earn your profits much more slowly and spend more time but earn more in total.
Which approach should you take? That depends on what you want out of matched betting. It’s a personal choice.
I normally find myself somewhere in the middle trying to find a ‘Goldilocks zone’ using the strategies found in this guide.
20 strategies to avoid being gubbed
I’m proud to say that this is the most extensive gubbing strategy guide on the internet. 20 strategies you can implement for your matched betting today.
However, that can all be a little overwhelming. Especially if you’re new to the matched betting scene.
To help you, I give either a High, Medium and Low impact rating for each strategy. You should always look to implement all the high strategies before moving on to any others.
Quick Note: Nobody actually knows how bookmakers decide which accounts to gub and when. These strategies are all drawn from my experience and from speaking to other matched bettors. I have high confidence that these strategies work, though it’s impossible to know exactly which ones work and which don’t with different bookmakers.
Start Mug Betting
The basics of gub avoidance strategy. Simply put, make yourself look like a mug punter.
This means adding in other bets that don’t involve earning a bonus. This normally takes the form of betting on your favourite team or the big sporting events happening each week. Mug betting has two distinct camps of people:
- Matched Mugs: This is where you match all your mug bets with the opposite bets on the exchange (or with another bookie). You’ll expect to lose around 5% of your stake each time you place a mug bet.
- No Lay Mugs: Mathematics dictates that you’ll lose less money when taking an approach where you gamble with your mug bets. That’s a little counter-intuitive but it works because you’re not having to pay any commission at the exchange. The downside is that there is far more variance with this approach. If you’re unlucky you could wipe out your matched betting profits.
The general consensus is that you should be placing a mug bet for every bonus bet you place. This costs quite a bit of time and money to follow consistently, so I generally mug bet once for every 2-3 bonus bets I place. It’s a tight balance between risking your accounts and making more money.
Some of the other strategies in this guide rely on you mug betting, so this is where to start!
Don’t always take the best matches
An important concept to understand is that the Betfair Exchange offers the most accurate representation of the real odds of a certain event. Bookmakers have pivoted their business model to primarily follow the exchange odds and rely on the market to dictate what odds they should offer.
Why does this matter?
Because this means that the closer the bookmaker odds are to the exchange odds, the less profit margin the bookmaker has. If you’re always taking really close matches with the exchange, you’re simply a less profitable customer.
My suggested tolerance refers to anything closer than 5% loss with qualifiers and anything higher than 80% return with bonus bets.
The bookmakers have sophisticated systems that know exactly what the odds were everywhere else when you placed your bet. It doesn’t take a genius to use this as a metric for how savvy you are as a customer.
Use multi’s to your advantage
Bookmakers absolutely love multi bets.
They love them because it multiplies their profit margin for each market. Let’s say they have a 2.5% profit margin across 3 markets. If you placed same sized single bets on each market the bookmaker would take home 2.5% of your total stake. If you added these into a Multi Bet and placed your total stake on that bet, their margin is multiplied.
This lets them take home a huge 7.6% of your total stake. Betfair have a fantastic guide on how this works.
That’s why Multi Bets are bad for punters and very good for bookmakers.
By placing a few different Multi Bets each week, you can look like a more profitable customer and hide your matched betting within a larger number of bets.
Stick to the sports you know
When we use matched betting software such as with BonusBank, it sometimes pops up with fantastic profit on obscure markets. I’ve seen 90%+ matches on Korean K League football and been sorely tempted to take advantage.
However, this will undoubtedly make your account stand out like a sore thumb. They won’t have many customers using that market and most of those customers will be playing with small stakes. It would surprise nobody for a bookmaker to review your account after a really obscure bet.
In Australia, I always advise people to stick to AFL, NRL, Cricket, Tennis or Horse Racing. There are plenty of opportunities within these sports so you don’t have to rely on a Brazilian 3rd Tier Rugby match.
Be consistent with your sports
Sticking to the theory that you need to look as much like an average punter as possible, it’s worth considering focusing on just one or two sports.
Most people tend to follow a few sports very closely, with their favourite team being bet on regularly. They won’t bet on every event possible just because it’s there – they’ll stick to what they know.
People are also creatures of habit. They’ll regularly place a $50 bet on their team to win at the weekend alongside a Multi Bet across that weekend’s round of matches. It’s possible for you to look like that too whilst still guaranteeing yourself a profit.
