Prop’s A Prop, Palp’s A Palp | Sports Betting News | LSR Podcast 208
What should happen when a sportsbook leaves up a line too long and bettors take advantage of the situation? Also, Fanatics begins streaming NFL games live inside its app and Florida regulators crack down on Underdog, PrizePicks, and Betr for “illegal bets.”
Matt Brown (00:12):
Hello, and welcome to episode number 208 of the LSR Podcast. My name is Matt Brown, I’m joined each and every week by the brightest minds in all of the gaming industry. With me, I have Dustin Gouker, I have Adam Candee. You can follow them over on the Twitter machine for absolutely free, @DustinGouker, @AdamCandee, two E’s, no Y. And if you hate yourself, you can follow me @MattBrownM2.
Got an interesting tweet come through a little bit before we were recording here, so we will discuss that. We’ll talk about some Fanatics stuff as well. But Dustin, kick us off with some stuff going on over at Barstool.
Dustin Gouker (00:44):
Zombie Barstool I guess is what we call this. This is uh-
Matt Brown (00:47):
The artist formerly known as Barstool, or whatever, whatever.
When a sportsbook leaves up a line too long and bettors take advantage
Dustin Gouker (00:51):
We have this weird time when Barstool’s not promoting their sportsbook, they’re not involved with it anymore. They’re still called Barstool Sportsbook, but we’re waiting for it to become ESPN Bet. Anyway, Zombie Barstool Sportsbook is having some problems with some bets that were taken and graded on the Giants-Cardinals game. Apparently, a bunch of markets were left open after the outcomes were already known, and that’s obviously a mess. This is, in the industry, known as a palpable error. We’ve seen lots of examples of this. But in the wake of this, lots of these bets were graded. People started trying to withdraw their money.
Then Penn Entertainment, parent company of Barstool Sportsbook, started stopping those withdrawals, started suspending accounts. And now, it’s a giant mess. And we’re, I think, still collecting information on exactly what this is. But it’s been a while since we had a mess of this nature, I think, in the US sports betting industry. And I think when you step back a little bit, this is when ESPN gets involved this is kind of getting messy. What if the game’s on ESPN and people are live betting this and they’re not getting their money, and they see a palp, and they don’t understand it. It’s one of those things where you step back and it’s like ESPN is going to be … They’re tied their name now to this sportsbook and this is the kind of mistake that got made and we have not seen, I don’t think, anything of this magnitude on an NFL game in quite some time.
Matt Brown (02:14):
So Adam, I am always pro player, I’m pro bettor, I bet a ton myself. But the error thing has always been just ridiculously obvious to me as to where it’s like, “No, they didn’t hang a bad line and you went in and you were able to hit a bad line.” Which by the way, even if you do that, it’s kind of like, “Hey, what do you think? You think they’re just going to let you come in and pick off bad lines and not punish you in some way, shape or form?” But this is just an actual true error, right? This is just something that should not happen. Basically you’re sitting here taking advantage of a book for having an error.
I get it. I mean, I am always pro player except in these really and truly egregious error things where it’s like, “What do you expect?” I mean, the market shouldn’t have been up. Yes, we don’t want technology to fail. Yes, we want the technology to be better to where we don’t ever have to deal with this stuff. But I mean it’s just reality, reality is there’s going to be errors sometimes. And the fact that you think you’re deserving of this money that you’re essentially getting for free because you already know the outcome, it just seems insane to me.
Adam Candee (03:20):
I think there are a few layers that we need to add to this as well, guys. Not only was this error found, this error was blasted out to a Discord, and the Discord received information to say, “Everybody go hammer this now.”
So there’s a big difference between, “I found a bad line and tried to take advantage of it,” to, “I amplified this to God only knows how many people and encouraged them to go take advantage of it. And then, full well knowing that we were exposing something, I went and pulled that money out as quickly as I possibly could because I knew that I probably was going to have that bet go against me in the long run.” And what we’ve heard from multiple regulators now, our Sam McQuillan’s been following this story. We heard it in Massachusetts yesterday, we’ve basically heard it from a handful of states as well, is that regulators are going to allow Barstool to ultimately void out these bets. Some of the people involved are upset because they had their account suspended.
Well, yeah. You’re violating the terms of service. That’s really not something that can be parsed out in some different way. If you get your money and you pull your money out and you got to keep your money, OK great, because this is how these errors tend to work out. It tends to work out where the book will give you the option to say, “Look, here’s the deal. You can keep your money and we’re never going to let you bet here again.”
Matt Brown (04:45):
Yeah. We don’t want your business.
Adam Candee (04:47):
Or if you want to keep playing here, then we will come to another solution. And so, I don’t think there’s anything wrong on either end. I think if the bettor wants to keep their money in that spot, they got their money out, they no longer have the money at the book, OK. But if the sportsbook wants to respond by saying, “You are not someone that we want here,” then I think that’s perfectly fair too.
