Not only do we have to lay the juice, now we cant even win. A UK trending and controversial bookmaking practice is starting to spread in the U.S.’s growing LEGAL sports betting market, too.

Bookmakers from Manchester to Las Vegas are refusing to take bets from sharp action.

Gaming experts are saying that legal sportsbooks might have closed as many as 50,000 betting accounts recently. And even more if you include restrictions like betting limits.

“If you try to win, they don’t let you play anymore.” – Anonymous U.K. punter

“Yes, bookmakers are severely restricting or closing accounts for what appears to be the fact that these people are winning,” said U.K. gambling consultant Steve Donoughue, secretariat for an all-party parliamentary group that focuses on gaming. The profit-minded corporations that have entered the bookmaking game, however, look at it from the perspective of their bottom line and wonder what business would ever choose to cater to customers thought to be “uneconomical.” It’s like encouraging a world-class competitive eater to dine often at your all-you-can-eat buffet.

American sports betting is not immune to the practice. Banning or limiting sophisticated players has been a regular part of Las Vegas sports betting for decades, and, like in the U.K., there’s absolutely nothing illegal about it.

Bettors say the practice is increasing and has even occurred in some of the new states (such as New Jersey) that have entered into the now-legal bookmaking game in recent months.


It is completely within a casinos rights to refuse sports bets from wise-guys. However the concern is that this practice of limiting and banning is becoming regular.  Giants such as William Hill who operate a network of sportsbooks might have an unfair advantage against sharp action.

ESPN communicated with 20 bettors for this article who said they had been banned from betting with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. Two said they already have been cut off at the new William Hill books in New Jersey, too, something the Division of Gaming Enforcement is reviewing.

“In our world, our community,” said Joe Fortuna, one of the professional bettors who says he was cut off by William Hill in Nevada, “everyone knows you’ll get thrown out of there.”

“It’s not even really close,” said another Las Vegas bettor who had been restricted by William Hill and requested anonymity. “They’re by far the worst.”

Founded in 1934 in London, William Hill was granted a Nevada gaming license in 2012. The company has grown into the largest bookmaker by volume in Nevada, serving more than 100,000 customers and operating in more than 100 locations — including at casinos like Casino Royale and Hooters on the Las Vegas Strip. They have the most customers and, in turn, probably have the most complaints directed at them.


Traditional sportsbooks seem like the way to go.  Books like the Wynn, Caesars, South Point, The Stratosphere, and of course The Westgate Superbook.  Although they can still use their ‘right of refusal,’ they seem to welcome most action that isn’t breaking any rules.

“We categorize them from the sharpest of the sharp — the guys who bet their own opinions and we respect greatly — to your average Joe,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the SuperBook. “We get a lot of sharp players in here that we deal with on a daily basis. We monitor them very, very closely. We profile to a point where we know exactly what they’re doing and mold their limits accordingly.”


This is a major concern now that Sports Gaming is growing and legal in the United States.