Be consistent with your stakes
If all your mug bets are $10 single bets, then suddenly you’re placing $50-$100 bets whenever there’s a free bet available… it’s going to look a little suspicious.
Use a regular staking approach by placing bets that are always similar in size. The exception here is Multi or Exotic bets that are often placed with lower stakes.
Bet less or more than the offer available
It’s a common event to see ‘Bet $50 get a $50 Bonus Bet‘ so of course to make the most profit you will always go ahead and place $50 to qualify for the bonus bet.
The bookmaker can easily look through your bet history and see $50 bets on the same promotion each week and mark you up as a matched bettor. That’s bad news for your account.
Instead, we can opt to bet more or less money than the offer. In this case, I might bet $40 or $70. I’m still getting most of the value out of the offer but I’m looking less like my specific intention is to take advantage of the offer.
This strategy also applies to any deposit bonuses. If the offer is ‘Deposit $25 and get a $25 Bonus Bet‘ then there’s no harm in depositing $50 to make it look like you’re not depositing purely for the bonus.
Don’t bet on competing outcomes at the same bookie
This is a golden rule. Never bet on two events that have competing outcomes at the same bookmaker.
For example, you might bet on Sydney Swans to beat Essendon at Ladbrokes but then you also want to bet on the outcome of who score the most points. If you bet on Essendon to score the most points at Ladbrokes then you’re stuck in a position where the two bets are competing against each other.
No punter would do this once they’ve put their money on their own opinion.
There’s a little more flexibility to do this if your outcome is in a separate Multi Bet although I would still recommend showing caution.
Avoid arbitrage betting
Also called an ‘arb’, arbitrage Betting is find odds at a bookmaker where you can lay them off at a lower price at the exchange. This can be a fantastic way of guaranteeing yourself a profit on any bet.
I discussed the impact of taking high value matched bets before, this is just an extreme extension of this. Taking arbs before you’ve been gubbed is the quickest way to getting your account restricted. Definitely not worth it!
Once you’ve been gubbed, arbs have the ability to make you quite a bit of extra profit.
Aim to keep funds in the bookie where possible
There’s a common theory amongst matched bettors that bookmakers tend to review your account whenever you make a withdrawal. Especially if you’re making a large withdrawal.
Large withdrawals tend to follow large wins so it’s difficult to know exactly what’s caused your account to be reviewed, so I recommend a fairly cautious approach.
Based on my experience, a withdrawal of less than $200 is unlikely to be faced with much scrutiny. So, if you just need to top up your exchange balance then it can make sense not to withdraw all of your balance at the bookmaker.
I wouldn’t advise trying to get round this by making multiple withdrawals – that’s just as likely to get your account noticed.
Use your mobile phone
With a majority of web browsing now coming from mobile devices, it’s probably a fair guess that most casual punters are placing bets from their phone these days. Either through a bookmaker app or a phone’s browser.
There’s no evidence that using your phone will actually extend the life of your account, hence the low impact rating. However, it’s reasonable to assume that it could help you blend in with a normal punter and that’s definitely a good thing.
Be selective about your promotions
Jumping into matched betting all guns blazing and betting on every single promotional offer available is a sure-fire way of getting your accounts noticed.
Used in parallel with the strategy of being consistent with your sports, it’s worth being selective about which offers you take advantage of. Especially if the offer doesn’t provide much value.
Some offers are only going to make you a couple of dollars whilst making your account look even more like a matched betting account. These aren’t worthwhile. Use a logical approach to whether an offer is valuable enough for you to take and don’t be afraid to leave offers on the table.
Bet as close to game time as possible
Shrewd, strategic gamblers tend to plan their bets far in advance and are trying to find the best value odds. These odds are usually found a few hours before the start of any event.
Casual punters tend to place a quick bet just before the start of the match or race. That’s what we want our bets to look like.
To add to the benefits of this strategy, bookmaker staff are likely very busy in the moments leading up to the event. This makes it even more likely that you’ll blend into the crowd.
A highly controversial piece of technology, IESnare is similar to a cookie in that a browser can place a tracking file on your computer without your knowledge. Primarily sold as an analytics tool, IESnare has the theoretical capability to track all your internet activity and pass that data back to a bookmaker.
The use of this tool is legally questionable and whether it’s been used for account restriction purposes is highly debatable. Personally, it doesn’t worry me and I haven’t taken any steps to avoid the technology.