Matt Brown (05:07):
Yeah. I mean, listen, I’m a guy that I’ve seen bad lines get posted before. I’ve seen where they posted the wrong team favorite and stuff on that, I’m the guy that tells the sportsbook. Because I mean, what’s the point, right? I mean, you go in and like you said, Adam, sure, if you want to get your few dollars out of this and you understand that you’re burning a relationship and torching an account, then fine. And if you want to wear that as a badge of honor, fine with that as well. But let’s just be realistic about this. You’re not owed the ability to bet on this sportsbook when you’re the guy that’s going to go in and exploit them on purpose.
I mean, it’s insanity to me that people want to jump up and down and go like, “No, your computer failed, so I should be able to get free money from you.” What do you mean? No, that’s not how it works. So anyway, this has always been cut and dry to me. I don’t know why there’s even an argument about it at all.
Adam Candee (05:57):
And Matt, just to add one layer to it, you talk about finding a bad line. You and I have lived this a couple of times very famously with the whole Danny Green incident, for anybody who’s listened to us talk about this before. But we found bad lines where we bet them, maybe we went and bet them a second time, and then they were taken down because the sportsbook knew that the bad line had gone up in error. And in the chance that I won the bet, which has happened, then I got to keep my money. I did not exploit them for some large amount of money. I just bet a second time at the same stake that I would’ve betted, and eventually they realized, “Oh, OK.”
And guess what? When I found an egregiously bad line, and I’m talking about a prop on a basketball player that should have been set at 11 and a half, that was set at three and a half on points, and somehow it did not hit when that player hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game. Well, guess what? The book didn’t come to me and say, “Hey, we feel really badly for you on that one,” and give you your money back. It can work both ways.
Fanatics begins streaming NFL games live inside its app
Matt Brown (07:03):
I agree. I agree 100%. Adam, let’s talk a little bit about Fanatics.
Adam Candee (07:10):
Interesting. We heard about this starting in some limited tests earlier last year with Caesars. And Sam from our LSR staff was talking to some folks at Fanatics happened to notice that within the Fanatics app that if there were any dollars, any at all dollars wagered on a particular game, that bettors would be given the option to be able to watch streams of that game live within their app so long as they were not blacked out in a local market.
And we’ve talked about this forever and ever and ever, that if you are truly trying to draw people in to the live betting experience, that this is going to be a necessity. You need to be able to keep people as much as possible, especially if they’re not at home or at a friend’s house or somewhere where it’s convenient to watch the game right in front of them, is very, very helpful to be able to have that stream within app.
And the other thing, and Matt, you talked about this a little bit on social media at the beginning of the season with the switch over to YouTube TV, in which there’s going to be some lag between the broadcast feed and what you’re able to bet live. When that feed is inside the app, hopefully, fingers crossed, the latency issue has been solved enough that your live betting experience should be as seamless as possible, as opposed to you’re watching something on your home Wi-Fi that is happening 30 seconds later than what actually happened at the book. And so, you can’t get down on that live the same way that you would have otherwise.
Matt Brown (08:46):
Yeah. Dustin, when we look at this, I mean this is something that I think is going to be pretty paramount moving forward. And I think that this is … I keep beating the drum for golf here. But I mean, the fact is if you could go in and follow a group on your phone and then be able to live bet that group just over and over and over and over again, I think that that is something that is just ripe for the picking as well.
Dustin Gouker (09:10):
Yeah. These low-latency feeds are absolutely necessary if we’re going to … I mean, it’s well-documented at this point with all the streaming services that these are well behind what’s going on in real time. So you have to have this if you really want live betting to become a thing. And not just on the apps themselves, just in general. You just can’t have a robust live betting market outside of some spreads. You really want the micro betting markets to work, you want the next pitch markets to work, you have to have that latency erased, and these are first steps. And again, integration right in the book when you have the second screen right there where you can bet and also watch it in the app without having to flip back and forth, that’s a pretty big deal.
Florida regulators crack down
Matt Brown (09:51):
And Adam, to put a bow on this episode, we don’t want to make this like we’re reporting anything right now, but just something that came through right before we went on air that we did at least want to touch on.
Adam Candee (10:02):
Yeah. We are actually at LSR in the process of reporting on this right now, but I’m going to basically tee this up and then let Dustin take the big swing that I know that he’s wanted to do in this situation. Word out of Florida, and we’re verifying the veracity of this letter that we’re seeing here. But, according to a Twitter account that has a letter from the Florida Gaming Control Commission dated September 19, says that PrizePicks received a cease and desist letter in the state of Florida for essentially illegal betting activities.
