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Why Am I Being Limited at My Sportsbook?

Scott Morris | July 6, 2021
being limited or kicked out of a sportsbook

Sportsbooks exist to book bets on sporting events. But they really exist to make money. This is done by the built-in “bookie fee” or “vig” that comes with each bet. On your standard wager, the loser pays an extra 10%. This is actually one of the first things we all learn when we get into betting on sports.

Sportsbooks also make a good portion of their money from parlays. These bet types have a mathematical advantage built in for the house as well. “While parlays account for less than 2% of the total volume taken in by Nevada sportsbooks, they contribute nearly 8% of all profits”- Boyd’s Bets

The third way sportsbook make money is risk management. This is defined as action taken by the sportsbook to reduce their exposure while enhancing profits. They do this in various ways. It can include everything from making sure employees aren’t stealing to testing software for efficiency. There is also another aspect which falls under this category. This would be the “backing off” of a player or the outright blacklisting of him altogether.

If a casino or sportsbook feels that a player has an unfair advantage they will limit him or kick him off. That advantage can come various ways and they actually don’t have to tell you why they are doing it. They can simply say “we don’t want to book your action here”. With sports betting, if a player appears to be too sharp and makes sustained profits for a period of time, the sportsbook could limit him or get rid of him altogether.

Online and brick and mortar casinos and sportsbooks all do it. In card games, they will definitely back a player off if he is thought to be card counting. This is easily spotted by the pit boss as the player bets low for the first half of the shoe and then sharply raises his bets as the shoe becomes more “rich”, ie, he knows what is left.


Some sportsbook are quicker to limit than others. Personally I have always thought it was silly of a sportsbook to limit a sports bettor who was simply winning by placing parlays and straight wagers (no steam chasing, no syndicate betting). In my experience, the guy who beats your for $5K this month will probably give it all back and more if you wait long enough. And that brings us to the final advantage a sportsbook has over the player: Deep pockets. A sportsbook can survive a player who goes on streaks and wins a large amount of money. Not only is their action usually hedged by other bettors, but they also have a bankroll sitting there for this purpose. Your average sports bettor doesn’t have a bankroll even a 1/100000 the size of a large sportsbook.

Check out this interesting video we found of an actual pit boss backing-off a card counter and then flat-betting him. It’s hidden camera material and something almost no one will ever get to see first person. Enjoy!

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