As George Orwell famously wrote: “Big Brother is watching you.” This has evolved into CCTV lining every street we roam, television programmes dedicated to fly-on-the-wall entertainment, and plenty of covert monitoring taking place across the country; including with bookmakers.
It turns out, bookmakers are tracking everything you do. After all, they need to keep themselves in as good a position as possible – and one way of doing this is through understanding their customer.
If you have found yourself on a winning streak with your betting account, you may have found yourself flagged or, even worse, in the restricted zone. This is the last thing that any punter wants, especially if they want to continue placing their bets. It often begs the question of why the bookies don’t want their business. This business practice is widespread though – if you consistently win, you will be shown the door. Bookmakers make their profits through losing.
Ultimately, a bookmaker wants you to lose. That’s how they keep their shareholders and owners happy. They also have targets and margins – which you’ll be cutting into if you win. But how do they monitor this? In many bookmakers, there are complex teams whose sole job is to assess what risk you present. They monitor the betting activity of all customers, the trends, and so forth. They don’t want you to hit the jackpot or it could see them losing out big-time.
There are a number of ways that they secretly monitor what you do. It may seem impossible in the abyss of the online world, but it’s actually possible. Firstly, your IP address (the invisible footprint you leave on all the sites you visit) is tracked on both a bet level and an account level. Even if you tried to make an account with a different name, it would still register the IP address you were using. If you’d already been flagged, this would flag you again. It will also be possible to match betting styles across different profiles if your IP address matches. Plus they can capture MAC addresses too.
Then there’s the matter of ‘unique accounts’. There are always rules in place with bookmakers to prevent you from having more than one account. Information that you log at the point of signing up is all compiled, including date of birth, address, device ID and so forth, which then go into a database that groups them together. If there are duplicate entries, these then get monitored to understand what you are up to and if there is something suspicious happening.
The cookies that your computer logs (not the tasty kind!), are also something bookmakers can use to track your activity. These are automatically placed on your browser, so it’s hard not to leave a cookie trail behind you.
This will tell bookmakers information such as how long you were on the site, what you clicked on, how long you hovered over links, and so forth. This information is then all used to build a profile about you. There’s nowhere for you to hide. In understanding you in this way, bookmakers can also target you with offers or promotions that they know you will like to help keep you engaged.
There’s also social media, in which people who tweet or post about their betting behaviour can see themselves getting flagged or banned pretty quickly. This can be done very easily when people post pictures or screenshots of their accounts or betting slips.
Your staking level is also monitored, based on how often you’re winning and what you are allowed to stake as a result. The worse you are at betting, the more you are allowed to bet. If you seem to be betting on lots of similar sports or showing trends in your behaviour, this is additionally noted. Bookmakers follow tip services, so they identify where people are coming from and what is leading to their decisions. This affects the odds available. Never be under any misconception that you are in the winning seat – whatever you’re doing, you’re being watched.