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Massachusetts Mulling over DraftKings’ Request to Void 178 Bets Placed on Incorrect Totals

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Nov 16, 2023 · 5:28 PM PST

  • DraftKings requested that 178 bets taken on an October NBA matchup be voided
  • The sports betting operator said a same game parlay vendor posted incorrect game totals for 13 minutes
  • 137 customers placed bets for a total handle of $4,182 with a potential total liability of $575,436 for DraftKings

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is mulling over a request from DraftKings to void 178 bets taken on an NBA matchup last month after the sportsbook operator identified that incorrect same game parlay totals had been used for the game.

The 178 bets were placed by 137 customers on an Oct. 24 Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets matchup. DraftKings incorrectly posted first-quarter over/under totals as full game totals and customers took advantage to the tune of more than $575,000 in winnings.

A final decision on the request will be made during the commission’s Nov. 30 meeting.

Is It An Obvious Error?

Jake List, Senior Director of Regulatory Operations for DraftKings, reported that a miscommunication from the the company’s third-party SGP vendor, Sportcast, led to the mistake. DraftKings representatives informed Sportcast it could not translate first-quarter SGP markets for the game. Sportcast, however, still sent the first-quarter SGP markets over to the sports betting operator and they were incorrectly identified on the platform as full-game markets.

For example, LeBron James’s full-game over/under totals were listed as 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. Those over/under totals should have been listed as first-quarter totals. Incorrect totals were listed for a number of athletes involved in the matchup, not just James.

These incorrect totals were available not just in Massachusetts, but also in other states where DraftKings is licensed.

Unlike other states or jurisdictions, Massachusetts requires that a sports betting operator must request to void a bet through the gaming commission. It cannot void bets without MGC approval, which is why DraftKings requested the hearing.

The markets were open for 13 minutes until DraftKings noticed the error. A total of $4,182.36 was placed on the incorrect markets in Massachusetts alone and they carry a total liability of $575,336 for DraftKings. The bets are currently in a “pending” status and no customers have been paid out or refunded in the commonwealth.

List described the incorrect totals as an “obvious error.” Multiple customers noticed the incorrect totals and spread them on social media, List noted, and parlayed multiple markets for big payouts.

“This is a truly exceptional circumstance. I believe these type of regulations exist for truly exceptional circumstances. It does make sense for operators to have some type of protection for this scenario. This circumstance did not only effect Massachusetts,” he said.

List also noted that several other jurisdictions have allowed DraftKings to void the bets. When asked which jurisdictions, List said he would provide the commissioners with that information in an executive session.

More Information Necessary

Despite several commissioners saying they were leaning towards allowing DraftKings to void the bets, the commission eventually decided to push the conversation to its next meeting on Nov. 30.

Commissioner Brad Hill said he was ready to vote in the affirmative to allow the sports betting company to void the bets.

“I think this was an obvious mistake. I have no problem voiding this bet…overall, it was clearly an obvious  mistake in my view. I don’t see why we would not at this point void this,” he said.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said she was not convinced by DraftKings’ reasoning to void the bets. An incorrect price is not enough of a reason to simply void the bets, she said, and DraftKings must effectively prove that it’s in the best interest of the commonwealth and the integrity of the sports betting industry to void the bets.

She also noted that if certain DraftKings customers reached out and were provided bonus bets or other incentives for the wait on their pending wagers, then every single customer should receive the same treatment.

Commissioner Nakisha Skinner, who said she was leaning in favor of allowing DraftKings to void the bets, also asked if there was an indemnity clause between DraftKings and Sportcast. If one is present, the bets could be paid out and the party responsible for the error would be required to pay out the winnings.

Additionally, the commission has requested a full list of other jurisdictions where the bets were placed and if they were voided or not.

A final vote on the matter will likely take place during the MGC’s Thursday, Nov. 30 meeting.

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