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FanDuel mistakenly takes a long-shot bet, refuses to pay off

Michael David Smith

As legal sports betting expands across America, more bettors than ever before are placing legal wagers. And in theory, that should make gambling more reliable: A bookie might disappear and stiff you if he owes you a small fortune, but a legal, regulated business shouldn’t.

Unfortunately for a bettor in New Jersey, legal, regulated businesses don’t always pay off either.

FanDuel accidentally listed the Broncos at 750-1 odds at one point during Sunday’s game, and a fan who noticed that put in a $110 bet. The Broncos won, which should have meant the bettor was owed $82,500.

But FanDuel says it obviously didn’t mean to list the Broncos at such long odds, shouldn’t have accepted the bet, and won’t pay it off.

“The wager in question involved an obvious pricing error inadvertently generated by our in-game pricing system,” FanDuel said in a statement.

The bettor, Anthony Prince, says when he tried to collect his $82,500, he was offered $500 and skybox seats for three Giants games. He says a FanDuel employee told him he was lucky to get even that.

“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?’” Prince told 12 News New Jersey.

It’s easy to see where FanDuel is coming from: If some glitch in a system accidentally lists odds at 1 trillion-to-one, and someone wins a bet at those odds, it would seem silly to say FanDuel should be forced to declare bankruptcy because of a glitch. But it still feels like Prince is getting a raw deal. He placed a bet. FanDuel took his money. And then they informed him they weren’t paying. What good is legalizing and regulating betting if problems like this can’t be prevented?