FanDuel New Jersey Sports Betting Probe: Company Refused to Pay Out on $82,000 Bet

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
  • FanDuel refuses to pay on Broncos win over Raiders Sunday
  • Anthony Prince of Newark made $110 bet on Denver to win with a minute left in game at 750-1 odds and down two points
  • European bookmakers typically offer exorbitant odds on football clubs as a means of attracting new customers
  • One European book is offering Arsenal at 33/1 odds to beat Vorskla this week where all other books have Arsenal at 1/7 to 1/10 odds

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One of New Jersey's first free standing sportsbooks, and its only sportsbook in the Meadowlands, is under investigation by New Jersey gambling regulators after they refused to pay out more than $82,000 to a man who was given exorbitant odds for the Denver Broncos to win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Anthony Prince of Newark made his bet and was handed a ticket at incredible 750-1 odds with about a minute left in the game, as the Broncos trailed by 2 points on their final drive. Denver kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left to win 20-19, capping a second half comeback that started with the Broncos down 12-0. pay out more than $82,000 to a man who was given exorbitant odds for the Denver Broncos to win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

FanDuel claims its system should have calculated the odds at 1-6, meaning the payout should have just been $100 and the risk $600. Prince placed a $110 bet and was denid the $82,000 based on the odds given.

“A small number of bets were made at the erroneous price over an 18 second period. We honored all such bets on the Broncos to win the game at the accurate market price in accordance with our house rules and industry practice, which specifically address such obvious pricing errors,” FanDuel said in its statement. “We have reached out to all impacted customers and apologized for the error.”

The Associated Press notes that “the idea that player money and winnings would be protected and regulated by the state has been a major selling point among sports betting supporters who contrasted legal gambling with shady offshore betting sites where players often have little recourse in disputes.”

That's not necessarily the case.  Offshore sportsbooks have more often done "the right thing" by paying out on questionable bets. 

While it is implied that a bettor should know they are taking advantage of an obvious error such as New England +13 at home versus the Bills (the "+" sign accidentally in place of the "-" sign), payout odds are not always easy to discern as an error in price. 

In fact, those betting sports for the first time do not always understand the difference between the "+" and "-".  We here at Gambling911.com are regularly asked by individuals if they can bet on a specific team for X amount of dollars without even knowing about a spread.  Bookmakers are likely to honor the wager from a new customer for the minimum bet.  The newbie typically does not bet more than $20 on his or her first bet. This should be a common occurrence with New Jersey sportsbooks considering so many first time gamblers are joining the fray thanks to aggressive advertising in the region.  

Getting back to the payout odds, many of the European bookmakers offer exorbitant odds as a means to reel in new bettors or existing customers to re-deposit funds.

This week, Euro bookmaker Sports Nation was offering odds on Arsenal to beat Vorskla at 33/1, resulting in a US$3300 win with a US$100 bet.  Across the board, the odds on Arsenal were set between 1/7 and 1/10 for a US$100 win on a US$700 bet.

Paddy Power, which owns FanDuel, has a history of paying out on bets before they are even declared as winners. 

They also paid out on Hillary Clinton bets to become the next U.S. President in 2016, costing the bookmaker $5 million.

Even the most savvy of sports bettors could be led into believing payout odds such as those offered by FanDuel are being offered as a gimmick. 

Denver winning was hardly a guarantee at the 1-minute mark either.  In fact, Brandon McManus kicked a 36-yard field goal just inside the right upright with 6 seconds left, capping a comeback from a 12-point second-half deficit.  That one just barely got in.

David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said the agency is investigating whether there are grounds to compel FanDuel to pay Prince the stated payout of $82,000. He added the agency is looking “just as importantly @ how it occurred given internal controls exist to prevent such an error. Those findings might also result in the need for further action.”

FanDuel's sportsbook is just a half hour outside some parts of Manhattan.  It took in $3 million in its first full month in August and quickly became the most popular sports book in New Jersey.

FanDuel declined to say how many bets were made at the incorrect odds.

Prince said FanDuel offered him $500 and some tickets to future New York Giants games, adding he should take the offer because they’re not obligated to give him anything.

“I said, ‘Wow, for real?’” Prince said. “You’d rather go to the corner bookies now; you’re not getting paid here.”

Assuming he does ultimately get paid out, Prince will be required to pay somewhere in the area of $9020 in taxes owed to the state of New Jersey. The so-called "shady" offshore sportsbooks are pushing the fact that they don't impose any tax on winnings, not to mention some of them, like Bookmaker.eu, have been in business now for 30+ years, the average is 20.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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