Betting Limits & Maximum Payouts

Maximum BetThe topic of betting limits and maximum payouts is one that many punters don’t know much about and this is in part due to the fact that for the average punter it is often not a concern. Most bookies have such high limits and maximum payouts that the average recreational gambler is unlikely to ever need to know about either.

However, as with many of our extended gambling information articles, a little knowledge can come in very handy. Whilst most bettors won’t ever need to know about these things, some will.

Whether you are a high roller who bets large amounts (and wins large amounts), a successful gambler who suffers from bookmaker limits, or just an occasional gambler who happens to get lucky with a huge accumulator, knowing about these things will help you avoid any confusion or disappointment.

Whilst betting limits and maximum payouts are two discrete issues on one level, on another they are very much related but it is the former we shall consider first.

Betting Limits

A betting limit is the maximum amount you can place on a given bet. Betting limits can refer to two different things though, with general limits referring to the maximum amount that anyone can ever bet on a given event and individual limits being often more stringent restrictions a bookie may choose to place on a specific customer irrespective of what they are betting on.

Essentially both are designed to protect the profitability of the bookmaker and limit their liabilities. However, whilst the former tend to be open and easy to ascertain, the latter are more secretive and confusing.

General Limits

Some online bookmakers will openly state the maximum bet they will allow on a given sport and/or market. This amount will apply to a new account, or one that is yet to be affected by other limits (see below for more on individual limits). If the bookie works in this way, the limit will be listed in the rules section of the site, although most bookies actually state their limits in terms of the maximum payout. This means that the maximum stake is determined both by pre-set rules and also by the odds of the particular selection you are looking to back. We will consider this in more detail below in the maximum payouts section.

Other bookies will display the maximum stake allowed when you attempt to place a bet, and this may be as the result of the overall general limit or a restriction specific to the individual. Not all bookies do this but most of the best ones do and for high stakes bettors this certainly makes things much easier as you can quickly see what stake will be allowed. To bring up the maximum bet just attempt to place a bet far in excess of your balance and that should trigger the limit message without any risk of you actually placing a bet (although most sites have a further confirmation stage beyond this point anyway).

Individual Limits

Unfair as it may seem, and though they may sometimes profess otherwise, bookies love punters that lose and are very much less keen on habitual winners. Even the very best betting sites around will gladly accept your bets when you are losing but if you suddenly start winning on a regular basis they can often be very quick to protect their interests by imposing betting limits on your account.

Don’t misunderstand: the odd winner here and there, the occasional streak of winners or even regular wins over a long period of time that mean you are making a bit of profit won’t necessarily see your account limited. Moreover, even if you do at some stage get limited, your past bets will all still get paid in full, so this isn’t something to be overly concerned about.

That said, bookmakers employ people to manually look at accounts and also to design complex algorithms that assess the betting patterns (and profit and loss potential) of individual customers automatically, looking for customers they deem unprofitable.

As well as the simple issue of whether your bets win or lose, other factors will be considered, including the type of bets you place, what bonuses and promotions you use and other general wagering patterns. Winning alone may not incur a limit, whilst on the other hand you may find your account limited even if your bets have been losing if the bookmaker considers you a significant risk.

Individual limits are part and parcel of life for a regular, successful gambler, especially those that frequently use bonuses in such a way that maximises their chances of profiting, or only bet when using such offers. The exact extent of the limit won’t be explained but you’ll find that when you try to place a bet an error message will appear. This will either explain that your maximum stake on the requested selection is “X amount”, or, less helpfully, say that the requested amount is over your limit.

Some bookies operate a referral system, whereby limited customers will see their bets referred to a trader who manually assesses them. Other bookies operate a tiered limitation, with less restricted customers offered 50%, for example, of the standard stake, whilst the most heavily affected winners may only be offered as little as 1% of what a regular customer can bet, often making the wager effectively pointless.

Limits can, very occasionally, be removed or increased but more often than not they tend to get more severe. The ultimate conclusion to such a scenario is that the bookie will eventually inform you your account is being closed “for commercial reasons”. Rest assured, however, that this is unlikely to happen to the vast majority of bettors and, if it does happen to you, then at least you’ve more than likely enjoyed some fine wins along the way!

