Welcome to the second annual Oopsies, “celebrating” the mistakes, foibles, unforced errors, and downright embarrassments in the year of sports betting.
And now, without further ado, please take your seats and direct your attention to the stage. We tried to get Billy Crystal to host, but he was busy. Ladies and germs, The Oopsies.
No betting for you
First up, we bring you the athletes and assorted hangers-on who decided to flaunt, break, or otherwise ignore the rules laid down for them by the government or, more importantly, the leagues they play for. In short, it’s easier to cut a deal with the feds than with Roger Goodell.
The gold medal winner in this division is undoubtedly Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for the 2022 NFL season back in March for (badly) betting on his own team during the 2021 season when he was on the shelf. He’s since been traded from the sorry Atlanta Falcons to the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. All’s well that ends well, we suppose.
Breaking: The Falcons are trading suspended WR Calvin Ridley to the Jaguars, a source confirmed to @AdamSchefter.
The news was first reported by XLX10 Radio. pic.twitter.com/lp5Guu5h1Q
— ESPN (@espn) November 1, 2022
The runners-up? It’s a list.
- The UFC in general, for somehow thinking it was OK to let fighters and assorted hangers-on legally wager on the outcome of fights. This was highlighted in August when former fighter and current trainer James Krause bragged about how much money he makes betting on fights. This was followed by the UFC deciding, “Hey, maybe that’s not the best idea,” and banning the practice. This was followed by a controversial fight involving one of Krause’s fighters, which led to Krause getting suspended and Canadian regulators losing their minds.
- Yasiel Puig, last seen blasting home runs for the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization, got himself entangled in some allegedly illegal betting activity. No one’s accusing him of betting on MLB games while he was an active player, just betting with a run-of-the-mill bookie. And then he may or may not have lied to federal investigators.
- And then there’s poor Miles Austin, who found out that if you’re employed by the NFL, you’re not allowed to bet on anything, ever, no questions asked. The Jets coach was suspended for a year for allegedly betting a few bucks — legally — here and there on the NBA. If he was a player, he’d be allowed to do this, but not as a coach. Or as a secretary, for that matter.
States’ rights (and wrongs)
California? More like Califor-not, amirite? One sports betting measure failed at the ballot box despite $49.2 bazillion* (*estimated) being spent by the sports betting industry in an effort to tie the plight of the homeless to USC frat bros being able to get down on 12-team parlays.
It was one of the worst losses in California ballot initiative history. But wait, there’s more! Another sports betting measure, which would’ve given the state’s tribes all the land-based action, also failed. Back to the drawing board.
California drawing the line at legal sports betting is hilarious.
Can take heroin in state approved clinics but can’t take TCU +7 this weekend legally.
— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) November 9, 2022
Meanwhile, yay for Ohio for finally getting sports betting off the ground and planning for a midnight launch on Jan. 1! But maybe planning the launch for literally midnight isn’t the best idea, and it was made even more foolish-looking when it was announced that THE Ohio State would be playing its national title semifinal game on … Dec. 31.
Legal sportsbooks launch in Ohio on Jan. 1 at midnight. Ohio State faces Georgia in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET.
That’s unfortunate timing. https://t.co/moBSLLVE3r
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) December 5, 2022
Save the children
A FanDuel bettor won the most improbable parlay in history, and that’s not hyperbole. They bet the Rams to beat the 49ers 20-17 in the NFC Championship Game and the Bengals to beat the Chiefs 27-24 in the AFC Championship game. That’s right: The bettor correctly predicted both scores, turning a $20 bet into over $579,000.
$20 → $579K 🤯🤯🤯
There's 𝗡𝗢 𝗪𝗔𝗬. There's just 𝗡𝗢 𝗪𝗔𝗬.
The most 𝗜𝗡𝗦𝗔𝗡𝗘 parlay you'll ever see, guaranteed.
(via IG / jetthonig_) pic.twitter.com/PrkaYvD7vJ
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 31, 2022
Only problem? The winning bettor might have been a kid.
DraftKings — and, to a lesser extent, FanDuel — both got hacked. In DraftKings’ case, over 67,000 accounts were exposed to the breach.
"In a data breach notification filed with the Main Attorney General's office, DraftKings disclosed that the data of 67,995 people was exposed in last month's incident."
DraftKings warns data of 67K people was exposed in account hacks https://t.co/DkheOUSTgx
— Alfonso Straffon 🇨🇷🇺🇸🇲🇽 (@astraffon) December 19, 2022
And while this was not the fault of DraftKings, and even though the sportsbook made everyone who was affected square, it was still a PR nightmare, mostly because DraftKings declined to issue a simple “Hey, we’re overwhelmed here, and while we’re doing our best, it’s gonna take some time” type of release. Instead, they put users through the customer service wringer for weeks at a time.
Woj bomb misses
Information markets are this author’s favorite way to bet, and the NBA Draft is no exception. This year, the 12 hours leading up to “with the first pick of the 2022 NBA draft” were insane, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out who he believed were going to be the first three picks in the draft — including Jabari Smith going No. 1.
Paolo Banchero was the favorite to go first before that tweet, with odds as short as -230. Post-tweet? Smith’s odds went to -10000 and Banchero’s to well over +400.
