The culture in Las Vegas, at the more elaborate casino/hotel destinations, is that the “whale” is something that is treasured. A high roller who has the ability to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars during any given weekend is, naturally, afforded the red carpet treatment because he represents an opportunity for the casino to make a big score.
Of course, there is some “scouting” that is done on the part of the casino host and the marketing department on that player, because not only does he or she have to have the financial wherewithal to lose a lot to the casino, he also has to have the “ability” (or lack of same) to lose as well. In other words, no “sharps” allowed. Of course, you can see that player when he shows up; you know who he or she is.
When it comes to those kinds of players online, the gaming establishment has to be a little more careful because they don’t know exactly who they are dealing with. While it is true that no one is necessarily going to come and put a million dollars into the cage, the casinos – or for purposes of our conversation, the sportsbooks – can be justifiably wary of those who can bet big money.
Don’t get us wrong; any casino or sportsbook would love to have the stereotypical high roller who has money to burn, and usually does. But the general philosophy in the online sportsbook world is that the players who bet big money might very well represent the kind of “wise guy” action that has the potential to hurt them.
Therefore sportsbooks that operate online are divided into different types for this purpose. Some of them are built to welcome the bigger action, because they may have a very active staff that is on top of line changes and knows how to move money around. Other books are more interested in marketing to the “recreational players” who may bet less money but aren’t generally as sharp as those who put more money into play. They elect to operate on volume, under the premise that they do not want their bottom line to be greatly affected by the performance of one or two players who might win, and win big. A sportsbook catering to recreational players does not really want to see the incremental gains from those customers wiped out by one whale who either knows how to bet or may have just gotten lucky. Either way, the effect on the bottom line is the same.
It goes without saying that sportsbooks of this type would stay away from having higher limits. And those customers who want to be “rollers” can take their action to places that are more accommodating to that kind of play.
At Bookmaker.eu, for example, they are explicit about the fact that they have the ability to cater to both a recreational player and a high-roller. The maximum wager that can be placed online at the sportsbook is $5000. But now let us introduce another concept into this discussion of limits – the component of the sportsbook’s business that is not conducted online at all, but over the phone.
Many sportsbooks have a call center that is staffed by people who are professionally trained and can speak English as well, even if they are not American-born. These representatives take calls from customers who have gotten their lines from the sportsbook interface, and they make their wagers verbally. These customers are given a higher limit, and in the case of Bookmaker.eu, that limit is $20,000, although they stress that they would be happy to make special arrangements for “high-end clients” to have a higher limit.
At 5Dimes it is a little different, in that the wager limits for phone customers are the same as those playing online, although approval can be obtained for a larger bet than the $5000 that is allowable on major sports. For some of the propositions, the limits are as low as $50.
GTBets has different wagering limits, depending on the sport and the wager type. For NFL and NBA sides, it is $5000, which is the highest bet they list. For NFL totals, it is $2000., and for NBA totals it is $2000. For baseball, the highest bet on a side is $3000. Again, however, they specify that higher limits can be obtained by contacting a customer service representative.
Bovada also has different limits for different sports, but the highest wager it has listed is $2000, which would be for NFL pointspreads, college football pointspreads (only as they are listed form Thursday through Saturday) and mixed martial arts. The minimum bet that can be made online is $1. And the maximum bets across the board are generally lower than the other sportsbooks listed above. Clearly this is a sportsbook that is aimed at the recreational sports bettor.