In a 3-2 vote this morning, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ruled that DraftKings would have to pay $12,547 to bettors who placed wagers on incorrect game totals set for an Oct. 24 NBA matchup between the Lakers & Nuggets. This amount is 3x the $4,182 that was initially wagered on markets featuring these erroneous odds. Had nothing been voided, DraftKings’ liability for these bets would have been $575,336.
Miscommunication Leads to Errant Odds
The incorrect game totals were posted as a result of an error on behalf of DraftKings’ third-party same game parlay vendor SportsCast. Prior to the game, DraftKings engineers noticed they were only able to render first quarter SGP markets. Thus, SportsCast’s first quarter markets were then briefly displayed as full-game markets — creating a clear inefficiency in these markets.
Most mobile sportsbooks, for example, had LeBron James’ points over/under listed at around 23.5 points for the night. DraftKings, however, had his point total listed at 8.5 — a line indicative of his projected first quarter point total. James finished the game with 21 points.
178 bets by 137 individuals were ultimately placed on bets with these odds in the state of Massachusetts — each as a part of a same game parlay.
Following the error, SBC Americas editor Jessica Welman posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that DraftKings has shifted over to an in-house odds provider on these NBA bets since the event.
In total, these odds were available for 13 minutes before DraftKings became aware of the mistake and removed such offerings.
In response to all the information that was presented, Eileen O’Brien of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission — one of the two individuals who voted against voiding the bets along with fellow MGC member Brad Hill — expressed her belief that blame lies primarily with DraftKings.
“I’m concerned that the vendor that caused the mistake caused a similar prior mistake this past year. You made a risk assessment to go with that vendor moving forward,” O’Brien said.
The “mistake” that O’Brien refers to is a case in New York whereby DraftKings had to void $300,000 in winnings as a result of an inaccuracy that displayed a bet that should’ve been priced at +100 as a bet that was priced at +3500.
DraftKings Issues Bonus Bets Following Blunder
Following the event, DraftKings Sportsbook began issuing bonus bets into the account’s of consumers they believe did not intentionally take advantage of the incorrect odds. In most cases, this amounted to $500 in bonus bets for such individuals.
Moreover, DraftKings referred to those who did try to abuse the “obvious error” in their odds information as an “undesirable segment” of the betting public. Had the $575,336 liability been realized, Massachusetts would have lost approximately $115,000 in tax revenue as a result of such a drop in operator hold — i.e., the percentage of total betting handle that an operator maintains in revenue.
As previously mentioned, today’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission decision will require DraftKings to compensate each user who took advantage of the incorrect information 3x their initial stake. While not the full liability, it is more than that which has been required in states such as Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming — all of which have voided wagers.
DraftKings customers in Connecticut will recieve the totality of their expected winnings, while New Jersey has yet to make a formal decision on the matter.