Accounts Closed At Betfair

It is common to hear of accounts being closed at Betfair. Usually the reason is that premium charge traders are spreading their trades over multiple accounts so as to avoid the higher commission charge. Of course, such a practice is against Betfair's regulations and users with multiple accounts will be closed down.

Since Betfair started charging £299 for access to live data via its API I have seen a growing number of people who have had their account closed for no reason whatsoever. At least, that is what it appears to be. Some people contact me and they have categorically said that they were not multiple account users. They also said that they were not selling unofficial software to other users so that multiple instances of the software were accessing Betfair, which requires a Betfair commercial licence.

Why should Betfair close accounts for not apparent reason? And if they are will I be next? One reason for Betfair being so strict is that too many users are testing bots using the live AppKey and not using the delayed AppKey. Supposedly, that is the reason for the £299 charge for the live AppKey as a barrier to casual users taking up live bandwidth. But how you prove the difference between testing and trading is not obvious. I often run a bot for a day and perform no trades. I am merely gathering data. Is that counted as testing? Maybe some users are firing in thousands of sub £2 bets, which could be construed as testing. Especially if it is to hoover up stray pennies risk free using the round-up flaw, which Betfair does frown upon.

I should point out to users of Betfair's API-NG that the best way to test the betting side of a bot is to find a closed spread (i.e. a zero tick gap between the back and the lay) and to fire in a £2 back followed by a £2 lay (both "at the money") so that both sides of the trade are instantly matched. The loss will be minimal (just a few pennies, especially if you choose a sub 2.0 spread) and the £2 trades will keep Betfair happy.

I don't know what the future holds for Betfair users, especially users of the API. Betfair now concentrates on its bookmaking operation and with the Paddy Power link-up this can only increase. Maybe low volume API users will be frozen out and the exchange will only be for commercial use by third-party software vendors, premium charge users and independent bookmakers laying off liabilities. Who knows?