Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting And Sports: FanDuel Fiasco Wrap, Congress ComingBy Brett Smiley | Published: September 21, 2018 at 3:37 pm
It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).
Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.
Takeaways on FanDuel Sportsbook Fiasco; Sports Betting Hearing on Capitol Hill Set for Next Week, Destination and Objectives Largely Unknown
A lot has happened this week, which has become the norm, and probably will remain so until the end of time. The top headline this week concerned the ticketing “glitch” at the FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. It became a full-fledged national mainstream media story.
If you’re here, you know the facts by now, but let’s quickly recap: A man named Anthony Prince placed a bet over the counter at +75000 odds on the Broncos to defeat the Raiders at a time when the actual odds posted should have been -600. He wagered $110 to win about $82,000. The Broncos won the game. FanDuel said they would not pay Prince the money, calling the odds a technical error (with some human error, too). They initially offered him $500 and Giants tickets (value descending) instead of the $18 he’d have won at -600. Prince lawyered up.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement began an investigation and although FanDuel may have been able to avoid paying the man (there were others who took advantage of the erroneous line that lived for 18 seconds) under regulations and house rules, the DGE may have pressured FanDuel to resolve the dispute by just paying Prince — to avoid a bad look so early into the growth process of New Jersey’s new sports betting market. On Thursday FanDuel reversed course and will pay that man his money, ultimately, a public relations move that may benefit the company overall.
During the week, FanDuel faced a spectrum of critics in Nevada — from consumers, Broncos kicker Brandan McManus who booted the winning field goal, industry folks and generally those who believe that tickets ought to be honored “as written.”
FanDuel also had many defenders who consider the error a fairly regular occurrence, noting that sometimes a sportsbook will offer a concession on smaller bets on faulty lines, at times voiding larger ones. A matter of discretion but ultimately defensible according to regulations, dubbed a palpable error (or a “palp”), depending on the jurisdiction. One prominent FanDuel defender was ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a sports media member who has long covered sports wagering, and who will be delivering the keynote address at the upcoming Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. He exchanged numerous remarks about it with folks on Twitter as well.
The case is now closed, as far as we know. There will be more like it, probably at FanDuel and elsewhere across the expanding number of legal sports betting states. We wrap this all up with some perspectives offered on Twitter with a coda by Van Pelt.
Pay The People!!! They put their hard earned money on me to win that game https://t.co/I7bJMj5ypd
— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) September 20, 2018
FanDuel got much more out of this than the 85k they paid, which they know from history: their biggest week in DFS came in the week AFTER the news that they got popped by the NY attorney general https://t.co/D83Yz8OXTd
— Joe Brennan Jr (@joebrennanjr) September 20, 2018
This should not be mistaken for precedent, because it won’t be that. What is it? A brand realizing that you can’t take a massive negative PR hit three weeks in when competing in a 6m adult population market that will have 30+ brands. https://t.co/70JC3UcmnI
— Chris Grove (@OPReport) September 20, 2018
knowing DGE Director David Rebuck, my unofficial translation: "FanDuel had the fear of God put in them & also realizes that the mountain of publicity now does flip from a big negative to a real positive by paying the man $82K for their botched odds" #SportsBiz https://t.co/k6wn38yHG8
— John Brennan (@BergenBrennan) September 20, 2018
I think FanDuel handled this appropriately today. Best case scenario for them was to turn this PR nightmare into a positive as soon as possible before this weekend's games. I know it was a tough spot but think they made right move all things considered.
— Matthew Holt (@MatthewHoltVP) September 20, 2018
Respect to @notthefakeSVP. In Gaming, it can’t be a subjective decision. The Vegas rule “tickets go as written” is a staple. We’ve paid out mistakes and guests have received the “wrong” tickets. Once they leave the window (or confirmed on mobile), it’s action. Long conversation https://t.co/uSc4Ipvon1
— Jay Kornegay (@JayKornegay) September 19, 2018
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) September 21, 2018
The Other Big Story: Congress Schedules “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America”
“My subcommittee will look at the implications of this SCOTUS ruling and talk about what it means for the integrity of sports as well as what sorts of improper or illicit activities could arise,” subcommittee chairman Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) told ESPN. “Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic federal framework is necessary to guide states’ new gambling policies.”
The two confirmed witnesses so far are Sara Slane, senior vice president of Public Affairs for the American Gaming Association and Becky Harris, per a Gambling Compliance report (subscription required), the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
“Legal, regulated sports betting will enable increased transparency and enhance protections for consumers and betting and game integrity,” Slane said. “We look forward to discussing the U.S. gaming industry’s core principles for legalized sports betting with the Judiciary Committee at next week’s hearing.”
Harris is also a former state senator and vice chair of Nevada’s Judiciary Committee. In this story, we speculate on the categories of other speakers and identify some possible witnesses.
Other Most Important Sports Betting and Gaming Stories of the Week:
SUPERBOOK: SuperBook heading outside Nevada; Westgate, Paragon taking brand to new sports betting markets [CDC Gaming]
NEW VENTURES: John Clayton launching premium football site with some gambling content [TBL]
CHAOS AND CORRUPTION: WV Lottery leadership is shored up by shifting John Myers after incumbents squeezed out [Metro News]
REGULATION: Iowa Lottery sees Delaware’s model for sports betting as a possibility [Radio Iowa]
ON THE AIR: Review: Fox Sports’ ‘Lock It In’ gambles on viewers’ appetite for betting content [US Bets]
MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WILL: Legal gambling expansion has sports worried about fighting the fix [AP]
PERSPECTIVES: DraftKings CEO: State by state sports betting regulation is safer [GI]
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: NJ Devils expect $5 million this year in sports betting deals [Bloomberg]
Elsewhere in the World of Sports, and Tweets of Note:
OFF THE SCHNEID: The Browns finally, mercifully win a football game: Breakdown [Cleveland]
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) September 21, 2018
ON THE MOVE: Athletics relocating Triple-A team to Las Vegas [MLB Trade Rumors]
THE ART OF PULLING: Colts’ Quenton Nelson breaks down the art of the pulling block [Athletic/Subscription]
ADVERSITY: LSU Receiver Derrick Dillon finally has his moment, but father wasn’t there to see it [NOLA]
JOURNALISM: Agenda-driven reporting doesn’t open new minds [BSM]
NFL MVP Venn Diagram pic.twitter.com/h1rRjCifk3
— Mike Goldfarb (@MikeGoldFool) September 16, 2018
— Matt Shifman (@AndyScoggin) September 20, 2018
Jets-Browns pulled in 8.6 million viewers and was NFL Network's highest rated and most watched Thursday night game since December of 2015.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 21, 2018