Bookie's stunning backflip over $113k bet debacle

A dangerous precedent has been set in the sports betting industry after a bookie made an astonishing decision following a $113,000 bet glitch.

Following a day of public outcry, New Jersey bookmaker FanDuel has completely flipped in its stance over a costly computer error, that led to one punter holding a betting slip worth AU$113,000, when it should have only been worth around $170.

On Thursday (AEST), FanDuel was doing its best to figure out how to not pay out NFL betting tickets on long-shot odds that it offered at a New Jersey race track, after a number of people capitalised on the error.

On Friday, after a discussion with state gambling regulators, FanDuel thought better of its refusal and backflipped, using the incident as a PR stunt but setting a dangerous precedent for the company and for the industry in America.

NO WAY: Punter misses out on $160K in cruel twist of fate

A number of lucky punters are cheering after FanDuel agreed to pay out bets at the ridiculous odds. Pic: Getty

FanDuel stops fight after talking to regulators

The company announced Thursday that it plans to pay 12 bettors who bought tickets at 750-1 odds (a $100 bet pays $75,000) on the Denver Broncos with about a minute remaining in their game with the Oakland Raiders as they approached field goal range trailing 19-17.

Those odds, of course, are ridiculous. FanDuel calculated after the fact that the eventual game-winning 36-yard field goal by Brandon McManus had an 85 percent chance of being good and would have warranted minus-600 odds (A $600 bet pays $100).

Brandon McManus made a few lucky bettors very happy on Sunday. (AP)

Brandon McManus kick worth big payout for lucky bettors

One bettor, Kevin Prince, acted fast when he saw the odds and bought a AU$150 ticket during the 18-second window that FanDuel said the erroneous odds were available. Eleven other bettors did the same, but at lower rates.

Why none of these gamblers bet the house — or at least a significant portion of the house — is unknown.

Had he received minus-600 odds, Prince’s $150 bet would have netted a tidy $20 profit. Instead he was holding a ticket valued at $113,000.

When he went to the window at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, he was refused payment and offered a consolation prize of $700 and skybox seats to three New York Giants games.

New Jersey bookmaker FanDuel is coming under fire for not paying out the huge bet. Pic: Getty

Punter told FanDuel ‘not obligated to pay for glitches’

“They said their system had a glitch in it and they’re not obligated to pay for glitches,” Prince told News 12 in New Jersey. “The other guy said, ‘You should take what we give you because we don’t have to give you [anything] at all.’

I said, ‘Wow, for real?’ The government is taxing it now so I thought it would be a better situation. You’d rather go to the corner bookies now. You’re not getting paid here.”

Online bettors Mike Guerriero and Chris Calcano had a similar experience on Sunday when they won a payout of US$56,000 on the same bet that showed up electronically on their account that they shared with News 12.

The next day, that payout had been adjusted to the 1-6 odds FanDuel calculated for a profit of less than $20, according to News 12.

FanDuel reverses course

The disputes led to the New Jersey gaming commission getting involved. By Friday (AEST), FanDuel reversed course on its take that it wasn’t obligated to make payouts when obvious errors are involved.

FanDuel COO Kip Levin said that all 12 customers who made wagers on with the erroneous odds online or in person would be paid in full.

FanDuel spit out a public relations take upon its defeat and seized on a marketing opportunity by promising to pay out $1,000 to accounts of 82 randomly selected bettors this upcoming weekend.

“Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be fun,” a FanDuel statement on Thursday read. “As a result of a pricing error this weekend, it wasn’t for some of our customers.”

Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be hugely profitable for the bookmakers, of course. FanDuel should have been wise enough from the start to realising eating losses based on the erroneous odds they laid was the right call before being told by state regulators.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is sacked by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

What was FanDuel thinking?

FanDuel, nor any other sports book, is going to be sympathetic to any obvious errors made by bookies at their windows. Betting is a two-way street.

And in an environment where sports betting has just become legal in several states, the last thing the industry needs is a major player refusing to pay out bets.

Fans divided over whether FanDuel should’ve paid out

Plenty of fans took to social media to blast FanDuel for not paying out the bet.

Others took the betting company’s side, most notably, SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt. (Watch SVP’s full rant in the video at the top of the page).

With Yahoo Sports