With the big Michigan-Michigan State battle looming this Saturday, many bettors in the state are probably salivating at the chance to put some big bucks down on their favorite team.
Or maybe some middling bucks. Or maybe just a few bucks.
Fact is, oftentimes it’s not up to the bettor to decide the maximum amount to get down on their favorite team. The sportsbooks may determine it by limiting how much someone can bet on a game.
And while this problem has plagued some sports bettors for several years in states like New Jersey that legalized sports betting early, Michigan is among the states still relatively new to the party. It hasn’t yet seen a barrage of players told by the sportsbooks that their money is no good at a certain level, although some players are already experiencing it.
Damn I actually got limited on the DraftKings Lamar bet, did anyone else? $44.44 was my max bet
— Promo Guy (@PromoGuyMI) October 24, 2021
“Sportsbooks limit players not only because they can, but because they deem it necessary to protect their bottom line,” said the professional bettor who goes by the nom de plume Capt. Jack Andrews. “Perhaps they don’t trust their own traders to stay ahead of the market. Perhaps they think the sharp bettors will overwhelm their operation.
“An efficient operation would profile who the sharp bettors are and then move their lines when the sharp bettors bet into them, essentially paying for the information. However, either the operation is inefficient and they don’t have the ability to profile and react, or they don’t want the knowledge of where sharp bettors are.”
This happens to professional gamblers, but it can happen to ordinary Joes as well. The author of this story found himself limited to $7.57 on a wager last year in New Jersey, and it can be said with firm certainty that this author is no pro.
So is there anything to do about this? Is there anywhere to turn?
Well, short answer? Not here in America. But a look across the Atlantic shows a country that may, in fact, be putting an end to this practice by the sportsbook operators.
In France, the National Gaming Authority has gone ahead and reminded the sportsbook operators of the rules of the game. And what are the rules in France?
Simply put, the sportsbooks cannot limit a customer’s bets unless the customer meets very specific criteria. Those criteria — and any one will do — are:
- The bettor is underage.
- The bettor is a “pathological” gambler.
- The bettor is using the money wagered to commit fraud, engage in money laundering, or fund terrorist activities.
- The bettor is attempting to place a wager above the limit set by the operator for all customers.
According to the National Gaming Authority, more than one in six complaints it receives revolve around sportsbooks limiting the action.
In short: France basically operates under the model of Circa Sportsbook, which has a brick-and-mortar shop in Las Vegas and is online in Colorado and Iowa. Circa has set, defined, and listed limits on every betting market. And anyone who wants to place a bet is allowed to wager up to that limit. No one is turned away based on proven expertise, no artificial limits are placed on anyone.
“We strive to be an open and transparent marketplace that welcomes all bettors, both recreational and non-recreational,” said Jeff Benson, Circa’s director of operations. “What that means for the uninformed is that anyone who walks into one of our sportsbooks or signs up for our mobile app are entitled to the minimum standard limits that we offer, regardless of how sharp you are or how much money you win.
“For example, on an NFL Sunday we take $100k sides, $50k moneylines, and $30k totals from anyone in the world, no questions asked. Our business model is low hold/high volume, and we opened our doors to write bets and that’s what we intend to do.”
You might be limited if …
So how does one get limited elsewhere?
Short answer is “Who knows?” It’s not necessarily someone who is winning on a more-or-less consistent basis.
Another pro bettor who goes by the name “Porter” told US Bets last year that one marker the sportsbooks look for are bettors who are consistently beating the closing lines.
“If the line opens at -7 and you bet it, and it closes at -8.5, you have a theoretical advantage,” he said at the time. “If you consistently get numbers better than closing, that’s all, folks. Listen, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t make financial sense to allow successful bettors to stick around.”
However, Andrews suggests the system is flawed, and may end up costing the sportsbooks money in the long run.
“One issue with limiting players is occasionally tossing out the baby with the bathwater and limiting players that aren’t sharp,” Andrews said. “The irony is that the true sharp bettors are crafty and will find their way back in through using other bettors. So they’re not solving the initial problem, and only making it worse with the occasional false positive.”
So how many Michigan gamblers have been limited by the sportsbooks? It’s an unknown, but as markets mature, the number will invariably go up.
So if you’re trying to get that big bet down this Saturday and are turned away, you might be considered too sharp for school. Bettor beware.