Maximum Payouts

Maximum payouts determine the most that a bookmaker will pay out on a given sport, market or sport sub-category. As alluded to above, most bookies create their betting limits through the use of maximum payouts. For example, rather than simply saying the maximum bet on Premier League football match winner odds is £10,000, they may instead say that the maximum payout is £50,000. This would then entail using both the odds and the stake, as opposed to just the stake. Note that this refers to maximum winnings, excluding the stake itself.

If we take the example above of a £50,000 maximum payout, that could equate to a £10,000 bet at 5/1, a £50,000 wager at evens or bet of £100,000 at 1/2, for example. These maximums vary from bookmaker to bookmaker and, as said, according to different sports, levels within those sports and markets.

As an example, let us consider a small selection of the limits Bet365 place on winnings. Note that these limits are not per bet, but per sport, based on a 24 hour period, with multiple bets being restricted by the lowest maximum applicable to any of the legs. These are just some of the main maximums – for full details check the Bet365 site or indeed the terms of whichever bookmaker with whom you have placed your bet.

  • Major football leagues - £2m - including full men’s internationals, all four top leagues in England, the FA Cup, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Champions League and Europa Leagues
  • Secondary football - £500,000 - Scottish Premier, A-League, League Cup, Norwegian and Swedish top flights
  • UK horse racing - £1m - all UK/Irish races with an industry-declared Starting Price (SP)
  • Overseas racing - £250,000 - all overseas races with an industry SP declared
  • UK greyhounds - £1m - all live Sky Sports races and all BAGS and BEGS meetings
  • ATP tennis - £500,000 - for all full ATP Tour events, match and tournament winner bets
  • Major snooker - £250,000 - match winner and outright markets for all World Ranking Tournament matches
  • Golf - £500,000 - limit applies to all markets

Of course, these maximums are subject to change at any time, subject to restrictions and limits placed on the individual in question and also subject to the bookmaker accepting your bet. In other words, the existence of the limits, does not guarantee that you will be able to place a bet with the stated bookmaker liability.

Limits, Maximums and Accumulators

Just as the bookmakers’ limits are not a binding offer that the relevant stakes will be accepted, it’s also worth noting that even if a bet is accepted, full winnings remain subject to the maximum payouts as stated in the bookmaker’s terms and rules.

Whilst it may seem unfair, that means that even if you place a huge acca and somehow manage to land all 15 legs of your crazy, ever so slightly optimistic bet, you may not receive the full amount you were expecting. Let’s assume you place a Premier League correct score acca and through a fantastic mix of luck and skill manage to get all seven Saturday games spot on. Using fairly typical prices on such an acca would offer cumulative odds of around 5,000,000/1 (5m to 1) and so even a 50p accumulator would yield a massive £2.5m!

However, if we assume your bet was placed with Bet365, we can see from the list above that the maximum payout on such a bet would be £2m. Clearly you’d be delighted to have won £2m but that still means you would miss out on £500,000.

Things could get even worse, of course, if you decided to throw in a few games from Scotland too. Let’s assume you swapped just one English Premier League game for a match in the Scottish top flight. The maximum payout there is “just” £500,000, so instead of £2.5m, you would get £500,000, with Bet365’s (and most bookies’) rules stating that the lowest limit on multiple bets will apply.

Whilst such wins are very rare and, even if you “only” won £500k you’d no doubt be ecstatic, the maximum payout rules mean you can actually save yourself some money on your regular accas. In our second example, with your win capped at £500,000, any stake over 10p is effectively wasted so rather than betting 50p, a £1 or even more, now you’re fully aware of how betting limits and payouts work, you could just risk 10p instead.

Pools Bets

Another impact of all this is that certain pools bets now become more attractive. Whilst standard accumulators are subject to maximum payouts, pools bets, offered by a number of companies such as Tote, Coral and Colossus, are not. So, for example, whilst you may have considered these pools bets to offer bad value compared to the basic odds you could create with an acca of your own, in fact they can offer much better value.

Certain pools bets roll over and when they do they can offer unbeatable returns, with payouts not only bigger than the cumulative odds you would otherwise get but also not subject to the aforementioned restrictions!