After initially refusing to honor a payment of $82,000 to a New Jersey man in light of a system error that resulted in faulty betting odds, FanDuel has ultimately decided that it will indeed pay the man the full amount due. The daily fantasy sports giant also announced that others that placed bets on the incorrect odds will also be paid in full.
Anthony Prince of Newark placed a bet on the Denver Broncos in the final moments of their game at 750-to-1 odds on Sunday to beat the Oakland Raiders. FanDuel initially declined to honor the full payment, citing an error in their system that resulted in incorrect odds at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The company argued that it was not required to make payments that were the direct result of an obvious error. FanDuel initially offered Prince $500 in addition to 3 tickets to an upcoming New York Giants game, an offer Prince wound up declining. Instead, he said he would be hiring an attorney and seeking the full $82,000 payout.
Rather than taking a terrible PR hit and getting into a nasty legal battle, FanDuel ultimately made the decision that paying Prince would be the best route. FanDuel’s statement, issued Thursday, said, “Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be fun. As a result of a pricing error this weekend, it wasn’t for some of our customers.”
They added, “A 36-yard field goal has approximately an 85 percent chance of success, so the astronomical odds offered on something highly likely to occur was very obviously a pricing error. These kinds of issues are rare, but they do happen. We want sports betting to be fun. So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”
Prince placed his $110 wager when the Broncos were driving in the final minutes of the game while trailing 19-17. Denver ultimately kicked a game-winning field goal with 6 seconds to play, capping a comeback and overcoming a 12-0 halftime deficit.
FanDuel says that the correct odds on the Broncos would have been 1-to-6, which means a better would have to wager $600 just to win $100 back. Prince was stopped by security when he went to the sportsbook’s betting window to collect his winnings.
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement spokesperson Kerry Langan said that the agency is “encouraged by FanDuel’s actions today. The division will continue to work with FanDuel and the state’s other licensed sports wagering operators to ensure the implementation of industry-wide test practices.”
There were 12 customers in all that took advantage of FanDuel’s 18-second computer glitch. FanDuel COO Kip Levin declined to say how much the company is paying out to the 12 customers, including Prince. FanDuel added that it will randomly add $1,000 apiece to 82 randomly-chosen accounts in light of the error.
This was really the first high-profile gaffe since New Jersey legalized and began to regulate sports betting a couple of months ago. Other states are expected to follow suit in order to get in on the burgeoning industry and revenue that comes with it. New Jersey was the state to challenge the United States’ federal ban on sports betting that was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court in May.
The notion that states could protect and regulate player money and winnings in order to get a piece of the pie was the primary impetus behind New Jersey’s case. In the state of Nevada, which used to be the only state in which sports betting was legal, mistakes in odds would result in the bookmaker having to contact the Nevada Gaming Control Board in order to launch an investigation. This is something that reportedly happens fairly often.
Some Nevada sportsbooks have chosen to pay out bets despite errors in the odds, but they would subsequently refuse to take bets from bettors who cashed in on the mistake in the future. In the United Kingdom, which is where FanDuel’s owner Paddy Power Betfair is based, mistaken odds are referred to as “palps” and the bet is typically voided.
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