Do Bookies Restrict Women’s Accounts Faster?
Getting your account restricted is one of the main hazards of matched betting. It can also cause problems with other betting systems and strategies. For example, value bets and arbitrage wagers can also lead to a restricted account.
If you use a lot of offers or win regularly, the bookies will keep a close eye on you. They won’t be slow in limiting you if they think you are an unprofitable customer.
Thankfully, there are some tactics to help you try and avoid this. But is the approach taken by bookies fair? Or are you up against some sort of bias that could see you unfairly targeted?
There have been suggestions that female account-holders are more likely to be restricted. You may have seen this reported and wonder if it is true. Perhaps you think that it is impossible for bookmakers to discriminate in this way.
To find out the truth, we need to take a good look at the overall subject.
Why Are Accounts Restricted?
Surely bookies need a good reason to restrict an account. You might assume that there are clearly defined guidelines and processes you can see. There aren’t. This is a secretive process that they don’t talk about.
There are some reasons for this. Naturally, they don’t want people to find out about possible loopholes. If they released their processes, smart bettors would soon work out how to get around them.
A bookie can simply restrict or close your account at any time. Why would they do this, though? The most common reason is if you are winning too much. They hate to see someone winning regularly. This is something that they will want to put a stop to.
The bookmaker might think that you are using matched betting. Or that you are taking advantage of arbitrage techniques. Even if they don’t, they can still decide to restrict the account.
This could mean that you can’t use bonuses. Or it might limit the size of bets you can place. Either way, it will make it far more difficult for you or win money. In the worst case, they might refuse to accept any more bets from you.
Most people who bet successfully are restricted at one point. They might need to switch bookies regularly to keep on place bets. In fact, if you are never restricted it probably means that you aren’t making any money.
Remember that betting exchanges like Betfair won’t restrict you. We are only looking at bookmakers here.
Are Women Treated Differently?
It is very difficult to know if the bookmakers have guidelines on this. They are notoriously secretive about their decisions for limiting accounts. We can only really guess at the reason why any particular bettor is targeted.
Yet, there have been stories lately about female accounts being closed more quickly. Is there some truth behind it? Or are these stories just guesses with no substance to them?
The truth is that there is some guesswork involved. Different bookies could have completely different rules and approaches. One might have had worse experiences with certain types of customer.
Some of the recent stories appear to be backed up by insiders like former bookie employees. They claim that women are treated differently. Some even say that this difference is evident from when someone first opens an account. They suggest that women are targeted from day one.
The theory is that they immediately have lower limits on stakes. They might also have more bets referred for approval. It is also claimed that they lose access to offers more easily.
Why Might This Happen?
If the previous point is true, there must be a reason for it. Bookies are known for making hard-nosed decisions at all times. They think about their profits above all else. So why would they choose to discriminate against women?
The simple answer is profits. Men are known to open accounts in their wife’s / girlfriends / mothers name to get around their account restrictions. Therefore, the bookies keep a closer eye on their betting activity.
They will ban well-known bettor who make a lot of money off them. The concern then is that the bettor uses a female relative’s name as a front.
The betting industry has changed a lot in recent years. The appearance of internet betting has meant that huge numbers of bets are placed every hour. This is especially true at big events where loads of bets fly in. There is no way for bookies to physically check all of them.
If their statistics show that women lose them more money, what would they do? It is safe to say that they would do something to cut losses. Restricting all accounts for women seems a bit drastic.
This isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. We know that bookies have very sophisticated systems for monitoring their accounts. This means that they can look after their profits at all times. They would prefer to target a whole segment than potentially lose money to them.
Simply having a process that is tougher on women would be relatively easy to implement. This could be built into their systems. No manual intervention would be needed in most cases.
At a stroke, they could lower the risk on thousands of accounts. If they think it is worth doing this, it is easy to imagine them doing it.
Are Women Better At Betting?
So far, we are basing a lot on the fact that women win more when betting. This is something that is often stated, but is there any truth in it?
There is a lot of debate over this subject. In fact, some companies have decided to study it in depth to find out more.
A study by 888 Holdings looked at this matter. They found a huge difference between the genders. Women got a return on investment of almost 20%. Meanwhile, their male counterparts lost close to 5%. This was based on American sports betting.
One of the problems with studies like this is that fewer women bet. Therefore, it is difficult to compare. Perhaps only women who are genuinely experts choose to bet and do it seriously. While many men do it on a casual basis as a hobby.
What Evidence Is There?
The evidence of female customers being treated differently is purely speculation. But there are a lot of people who have tales of this happening.
Some people say that their female friends or relatives had accounts restricted faster than them. Other cases involve women saying that they felt treated differently.
The problem is that it is very difficult to prove this. Bookies use complex systems to manage their customers. Since they take many issues into account, each case is different. Some even use artificial intelligence to try and weed out winners.
To do this, they look at numerous factors. This includes the age, where they live and their betting history. It seems safe to say that gender plays a part in this too. But it is far from being the only one. It is arguably one of the most important, though.
It is difficult to think that they solely look at gender to make decisions. But it could be one of the factors taken into account automatically. They could give a bigger weighting to female customers in certain areas.