And one of the things we have discussed over and over again is that for the playbook to work for the pick’em games that clearly are sports betting in some way, shape, or form, but are being offered under DFS law by PrizePicks and Underdog namely, but Betr and some others as well. It’s pretty clear that if they are not able to do business in Florida, in Texas, in California, in some of these major states where they’re able to build up a huge database before sports betting is ultimately allowed to go live, it’s going to make things a lot more difficult on them. So we’re efforting more information about it right now. The only letter we’re seeing is to PrizePicks, but it would follow that some of the others could potentially be in those cross-hairs of the Florida Gaming Control Commission as well, especially notable because we are getting closer to actual sports betting being able to launch in Florida.
Matt Brown (11:35):
“I’m hereby demanding you to immediately cease and desist offering or accepting bets or wagers from residents of this state on the results of any contest of skills such as sports betting, including but not limited to bets or wagers made in connection with fantasy sports. Additionally, I’m hereby demanding you immediately cease and desist promoting or conducting any illegal lotteries.” And it goes on and on from there.
Dustin, of course, the reason this is so incredibly not only timely as Adam just mentioned from maybe the launch of sports betting actually happening in Florida, but too it is one of the major big states we talk about, of course California and Texas being the other one that does not have legal sports betting as of today anyway. And so, being able to offer this was just a huge, huge, huge bonus for these companies outside of the DraftKings and FanDuels and MGMs and Caesars of the world.
Dustin Gouker (12:20):
Yeah. I mean the big thing is we’ve seen the DraftKings and FanDuels are in many places getting surpassed in the places where we have data about fantasy sports contests. PrizePicks at least is surpassing them in a handful of states, and this is Florida. Again, we have to mention, this is one of the largest states that doesn’t have sports betting at all. So just imagine what kind of activity is going on at a PrizePicks and an Underdog and some of these others. Because there is no legal sports betting, you’re only going up against DraftKings and FanDuel, which are offering traditional DFS. So watershed, again, assuming this is right, it comes from a media site run by a law firm in Florida. So I presume this is legit, and I don’t know why you’d make this up. But this is a pretty big deal.
The value of these companies is they can serve California, Texas, and Florida pre-sports betting, and if you take one of those off the board … I can’t imagine that California and Texas aren’t then looking at this as well. You now have the attention of the gaming commission of one of the largest states saying, “Stop it.” This is betting, you can call it DFS if you want, but it’s still betting. Next steps, who knows? You got to imagine there’s some crisis rooms, virtual rooms happening right now across these companies. I imagine they have to think about pulling out, or some kind of a relief. Again, not a lawyer, but there’s a lot going on here, and now this is the survival of these companies I think right now.
Again, you could still serve California and Texas, but how much longer? This is always in the background. How much longer are payment processors going to, say, be on board with this? Because if you shut down the ability to take payments on this stuff because they get some cold feet about this is a gaming regulator saying this is gambling, then I think there’s going to be some hard questions and some problems for these companies moving forward.
Matt Brown (14:17):
Adam, we lived through the days of, “Is DFS legal?” Hotly debated the legalities of daily fantasy sports. We came to an agreement that, okay, it’s legal under this, but it was, “Hey look, it is pretty far from sports wagering.” And so that was kind of like the agreement that was made amongst everybody involved, right? It’s like, “This is still pretty far from sports betting.” I mean, you’re picking some dudes and then they’re going out and you’re getting points for if they get a touchdown or not. It’s a little bit different with what’s going on here. And so now I think some of these states, as it becomes a little bit more evident, right? I mean like I said, I got served an ad during Monday Night Football. I mean that’s spinning some serious cash, and I don’t know if that’s going to be the detriment of these guys when it’s all said and done that you put yourself out there in front of people a little bit more. But as certainly they get bigger, we’re getting one of those deals where these states I think are going to start paying more attention.
Adam Candee (15:11):
I think it’s a simple way to break it down to say this, I could not ever walk into a sportsbook in Nevada and be able to build a lineup based on cash prices in order to get to fantasy points against other people and see who wins, right? This is not poker in that way where we’re offering-
Matt Brown (15:33):
Oh, you forgot to add, in the casino you’re not actually going up against them. They’re just offering this amongst everybody else out there.
Adam Candee (15:41):
That’s what I was just getting to with the poker analogy was to say, we are not just taking a rake for facilitating the contest. We are talking about for the PrizePicks and Underdog pick’em situation, you are absolutely offering a product that I can walk into a sportsbook anywhere in the world and be able to get down on. You’re talking about the only difference being that you have to parlay two of them, as opposed to just being able to bet one of them straight.
Matt Brown (16:06):
Yeah. It’s going to be interesting guys, and certainly follow up over at legalsportsreport.com with Adam, and follow the Twitter machine over there as well. They will certainly tweet out anything that they find out along the way for this story kind of developing as we went on air, but certainly wanted to mention it as we head into the weekend as well.
As always, everything we do, absolutely free, so do appreciate your support by heading over to legalsportsreport.com. And then head on over and follow these fellows over on the Twitter machine as well, @AdamCandee, two E’s no Y, @DustinGouker for all of the latest as well. For Adam, for Dustin, I’m Matt. Talk to you guys next week.