The player prop-focused daily fantasy sports platform ThriveFantasy has come under fire in recent weeks over widespread claims that the company has failed to honor user withdrawal requests. The company’s CEO, Adam Weinstein, attributes any delays to an ongoing investigation — in an unspecified number of cases — into a glitch on the platform that he says led to some users attempting to defraud the site.
The unhappy chatter about unprocessed requests for withdrawals stretches back to April and picked up in early May on Twitter, bleeding into app reviews on Apple and Google Play. The complaints generally contain iterations of this: A user requested withdrawal of funds, did not receive funds after a week or several weeks, contacted customer service, and got an evasive response or none at all. Some got paid after protracted finger tapping, while some inquired again to no avail.
Four former ThriveFantasy users who spoke to Sports Handle for this story stated that they did eventually receive their funds, but only and immediately after filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau or threatening to.
@ThriveFantasy Expect formal complaints to the BBB, AG and gaming board from me. Good luck.
— Matt Knudson (@m_knudson) May 22, 2021
“[Thrive] will 100% be paying out everyone who is authorized and who hasn’t broken any T’s and C’s (terms and conditions),” Weinstein told Sports Handle in a June 4 conversation.
In a follow-up exchange on June 8, Weinstein said that Thrive had “started closing out a lot of the cases,” adding that “all will be completed by the end of the week.” According to Weinstein, users who have had their withdrawals delayed “will all be notified this week and paid out, or denied if we found there were any wrongdoings.”
But it is unclear how many users have had their requests for withdrawals delayed by days, weeks, or more than a month, and likewise how many users Thrive is investigating or even what the investigation entails.
“There was a glitch in our system for about a couple of weeks,” Weinstein explained. “And some users took advantage of it, and we have to take a look into how much they’ve won and how much that affected the Prop Lobby.”
CEO explains ‘glitch,’ investigation
ThriveFantasy was founded in 2017 and is currently operational in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Its “Prop Lobby” is one component of the quasi-DFS, quasi-sports betting player prop site where users can pick multiple props (two, three, or four, basically a parlay) and compete against the house. The Prop Lobby offering contrasts with a more traditional salary cap-style DFS contest, or some scoring system involving a fantasy scoring formulation in which players compete against other players and the house takes a rake. Thrive also offers that style of contest across multiple sports, including eSports.
Weinstein provided an example of how a glitch might have been exploited by a user:
“For instance, tipoff is at 7 o’clock in the NBA. If you stayed on our website past 7 p.m., you could still click on those props and enter them as late as postgame. So you obviously knew exactly what occurred … so that’s what we’re taking a look at. I know what everybody is saying on social media. That will all be taken care of very soon.”
But beyond that, Thrive is guarded about what exactly or how many instances it is investigating. Multiple users told Sports Handle they were not contacted by ThriveFantasy about any alleged wrongdoing or terms violations. And Weinstein did not explicitly say the company contacted customers.
“We’re not disclosing what we’re finding or what we’re anticipating finding,” Weinstein said. “That’s just part of our T’s and C’s. And also we’re not going to be saying to these potential users who were trying to defraud us, that we’re going to be approving their withdrawal anytime soon.”
That leaves open the possibility that Thrive may deny payouts entirely, based on an alleged violation of site terms or upon some other criteria, perhaps with legal basis. Per Thrive’s terms and conditions on deposits and withdrawals:
“We also may conduct checks for Terms compliance, including anti-fraud checks on playing patterns and deposits prior to processing a withdrawal, and we may request additional information before permitting a withdrawal. Subject to such checks, you may close your account and withdraw your deposits and/or winnings at any time and for any reason.
One vocal critic of Thrive’s handling of player funds, who goes by @BAanalytics on Twitter, said “that’s bullshit about the past-post betting,” referring to users betting props/markets where play is underway, or were decided but are somehow still available for wagering. “I never saw anything like that.”
After protracted delays, he claims that he was paid the remaining balance in full on May 29, less than 24 hours after filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Weinstein understands the frustration, but he also indicated that a swath of users who did not even compete in the apparently compromised contest format — the Prop Lobby — is getting mixed up in delays or non-payments.
“If people are looking to go to the Better Business Bureau, we understand,” he said. “That is completely their right. We do look to expedite that process for them. Several of them weren’t even using the Prop Lobby. So those are the ones that we are fast-tracking to payment.”
But it is unclear why players competing only in contests, which apparently didn’t suffer from any glitch, would have their withdrawals held up by an unrelated investigation.
As of June 9, Thrive continues to run new contests and the Prop Lobby displays fresh, current lines. And all of the users Sports Handle discussed the matter with said that they liked the platform and had hoped it would and will succeed, but they said they simply couldn’t stand the delays or uncertainty of no payment at all.
One particular user who goes by Paulie on Twitter called Thrive out.
Why is @ThriveFantasy continuing to take deposits and run contests when they are unwilling to process withdrawals? It’s been a month since I requested my WD and nothing has happened. I haven’t gotten a response from support, Twitter DM or any of their employees that I messaged.
— Paulie (@friedeggpaulie) May 27, 2021
Paulie, who claims that he was playing in “contests only,” provided screencaps of his correspondence with the company regarding a withdrawal request for $6,000 made on April 25.
On June 8, he said that he got payment on that withdrawal, but as of June 9 he had not received any word about an investigation or explanation for the delay.
“I had reached out multiple times to support and have gotten no response,” he said on June 3, before getting his payout on June 8. “I also have reached out to a player rep contact to no avail. Also was able to email the CEO of Thrive and did not receive a response. So I went to Twitter to warn people about this situation. To me it’s pretty simple, they are running out of money. They keep running contests and taking deposits and don’t have a ton of users. I’m not sure how they have a high volume of withdrawals.”
Asked on June 4 about the suggestion that the company lacked the funds to pay out withdrawals, Weinstein flatly denied that. Now, he hopes Thrive will benefit from some patience.
“For the people who are not happy right now, bear with us,” he said. “This is an ongoing situation with literally hundreds of users who saw a way. And this goes with any sportsbook, with any daily fantasy. If a user can find a glitch and take advantage of it, they will try to exploit that as much as humanly possible. We get it on the operating side. I’ve been on the other side.”