For one New Jersey bettor, the Denver Broncos were a long shot too good to be true.
New Jersey bookmaker FanDuel declined to honor a $110 bet on the Broncos on Sunday that would have paid more than $82,000, due to an error in the oddsmaking process, the company said.
"The wager in question involved an obvious pricing error inadvertently generated by our in-game pricing system," a FanDuel spokesperson said in a statement.
The bettor, who identified himself to News 12 New Jersey as Anthony Prince, placed the wager over the counter at the sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack with Denver trailing the Oakland Raiders 19-17 late in the fourth quarter.
After quarterback Case Keenum completed a pass down to the Oakland 18-yard line, putting the Broncos in comfortable field goal range, FanDuel attempted to update the live betting odds to reflect Denver as a -600 favorite. However, according to the company, an error in the live-odds feed caused the Broncos to be posted as 750-1 (+75,000) underdogs to win the game.
Prince went to the counter, bet on the Broncos at the erroneous 750-1 odds and received a ticket that showed a potential payout of $82,610. At the correct odds of -600, he would have won a net $18.35.
Denver kicker Brandon McManus hit the 36-yard winning field goal with 10 seconds to play, giving the Broncos a 20-17 win, but when Prince went to the counter, he was told the bet would not be paid out at the 750-1 odds.
FanDuel instead offered to pay him around $500 and give him tickets to three New York Giants games. Prince declined to take FanDuel's offer and told News 12 New Jersey that he planned to hire an attorney.
"They said their system had a glitch in it and they're not obligated to pay for glitches," Prince told the TV station.
"A small number of bets were made at the erroneous price over an 18-second period," FanDuel said. "We honored all such bets on the Broncos to win the game at the accurate market price in accordance with our house rules and industry practice, which specifically address such obvious pricing errors. We have reached out to all impacted customers and apologized for the error."
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is investigating the matter. The sports betting regulations that are in place in New Jersey state: "A wagering operator shall not unilaterally rescind any wager ... without the prior approval of the Division."
FanDuel's house rules, however, state that "where a blatant or palpable error is made in offers made, prices offered or bets accepted or in the transmission of any event on which we have purported to offer Live Betting, bets may be settled at the correct price at the time at which the bet was placed, as determined by FanDuel Sportsbook."
Other jurisdictions with legal betting handle the issue differently.
In Nevada, mistakes in the odds are not uncommon and can occur multiple times a month at sportsbooks. If a similar dispute happened in Nevada, the bookmaker would be required to contact the Gaming Control Board in order to investigate the matter.
Some Nevada books have paid off bets that were placed on bad odds but then refused to take action from the bettors who took advantage of the mistakes in the future.
In the United Kingdom, where FanDuel owner Paddy Power-Betfair has operated for decades, mistakes in the odds are called palpable errors or "palps" and generally result in voiding the bet.