What kind of arbitrage strategies are not welcome at bookmakers?


Feb 28, 2016
Can anybody please tell me, what kind of arb strategies are banned or restricted by bookmakers? There are two basic types of arbs, between markets at a particular bookmaker, and between bookmakers. I am not an experienced arbitrage trader but I am interested in this subject and while researching I've found some people who are talking about arbs as a completely safe business and others describe it as some shady behaviour in sports betting.

My opinion is (tell me if I'm wrong), that an account may be restricted because of arbing if the player takes advantage of arbitrage opportunities between markets of the bookmaker, so he ensures his winning at one single bookmaker. Of course, that bookmaker will be not ok with that and may restrict or sanction that account. But there may be bookies who allow even that?

And the biggest question is, is that possible that bookmakers normally competing against each other may conspire and willing to find out and sanction users who are taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities occurring between bookmakers?

BMR Forum

Staff member
Nov 15, 2012
Arbitrage is simultaneous betting to guarantee a profit. So if an Arb exists at the one book, I think it must be an error? No?

If you are not talking about simultaneous bets, it's not arbitrage.

There is nothing 'shady' about arbing. But in general books view it as way of technically exploiting the system, rather than gambling, so it can be frowned upon in those terms.

But the main reason many books fight against it is because there is generally a 'sharp' side and 'soft' side to each arb opportunity. Basically the soft side is the price that is most likely off, so will provide most of the profit long term. Books like Pinnacle Sports who openly say they take arbers do it because they know that they will almost always have the sharp side of any arb found against them. Conversely, most books who call themselves recreational include higher margin in the odds and sometimes will shade the favourite odds, so when arbs come up against them they will most often be on the soft side.

This results in money being transferred from the soft books to Pinnacle's and the player's pockets at a steady and regular rate. They can't operate as a recreational book and sustain those sort of guaranteed losses ongoing.

So, it's partly that some may think the practice is unfair as they are licensed to offer gambling services and they do not see arbing as gambling. And it's partly a pure business decision that guaranteed losses are not tolerable.

Books that do not like arbitrage clients will very often say so in their terms. If they do, just move on as you can sure those books employ software to track arb opportunities against them and flag your account if you hit them and some will call catching you reason to cancel all winnings. Others will try to mess you up by cancelling bets during events. Big legit books will simply close your account and maybe tell you are unprofitable.

Books dont need to conspire to identify arbing btw.