Sportsbook Review has offered a free dispute mediation service since 1999. Thousands of complaints have been submitted by players over the years involving a variety of issues: slow-pays, customer service issues, bonus complaints, or wagering complaints. One of the most common wagering complaints involves voided bets on "bad lines".
In-play or live betting produces many such complaints. Most seasoned sports bettors know that if a line is substantially off-market, or even a key number or two different than what the market is offering, sportsbooks will cancel the bets nine times out of ten, and in some cases correct to the fair market price.
A sports bettor in Newark learned this the hard way recently, after believing he won a staggering $82,610 when the Denver Broncos defeated the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. With approximately 70 seconds left remaining in the game and the Broncos trailing 19-17, he wagered $110 at the odds of 750 to 1 that the Broncos would win the game. The Broncos scored a field goal and won 20-17.
FanDuel voided the bet on account of it being a bad line, meaning that the price they intended to offer was much less, in the neighborhood of 7.5 to 1 based on the game situation.
The player believes that he should have been paid the full value of his ticket. He shared his complaint with local newspaper News 12 in NJ.
“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,” the player said.
FanDuel's offer to the player
FanDuel offered the bettor $500 and skybox seats for three New York Giants games, but the player, identified as Anthony Prince by the NJ newspaper, refused to accept. The newspaper went on to say that the player plans to contact an attorney.
While there is an established industry standard for how online sportsbooks handle bets, new sports bettors that are wagering for the first time in their hometowns may not be as familiar with some of these precedents. Sportsbook Review pulled up FanDuel's terms and conditions to view their policy on bad lines.
FanDuel's rules pertaining to sportsbook wagering (related to bad lines) read as follows:
14. Errors & Suspected Errors
14.1. FanDuel Sportsbook makes every effort to ensure that no errors are made in prices offered or bets accepted. However, human and/or systems’ error may occasionally result in errors.
14.1.1. FanDuel Sportsbook reserves the right to correct any obvious errors and to void any bets placed where such errors have occurred.
14.2. In the case of any blatant errors in prices transmitted (including for example where the price being displayed is materially different from those available in the general market and/or the price is clearly incorrect, depending on all of the circumstances), bets will be settled at the correct price at the time of acceptance (or the Starting Price in the case of horse-racing, whichever is the greater). If a bet is accepted by us on an event where offering a price on the event itself (rather than the price) was in error, the bet will be void and your stake will be returned.
SBR Forum Reaction
Most SBR Forum posters echoed the book's position that this was clearly an erroneous line and should have been voided, though some posters believe that in regulated markets all bets should stand. The discussion is sure to continue as this case, if heard by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement or local courts, could be a landmark one for the nascent sports betting industry in New Jersey.