A New Jersey sports bettor is more than $82k richer after the FanDuel Group agreed to pay his winnings despite an obvious software glitch.
On Thursday, the Associated Press broke the news that FanDuel had agreed to pay out $82,610 in disputed winnings to a bettor who’d wagered on last Sunday’s NFL tilt between the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos.
In case you’ve been trapped under something heavy these past few days, a bettor claimed to have been stiffed by staff at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s FanDuel Sportsbook, who refused to honor his late-game wager based on the company’s insistence that the odds were incorrectly offered.
Late in the game, FanDuel offered in-play odds of +340 on the Broncos coming back to defeat the Raiders. Shortly before the Broncos came on the field to attempt a last-minute 36-yard field goal, FanDuel’s odds on the Broncos winning inexplicably shifted to +75,000. During the 18-second period these odds were available, the book accepted a “small number of bets.”
When these bettors attempted to cash their winning tickets, FanDuel staff refused based on their belief that the stated odds were the result of a palpable error, which, under the book’s T&Cs, aren’t recognized as a winning wager.
Newark bettor Anthony Prince believed he was owed his $82k while FanDuel staff figured he was actually owed $18.35 under the correct odds. Staff made Prince a peacemaking offer of $500 and skybox seats for three New York Giants games, but Prince wasn’t having it, going on a Twitter rant that shone an uncomfortably bright media spotlight on America’s nascent legal sports betting market.
The online debate over which party was in the right reached peak nuttiness early Thursday, when Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (#8, pictured above), who booted Sunday’s game-winning FG, tweeted in support of Prince, saying: “Pay The People!!! They put their hard earned money on me to win that game”
Shortly thereafter, FanDuel hoisted the white flag, issuing a statement saying that, after consultation with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), it had agreed to pay the full amount owed to Prince and to all other bettors who’d wagered on the outsized odds.
FanDuel stressed that the “astronomical odds” offered on Denver’s win were “very obviously a pricing error,” which, while rare, “do happen.” The company said it recognized that “a lot of our customers are new to sports betting and were not familiar” with its house rules on how such errors are handled.
The company wants sports betting “to be fun” and doesn’t want “an 18-second error to define anyone’s experience … So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”
In an effort to transform this debacle into a marketing opportunity, FanDuel added that it would be adding $1k to the online accounts of 82 randomly selected customers this weekend. FanDuel also said it will work with the DGE “to improve our processes and procedures” but also to educate bettors on the rules and how they apply.
FanDuel may have set an awkward precedent for such errors, which are rarely decided in the punter’s favor in more mature betting markets. But the company’s Meadowlands operations were already licking their PR wounds after delaying punters’ payouts on a Tuesday night in July due to an apparent miscommunication with staff over timely access to the company safe.
FanDuel was strictly a daily fantasy sports business until earlier this year, when it was acquired by UK-listed gambling giant Paddy Power Betfair and merged operations with PPB’s US-facing business.