DraftKings Sports Betting Championship Marred by Technical Glitches Again

  • Some contestants could not place bets or had limited stakes available to them
  • DraftKings decided to end the event a day early and made sure to return $10,000 buy-ins
  • Contestants could still receive prizes from the $2m guaranteed prize pool
  • DraftKings’ 2019 SBNC was also marred by technical issues, leading to a lawsuit
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The DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship was marred by technical issues over the weekend which led to many unhappy customers. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A variety of complaints

DraftKings had to deal with numerous glitches during its sports betting competition over the weekend, leading to a number of complaints.

The US sportsbook giant’s Sports Betting National Championship (SBNC) began in-person on Friday in Weehawken, New Jersey, as well as online in ten other states. It didn’t take long for technical glitches to occur, leading to many contestants complaining over Twitter:

Certain gamblers could not make any bets on Friday, while others had a $1 wager cap in place. Then there were some individuals who could place wagers as normal. The signup process also came in for criticism, with some users deeming it overly complicated. As a result of the technical issues, many called upon the sports betting operator to suspend the event.

This isn’t the first time the company has experienced issues with the betting competition, with technical glitches in 2019 leading to an expensive lawsuit for DraftKings.

Making everyone whole

To enter the SBNC, customers had to pay a $10,000 buy-in. Of this sum, $5,000 went towards a contestant’s bankroll, $4,500 went into the $2m prize pool, and $500 went to DraftKings. The top prize was $1m.

On Saturday, DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello took to the television network owned by the operator, VSiN, to try to ease the concerns of contestants:

Avello confirmed that anyone who went bust the previous night would remain out of the contest, but they would receive a refund of their $10,000 entry fee. Meanwhile, those people still in the event could continue betting on Saturday and were still eligible to win the prize money.

Gamblers who saw their bankroll drop below $10,000 on Saturday would not lose any money as DraftKings promised to pay them back the balance. The contest also finished a day earlier than planned due to the technical issues. This led to further grievances from contestants waiting to place their bets.

The ultimate result

A user called tuso323 ultimately claimed the $1m first place, also receiving a ticket to the DraftKings Sportsbook’s Tournament of Champions – a competition offering more than $100m in prizes.

35% took part in New Jersey

Of the 215 people who entered the SBNC this year, 35% took part in New Jersey, 18% in Pennsylvania, 12% in Colorado, and 11% in Michigan. Other states eligible for this event included Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

As part of the SBNC this year, contestants were only able to place pre-game wagers on college football, NBA, and NFL games. They had to bet at least $1,000 over the course of the tournament to be eligible for the prizes. The players could keep their final bankroll.

Persistent SBNC issues

DraftKings also had to deal with technical issues during the Sports Betting National Championship in 2019. Issues arose when certain contestants could not place bets on the final day of the competition. Two contestants ended up overtaking the gambler in first place after he was unable to place wagers on the Sunday.

A lawsuit sought refunds for each of the 260 contestants who had paid $10,000 to enter the event, along with punitive damages. Last year, DraftKings came to a settlement over the case, agreeing to pay out $102,000.

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