As mentioned, some articles talk about ex-employees of bookies. They say that all bookies are tougher on women. This seems to be an issue that is well-known in the industry.
Since the information is anonymous, it is difficult to rely on this. But there does seem to be enough of it to make it difficult to ignore. It isn’t likely that different people have just made up this issue.
Is This Fair and Legal?
It certainly doesn’t seem very fair, does it? There is no reason why you should suffer poorer offers due to your gender. It’s not as though women are offered better odds or bigger winnings.
There also appears to be no clear evidence that they win more often. Even if they do, shouldn’t the bookie take this into account in their overall odds? The same odds and offers should be available for everyone.
If they are losing money on female customers, this should be reflected in their overall deals. They need to lower the deals for everyone or for no-one surely? Or do you think that it is fair to only change the offers for ladies?
If we move on to the legal issues, it is a bit more complicated. In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 makes sure that men and women are treated equally.
This is an act that brings various other pieces of legislation up to date. It is designed to enforce equal treatment of all customers.
We need to work out whether the bookies would be going against this law. If they restrict women more than men it hardly sounds like equality.
It certainly appears to go against the spirit of the act. However, the exact wording possibly gives them some wiggle room. This is because it says that they can differentiate between genders in some cases. But only when it is a better or effective way of working.
To be honest, it doesn’t sound like this is the case. Instead, bookies are just worried about making more money. But the legal case would be difficult to enforce. The betting firms presumably have some reasons lined up in case they are ever seriously questioned on it.
It is worth remembering that any breach of this law would be extremely serious. A bookie could lose their license for doing this. So, it seems unlikely that they would run the risk of doing so without legal advice.
If they operate a separate policy for women, they must have checked out the legality. In this case, they should let us know about the differences, though. There would be nothing to hide. Although they might still fear a backlash from customers.
What seems completely unfair is treating men and women different from day one. In this way, bookies would be giving men an advantage right away. It would be more difficult to criticise them if they simply made this an on-going factor when reviewing accounts.
One day, someone will probably raise a serious complaint on this subject. Until this happens, we can only speculate. Don’t forget that gambling firms have been hammered in the past for ignoring different rules.
Do Many Women Bet?
There have been attempts made to find out how many bookmaker clients are women. However, the betting firms have been reluctant to give out this information. The lack of details is usually put down to commercial reasons.
It seems clear that internet betting has seen the number of women wagering increase. Perhaps some were reluctant to enter bookie’s shops in the past. Or maybe they were never interested in betting until they discover winning systems online.
Another possibility is that bookies are targeting women as potential customers. This was the conclusion reached by Associate Professor Samantha Thomas. She is the Deakin University gambling researcher.
Thomas said that sports betting ads have become more gender neutral. She suggests that this is an attempt to attract more women. This was based on the Australian market. UK advertising perhaps hasn’t been so obvious in this respect.
Why would bookies want to attract more women, though? If they are afraid of the ladies and restrict them easily, why bother? The most likely answer is that they only want the profitable female gamblers. Those who lose, in other words.
By attracting more women, they can pick the most profitable ones. It isn’t as though they have a blanket ban on all females. They just want the best of both worlds.
Either way, the number of women betting seems to be rising. A study by Deloitte Global showed that millennial men are most likely to bet on US sports. However, women aged 25-34 made up 14% of the market. Ladies between 35 and 44 represented 9% of all betting.
What Should Happen Next?
We all want to see a fairer betting industry. However, it is difficult to argue against bookies using their knowledge and statistics to protect themselves.
The big question is whether this is done fairly for women. Do they simply use gender as one of many factors on someone’s account? Or do women bettors have it more difficult from day one?
It would be nice to see even one bookie come out and tell us their thoughts. I don’t expect them to tell us everything about how they operate. But they should be clear on how they ensure gender equality.
If not, it could come down the regulatory authority. The UK Gambling Commission needs to ensure that there is a fair market. They would not be happy to find that it is more difficult for women to win.
This will probably happen eventually. If a disgruntled woman gambler makes a formal complaint it will need to be investigated. When this might happen is anyone’s guess.
Should Women Carry on Betting?
If the market is weighted against women, is it worth carrying on? First of all, it is worth remembering that we aren’t talking about odds here. If a man and a woman place the same bet they will get the same odds. Provided it is placed with the same bookie at the same time.
Where they might find a difference in the offers they can access. This could be especially bad news in matched betting.
The details suggest that women will find it more difficult to stop their account being restricted. But there is no guarantee of this happening. It is one of a number of factors taken into account.
I certainly wouldn’t suggest avoiding this based on gender. Plenty of women have been successful at matched betting.
What I would say is that it pays to be really careful about maintaining your account. Losing your offers could be a disaster in terms of how much you can win.
This advice applies to men too, of course. However, since women seem to get restricted faster, it is even more vital for them.
We will possibly never know whether women bettors are treated differently. The balance of probability suggests that they are. But we can’t expect the bookies to ever confirm this unless forced to do so.
It is something to take into account but it shouldn’t put women off. They can still earn money on matched betting. But maybe women should be even more careful with their accounts than men.