Big Bets Backfire for Sportsbooks in NJ

Big Bets Backfire for Sportsbooks

  • FanDuel is one again in the news over disputes on whether or not they are responsible to payout winnings to bettors.
  • Legal sports betting is still new to the US but UK Sportsbooks have been tangled in similar controversies. 
  • Cases like these may have ramifications for sportsbooks attempting to move into new states.
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In a situation that unfortunately has become not uncommon a major sportsbook in NJ is once again refusing to pay out winnings to a bettor. The sportsbook claims that the odds were posted by mistake and is attempting to claim that they should not be responsible for the payout. The matter is being investigated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement who declined to comment.

Fanduel on the Hook for Over $200,000

Several bettors from New Jersey and Indiana who bet on Soccer games in July are reporting that FanDuel is refusing to payout their winning bets or to even communicate about the winnings that they say they are due.

Most of the bets occurred between July 12-15th and had to do with odds that were unusually favorable to the bettors.

In one instance reported by ESPN a bettor from NJ placed a $5,360 bet in person with FanDuel and then a follow-up bet of $4,640, both of which were on Cincinnati to win an MLS game. Cincinnati went on to win that game and when the bettor went to collect his winnings he was told by sportsbook staff that his winnings had been placed on hold and that he would be receiving a call about the situation.

Three weeks later and the bettor claims he still has had no communication from FanDuel about his winning bets.

The odds listed by FanDuel for the MLS game at +5 were far more favorable than other sportsbooks were offering at +1. It seems around 50 separate bettors noticed the favorable odds and placed wagers on them. Nearly all of the bets placed won leaving FanDuel on the hook for the bill.

A Repeated Behavior of Refusing Payouts.

This isn’t the first time that FanDuel has made headlines with incorrect game odds. In September of last year during an NFL game the live odds were updated incorrectly from -600 to a startling +75,000. That is 750-1 underdog! The odds were only listed for 18 seconds but that was enough for the damage to be done.

FanDuel attempted to say that they shouldn’t be responsible for the bets won in that time, claiming that it was a glitch, but eventually paid out the bets for a figure of around $200,000.

Old World vs New World Sports Betting

Sports betting may be new to the USA but the industry has been alive and well in the UK for many years. bet365, a giant in the world of sportsbooks has been in the news several times over refusals to payout large sum winnings to bettors.

Last year Bet365 privately settled a case against a bettor who wagered nearly $32,000 on several horse races. After winning nearly all of the bets the sportsbook was on the hook for around $1.3 million.

The sportsbook delayed for several years and only settled the matter after the bettor had taken them to court.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Sports Betting?

In a country like the US where legal sports betting is still such a new industry and where many states have yet to legalize image is everything. If states that haven’t yet made the decision to legalize see that sportsbooks are engaging in legal battles over their winnings then that can’t be good for optics.

US Sportsbooks should tread carefully when disputing payouts so as not to damage their image in states they hope to one day operate in. This may be why FanDuel has until now ended up paying out these errors.


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