As the day wore on, Banchero ate away at those odds. And then, moments before the draft, Woj tweeted that Banchero was now likely to go No. 1, and his odds went from +320 at 7:35 p.m. to -115 at 7:56 p.m. to -5000(!) at 7:58 p.m. at FanDuel.
In the end, plenty of bettors were left holding the empty Smith bag. As always, nobody knows anything.
Woj was 100% wrong this morning.
Vegas knew it was Paolo yesterday.
“Increasingly firm” pic.twitter.com/M7eHu46by5
— junes (@junesfoshiz) June 23, 2022
Dave Portnoy enters the chat
We could probably fill a novella with Portnoy-related stuff, and the fact he simply exists is causing Massachusetts lawmakers — long known as upstanding citizens themselves — to get their panties in a bunch over granting PENN Entertainment (Barstool Sportsbook‘s owner) an online sports betting license.
Oh, and Portnoy was also the “star” of a New York Times hit piece, detailing how he is basically the worst person on the planet.
But Portnoy’s only* (*estimated) true misstep was going on the offensive against James Salinas, widely considered one of the good guys in the gambling space, after Salinas got limited (in a particularly unseemly way) at a Barstool-branded sportsbook in Colorado.
Salinas told the story on VSiN, and Portnoy — never one to shy away from controversy — responded with a “f**k that guy” on The Dave Portnoy Show With Eddie and Co. on May 11.
Imagine for a second a prominent brand ambassador and the face of a Sportsbook saying “fu*k that guy” about one of the nicest individuals (@roundingagain) in the industry. Quite the hill to die on and one reason why the bookie/bettor relationship is at an all-time low 🤦♂️ https://t.co/HJwrDlI6Te
— Jeffrey Benson (@JeffreyBenson12) May 11, 2022
There are plenty of guys in the gambling world probably deserving of a “f**ck that guy,” but Salinas ain’t one of ‘em.
Speaking of The New York Times
The Gray Lady wrote a huge article about how disgusting the lobbying industry is. Only problem? It wasn’t about the lobbying industry. It was about the sports betting industry, and it made it look like sports betting operators were the slimiest capitalists in the world, as if every single industry that operates for profit isn’t doing whatever it can to maximize profits.
In the end, though, it had — and continues to have — an effect, with New York legislators now seeking to curtail bonusing and the aforementioned Massachusetts lawmakers turning Dave Portnoy into Vegas Dave. (Don’t @ me about how they’re not that far apart, please.)
ESPN sportsbook finally opens!
Actually, it didn’t. And now, with Bob Iger back in the saddle at Disney, no one is holding their breath for it to happen — unless Iger jettisons the brand. Stay tuned.
$DKNG ESPN Confirms Delay In Sports Betting Launch As Iger Conducts Strategic Review – SH
Potential sportsbook deal is 'not imminent' while Disney CEO adjusts to his return to the company
— Oracle (@OracleNYSE) November 30, 2022
Fubo, MaximBet, TwinSpires — we hardly knew ye. Ya? Youse? Whatever. They all went kaput or got in line to do so. Begun the Clone War has.
Wait. No. That’s not right. Begun the Consolidation War has. There we go.
Gadoon “Spanky” Kyrollos found himself as one of Sporttrade’s biggest bettors, and then, just as quickly, found himself not being allowed to bet on Sporttrade’s exchange. Why? Because Bally’s, which holds Sporttrade’s license in New Jersey, doesn’t want to be associated with him.
Best guess as to why? Well, there was a (dismissed) money laundering charge against Spanky from nearly a decade ago, but the more likely reason is because Spanky enjoys shining a light on questionable actions by the books.
Either way, Spanky got spanked.
Major League Baseball players Joc Pederson and Tommy Pham are in a high-stakes fantasy football league together. Well, at least they used to be in the same league, as Pham — during batting practice before a Reds-Padres game — slapped Pederson upside the head over an unsettled beef over injured reserve rules. Major League Baseball players: They’re just like us!
BREAKING: 96.3/92.5 The Big Jab has obtained exclusive rights to a never before seen video of Tommy Pham slapping Joc Pederson (via Chad McCormack’s sources) #JocPederson #Pham #tommypham #Joc @MorningJab @MannixBrothers @ThePMJab pic.twitter.com/0oXBwDDRdH
— Chad McCormack☎️ (@mccormack_chad) May 28, 2022
And finally, if there was a “Biggest Oopsie” Award (and there should be), it would undoubtedly go to …
Somehow, some way, the marketing team at PointsBet thought it was a good idea to fake the death of Drew Brees in a phony lightning strike in order to promote the company’s very real Lightning Bets feature.
PointsBet is not commenting on report/video that Drew Brees was hit by lightning while shooting a commercial for them in Venezuela. https://t.co/Rxw6KKOeJn
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 2, 2022
Now if only the sportsbooks would get together and actually kill all their highly annoying ads (except for the Cooper Manning spots with Caesars), well, then we’d be in business, wouldn’t we?
Until next year, sports betting industry. Let’s try to avoid those fields filled with rakes, m’kay?