However, if it’s something that concerns you, I advise reading this fantastic guide by Mike Cruickshank on how to remove and block IESnare from your computer.
Always bet on round numbers
When you’re dutching multiple bookmakers, you’ll often find that the ideal stake at the bookmaker will be a very specific number such as $55.28. However, it’s very rare that a normal punter would ever bet outside of a round number.
That’s why I recommend you always round up/down your stake at the bookmaker to the nearest $5. In the case above, you’d bet $55 and accept a slight imbalance between the two sides of your dutched bet.
The only exception to this is when you’re betting everything that’s left in your account. This is rarely a round number so it’s perfectly acceptable to place all your funds on a single bet.
Avoid signing up through a matched betting site
Matched betting sites such as Bonusbank and even OzProfit are fantastic resources for learning matched betting. Some of the less scrupulous sites out there will provide links directly to the bookmaker and act as affiliates for the bookmaker.
Bookmakers know exactly how you were referred to their site and if they see it’s done by a matched betting site then you’re easily identified as a matched bettor. Your account is unlikely to last very long.
Instead, I recommend using our free PDF guide to Aussie bookmakers. You can get it by entering your email below. This will also help you get fortnightly updates from OzProfit on any new matched betting guides or opportunities.
Don’t use the same IP address as other matched bettors
Bookmakers are easily able to identify which IP address (internet connection) you’re connecting to their site from. This means they can simply cross-reference IP addresses to see which accounts are using the same internet connection.
If more than 2 people are matched betting on the same connection, it’s very likely that once one account is gubbed the other one will be quick to follow.
If you fit into this scenario, I suggest hiding your IP address through a VPN service.
Don’t follow bets advised by a matched betting service
This is a slightly controversial one considering that I advocate for the use of matched betting services on this site. This is why they put you at risk of being gubbed.
The risk comes from any recommended daily/weekly bets and stakes. It would be naive to suggest that some bookmakers don’t have accounts at these matched betting services and can also see exactly what bets are being recommended.
If you’re placing exactly the recommended bets, it won’t take long to identify you as matched betting with that specific service. This is even easier to spot if you’re betting at the time those bets are recommended – hundreds of people placing the same stake on the same event is fairly obvious!
There are two important caveats:
- If you don’t care about the long term health of your accounts, recommended bets are the easiest way of making a quick profit from matched betting with the least amount of work. They serve a good purpose for certain people.
- This strategy does not apply to bets suggested by automated software such as the Matcha (Bonus Money) or ATM (BonusBank). There’s very little risk associated with using these software.
Use a different username
Following on from the previous strategy, never use the same username for your matched betting service and a bookmaker. Where possible, also use a different email address.
This should be fairly obvious why this is the case. Bookmakers can have accounts at these matched betting services and it’s not difficult to cross-check usernames. They could even automate this if they wanted.
Use a fake social media account
If it’s easy for the bookmakers to cross-check usernames at matched betting services, it’s even easier for them to check free matched betting facebook groups.
I generally don’t recommend facebook groups because I tend to find them overwhelming for beginners and full of misinformation from ‘experts’. However, they can be useful for some people to ask questions and meet other matched bettors.
Having your full name listed in these groups and the same as on your betting accounts would give the bookmakers and easy way to identify your account. Using a fake/alternative name on social media would get around this risk.
However, I’ve listed this as low because I find it unlikely that bookmakers would gub someone purely on the basis of being in a matched betting facebook group.
That’s 20 strategies for avoiding the dreaded ‘gubbing’. I hope they come in useful for you.
Is it possible to get ‘ungubbed’?
The short answer to this is that it’s very unlikely. Most bookmakers will never remove restrictions placed upon an account.
Some people have reported success from continuing to place mug bets and speaking to the support team every few months to ask if they can be allowed to access promotions again.
In my opinion, the success rate on this is far too low to make the effort worthwhile.
Gubbing is just part of life
In summary, you now have 20 different strategies that you can implement to extend the length of your betting accounts. It’s up to each individual matched bettor to work out how many of these strategies to implement, considering the trade-off between time, profit and risk.
I suggest not being too afraid of getting gubbed because even if you implemented every strategy to perfection, it’s still very possible to find yourself restricted.
Good luck with all your matched betting endeavours.