FanDuel Pays $82K Sports Betting Payout Despite Odds Glitch
In what seems to be a win for good public relations, FanDuel has agreed to pay an $82,000 winning bet at its Meadowlands sports book in New Jersey despite a computer glitch that posted ridiculously inflated odds on the bet.
The glitch apparently allowed a bet on an NFL game to go off at 750 to 1 odds instead of the 1 to 6 odds the game situation reflected. Several other gamblers who made similar bets at the inflated odds will also be paid in full, FanDuel said.
“Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be fun,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “As a result of a pricing error this weekend, it wasn’t for some of our customers.”
The story of Anthony Prince of Newark went public after he made a bet on the Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders game in week 2 of the NFL.
Prince made the $110 bet in the last minute of the game. Denver was trailing by two points, but driving for an eventual field goal. Prince bet on Denver to win and was handed a ticket at 750-1 odds.
FanDuel says its system should have calculated his odds at 1-6, meaning a player would have to bet $600 in order to win $100. Prince was stopped from collecting after Denver’s eventual win. FanDuel said Prince’s win was actually for $18.36.
“They said, ‘Oh, we can’t honor this ticket,’” Prince told News12 New Jersey, which first reported the story. “I said, ‘Why? This is fair and square.’ They said the system had a glitch in it and they’re not obligated to pay for glitches.”
New Jersey regulators then said they would review the error and whether FanDuel would have to pay the bet. FanDuel said it made the decision to honor the printed odds after discussions with regulators.
“These kinds of issues are rare, but they do happen,” the company said. “So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”
Kip Levin, FanDuel’s chief operating officer, told the Associated Press that the company wants “to use this as a learning experience for our new customers about how sports betting works.”
Actually, a total of 12 customers, including Prince, were given incorrect odds during an 18-second computer glitch. Levin would not say how much in total the company is paying, but said the promised payouts printed on the tickets or made online will be honored, according to the AP.
The odds glitch happened immediately after Denver completed a pass in the final seconds of the game that positioned the team for its winning field goal attempt, FanDuel said.
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, had told the Associated Press that the division is investigating whether there are grounds to compel FanDuel to pay Prince the stated payout of $82,000.
He also said the division is looking “just as importantly” at “how it occurred given internal controls exist to prevent such an error. Those findings might also result in the need for further action.”
The glitch was ill-timed for FanDuel, as it just announced it will bring its brand to Mississippi. The sports book operation at IP Casino Resort in Biloxi will be re-branded FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s the first casino where FanDuel is partnering with Boyd Gaming, IP’s parent company, to brand a sportsbook. It comes under an agreement that will connect Boyd and its 29 casinos across 10 states.
Meanwhile, Jason Robins, CEO of FanDuel rival DraftKings talked to the business website The Street and gave an indication of how sports betting is proceeding in New Jersey as the football season begins.
“August was an awesome month for us in both fantasy and sports betting,” he told the website. “In sports betting, we started with a few thousand bets per day, now we’re up to 40,000 to 50,000 bets per day. And on the first day of college football, we took over 60,000 bets, which was a remarkable amount of volume for a state that’s only about 2.5 percent of the country’s population. We’re about 300 percent better than what we forecasted on volume. Some of that was just conservative forecasting, but it’s also just that we’ve really beat expectations.”
FanDuel launched the first online sports book in New jersey, which it has been advertising heavily in the market. The sports betting site reached its 1 millionth bet in just 38 days.
He said his company is ready for expansion as the sports betting market in the country expands.
“The Supreme Court only cleared the way for the states to take action, so now it’s about getting more of the country opened up and getting good quality products into those places,” he said. “And continuing to innovate the fantasy business, and using a combination of that and our media and content strategy to grow our user base. Even if a bunch of states go legal next year, it’ll still be not even 50 percent of the country that can do sports betting. But that will change over time, so our job is to make sure we have the best products, the most customer engagement, and the most brand loyalty for when it does.”