LAS VEGAS — If William Hill gets its request in Nevada, state regulators will have the power to undo errors like the FanDuel glitch in New Jersey.
The bookmaker sent a letter this week to the Nevada Gaming Control Board requesting a change in regulations to that end:
” … a revision that allows the Chair to use discretion in rescinding wagers where an obvious error has occurred; for example, with obviously erroneous pricing. This would address the situation that occurred recently in New Jersey where an operator issued a wager on a football game at a price that was obviously incorrect.”
William Hill general counsel Sylvia Tiscareno testified at Tuesday’s meeting of the NGCB. Tiscareno explained that William Hill’s ask regarding state power to rescind errors and also post-past wagers stemmed from previous internal discussions.
William Hill later provided a statement from US CEO Joe Asher clarifying its position:
The regulator should have the ability to cancel the bet and not the operator, Asher said. In the situation with FanDuel in New Jersey, the sports book itself tried to cancel the bet at first.
Operators should generally pay when there’s an error but there are situations that could warrant approaching the regulator to cancel the bet, like an $82 million mistake instead of an $82,000 mistake, he said.
A little Fanduel glitch refresher if you forgot
The FanDuel glitch story might feel like it happened in another lifetime with the recent pace of sports betting news. Yet it was just more than three weeks ago that FanDuel Sportsbook reluctantly paid out $82,000 to settle a bet on an erroneous in-play line.
A handful of bettors at FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and on the bookmaker’s app locked in a 750-to-1 in-play line on a Denver Broncos game. At the time, the Broncos had the ball with time winding down in the fourth quarter, needing only a field goal to win.
Denver got the points, but FanDuel Sportsbook refused to pay the cash, calling it an error. European operators like FanDuel Group‘s parent, Paddy Power Betfair, nodded in agreement. They consider such errors “palps“, or palpable errors, that do not pay out.
FanDuel initially offered to settle the bet at what it deemed the correct price of -600, or essentially 1-to-6. That paltry payout did little to satisfy bettors holding tickets for much more cash.
FanDuel eventually relented to backlash to its questionable PR effort, as well as market pressure, and paid at least $130,000 in tickets on the error. It also gave away $82,000 in free play as an apology.
William Hill adding to its conservative reputation
The British bookmaker maintains a sizable presence in Nevada sports betting. It first arrived in Nevada in 2012, and operates sportsbooks and kiosks in close to 100 locations throughout the state.
William Hill recently strengthened its presence in Nevada by expanding its arrangement with Golden Entertainment. The revamped deal will allow William Hill to run Golden’s sportsbooks at the Stratosphere on the Las Vegas Strip, among other properties.
That qualifies as bad news for many sports bettors in Nevada. William Hill’s reputation for quickly cutting off sharp players earns the bookmaker scorn on social media and beyond.
An ESPN report on sportsbooks restricting bettors in the post-PASPA landscape singled out William Hill for its practices:
ESPN communicated with 20 bettors for this article who said they had been banned from betting with William Hill U.S. in Nevada. Two said they already have been cut off at the new William Hill books in New Jersey, too, something the Division of Gaming Enforcement is reviewing.
“In our world, our community,” said Joe Fortuna, one of the professional bettors who says he was cut off by William Hill in Nevada, “everyone knows you’ll get thrown out of there.”
“It’s not even really close,” said another Las Vegas bettor who had been restricted by William Hill and requested anonymity. “They’re by far the worst.”
This latest request to give Nevada regulators the option to void errors like the FanDuel glitch will not help that perception. William Hill submitted the ask at the behest of the NGCB, which solicited input this summer from operators on potential regulation changes.
The board did not act on any proposed changes at Tuesday’s workshop. The three-person panel decided to review the input from Tiscareno and other stakeholders before moving forward.