Mug betting is the act of placing bets on markets that don’t have offers. This helps us to appear like an average punter and increases our chances of keeping our accounts open and unrestricted.
The subject of mug betting is a hotly debated topic and the simple truth is that nobody knows what the best mug betting practices are, or if it’s worth doing at all.
When I first published this guide, it was filled with tips on how to avoid being gubbed. I’ve since amended it as there is no concrete formula, but I’m happy to share my personal views on how we can maximise our chances of keeping our accounts open.
Why do we need to mug bet?
Just like any other company, all bookmakers have a business model and if a customer doesn’t satisfy that model, bookmakers will restrict their accounts. This is known as ‘gubbing’ and it makes good business sense for them to do so.
The aim for the bookmaker is to seek out the profitable players who hurt their bottom line and ensure they retain their best customers, those that consistently lose money and line their pockets.
It’s therefore important that we do our best to fly under the radar and avoid arousing suspicion.
How are we monitored?
All bookmakers have a risk-management team. These people are specifically employed to distinguish between ‘clever’ punters and ‘mug’ punters.
It’s believed that punters are assigned a score from 0 to 100, based on their betting patterns. A score of 100 means that the punter is able to place the maximum bet that the bookmaker is willing to take and as the score decreases, so does the maximum stake the punter is allowed to place. A score of 0 would represent a complete ban.
It’s understood that some bookmakers have identified groups of arbitrage bettors, but instead of closing their accounts, they actually use them to identify other users that may be doing the same. Any punters that place the same bets as those groups within a certain timeframe, will see their scores drop and their maximum allowed stakes reduced accordingly. The lower their scores drop, the more attention their accounts will receive and if they continue to place value bets, it won’t be long before their accounts are closed.
Our accounts aren’t just monitored as a whole. Each and every sport and market we bet on are monitored. So if we are winning on football but losing on tennis, the bookmaker may increase our staking level on tennis but reduce our staking level on football. It’s all part of their risk-management objective, which is simply to restrict our profitability and encourage our losses.
Along with our betting activity, bookmakers also automatically monitor a few other factors, such as our IP addresses. If you ever try and create another account using a family member’s name, that uses the same IP address as your account, this will be flagged up immediately. The same principle applies to bets. If bets are placed on different accounts using the same IP address, bookmakers will be aware. Bookmakers also monitor personal details like name, date of birth, address and device ID to ensure that people are not holding and using multiple accounts.
Cookies are another way bookmakers keep tabs on us. Cookies record information such as the time a website was visited, page clicks, length of session and even the links that we have hovered over. Not only do they use this information to risk-assess us, they also use it to keep us engaged by offering us specific promotions that fit our profiles.
What can we do to avoid being gubbed?
We rely on our accounts to keep the profits rolling in, so mug betting shouldn’t be a chore. It’s an important cog in the big matched betting wheel.
It’s nigh on impossible to look after all of our bookmaker accounts, with there being so many available, but we should certainly pay special attention to our most profitable accounts.
It’s inevitable that we will lose some accounts along the way, but there are plenty of things we can do to maximise our chances of keeping them open.
Mug bet regularly
We all know matched bettors love offers, particularly those that are the most profitable. From a bookmaker’s perspective, if a punter is seen to be betting only on markets where there are promotions, it’s quite clear what their intentions are.
We therefore need to give the impression of a regular ‘mug’ punter. We can do this by betting regularly on markets where there are no offers. We can lay our bets at the betting exchange to minimise our mug betting losses.
It’s all about timing
As matched bettors, we are organised, but it’s important that we appear the opposite. Mug punters are spontaneous and will often place bets close to an event starting.
We should therefore try, where possible, to do the same. Placing a bet on the horses the night before a race is far more noticeable to a bookmaker than a bet struck just before the race gets underway.
What would a mug punter do?
It’s a question worth asking yourself before placing any mug bets.
As mentioned above, mug punters are impulsive. They will often take price boosts or bet in play. Admittedly, in play betting is a little trickier than betting pre-event, but it’s worth the bother.
Mug punters also love an accumulator! You don’t need to stake massive amounts. A couple of quid here and there will suffice and you might even get lucky. Just avoid placing accumulators that are eligible for refund/insurance offers.
Watch live streams
Bookmaker’s can see how we use their sites. Matched bettors don’t tend to hang around for too long. We just log into our accounts, place our bets and log out, whereas a mug punter may hang around to watch live football matches or a horse race they’ve just bet on.
If you’ve bet on an event and there is a live stream, play it. I’m not suggesting you sit and watch every race you bet on, but it’s a good habit to do this every once in a while. If you’re too busy to watch it, just leave it open in another window.
Use other features
It’s understood that activity on other features such as casino, games and poker can really help our sportsbook accounts.
I’m not suggesting you start blowing your hard earned profits, but having the occasional spin on the roulette or the occasional game of poker can go a long way to keeping you in the bookies’ good books.
Don’t always stake the minimum required
When qualifying for an offer, there is usually a minimum stake required or a maximum refund available. We have a tendency to minimise our qualifying losses by only placing the minimum stake required or only betting up to the maximum potential refund.
Looking at it from a bookmakers’ point of view though, if a customer is repeatedly placing the minimum stake required or betting the maximum refund value, it’s pretty clear that they are abusing bonuses.
It’s therefore important that we mix up our bet stakes when qualifying for offers and always stick to round numbers. Also, try and keep your mug bet stakes consistent with your general activity.
Stick to popular markets and don’t always take the best value
Placing free bets on obscure markets, simply because the odds are better, is a sure fire way to arouse suspicion. If one punter places a £10.00 free bet on Bournemouth to beat Man Utd in the Premier League and another punter places a £10.00 free bet on Pattaya United to beat Songkhla United in Thailand Division 1, which punter do you think will have his card marked?
We therefore need to place our free bets on popular mainstream markets that mug punters will be betting on. You can get an idea of how popular a market is by visiting the Betfair Exchange and seeing how much has been traded.
It’s also important not to take the best value every time and mix up your odds. You might place a free bet at odds of 9.00 one week and then 5.00 the next. You might make a little less profit at the lower odds but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
It’s also a good idea, if you have a favourite team, to back and lay them on a regular basis. This will help you appear more like a mug punter. If you don’t have a favourite team, pick one!
It’s also advisable to stick to offers that fit in with your regular activity. It’s okay to bet on big sporting events though, even if you don’t bet on that sport ordinarily.
Only withdraw when you need to
It’s best not to withdraw money from your accounts too often. This obviously depends on your bankroll and how much you need the cash, but if you can afford to, leave your money in your accounts and keep a record of where your money is.
By leaving money in your account, it shows your intention to keep playing and avoids drawing the attention that withdrawing is rumoured to attract.
Betting challenges are another great way of appearing ‘muggy’. You’ll often see challenges on social media like ‘turn £10 into £1,000 in 20 bets’. The process involves placing your winnings on each subsequent bet until you either bust out or reach your target.
Clear your cookies
Think like a bookie
Above all else, the best thing to do is to put yourself in the shoes of the bookmaker. Think about how you would monitor your players’ accounts and bear this in mind whilst using your own.
As I said at the outset, there is no concrete formula for keeping your accounts open.
Some people don’t mug bet at all, hit the offers as hard as they can and make as much money as possible in the short-term and hopefully beyond.
The alternative strategy is to implement some of the suggestions I’ve laid out above and continue profiting long-term.