During the NFL AFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs in January, a technical glitch on the BetMGM online sportsbook platform ended up costing the operator more than $10,000.
A glitch, or perhaps a typo, resulted in the sportsbook offering rather attractive player prop bets on the two quarterbacks — Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes. BetMGM set an over/under of 300 passing yards for each. But the “3” in 300 was mysteriously absent, meaning bettors could place wagers on whether Mayfield and Mahomes would throw at least a yard.
Keen bettors pounced, with BetMGM reporting five customers making bets on the line. Another four did on Borgata’s online casino sportsbook, which is operated by BetMGM. MGM Resorts is the parent company to Borgata and BetMGM.
During that January NFL playoff game, in which the Chiefs went on to win despite Mahomes going out in the third quarter with a concussion, Mayfield threw for 204 yards. Mahomes threw for 255 yards, meaning bettors who took the over on either of the “00” yards line won.
BetMGM petitioned gaming regulators in New Jersey to allow the book to void the bets because of error. But the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) upheld the ticket slips and demanded the book to pay. The wins totaled around $10,000. The DGE threw in a $500 fine, too.
DGE Director David Rebuck said the fine is a “civil penalty for the failure to properly display a market in violation of a Division requirement.”
Sports Bettors Protected
When it comes to technical errors in online sports betting, gaming regulators in New Jersey have recently taken the side of the customer.
In 2018, a lucky bettor on FanDuel noticed that the book was offering 750/1 odds that the Denver Broncos would come back from a one-point deficit to beat the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos were down only a point, the game had less than a minute to go, and Denver was in field goal range. FanDuel later said the line was supposed to be 1/6.
After Broncos kicker Brandon McManus made the game-winning 36-yard field goal, the $110 ticket was worth $82,000. FanDuel initially refused to pay the bet. But amid an ongoing DGE investigation and public backlash, the sportsbook eventually did. The DGE said it “was encouraged by FanDuel’s actions.”
Last August, FanDuel petitioned the DGE to allow the book to void 11 soccer bets that won on what it claimed were erroneous lines. The DGE said the bets must be honored.
The DGE also recently warned sportsbooks that if they impede a customer from withdrawing their funds, they will face penalties.
“Patrons who request withdrawals have the right to receive their funds as expeditiously as possible,” Rebuck declared in January. “Operators should clearly understand that the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests for the purpose of resuming gaming activity.”
Different in Casinos
Each year, a slot machine malfunctions and displays a massive jackpot that excites the player. But unlike online sportsbooks, land-based casino games are typically protected from technical glitches.
Gaming terminals in licensed casinos traditionally come with the warning, “Malfunctions void all pays and plays.” And despite numerous lawsuits, courts have repeatedly sided with casinos, gaming manufacturers, and distributors in that malfunctions cancel supposed winning plays.
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