DraftKings Refutes Report NJ Sports Betting Whale Had Proxy Deal

Posted on November 6, 2020

DraftKings pushed back Friday on a report suggesting one of its VIP customers enjoyed a side deal to let him bet from outside New Jersey.

A spokesperson for DraftKings told LSR that sportsbook director Johnny Avello did not have an arrangement with a customer claiming the company locked his account with a potentially winning $3 million NFL parlay bet. Sports Handle first reported the story on Thursday.

“We never authorized the customer in question to engage in proxy betting,” the DraftKings spokesperson said. “Any claim by this customer that he received a verbal agreement from Johnny Avello to place out of state wagers on his New Jersey mobile account through a proxy is patently false.”

However, the lack of a clear arrangement does not necessarily mean the bettor didn’t use or attempt to use a proxy. DraftKings only appeared to deny that Avello agreed to a handshake deal for proxy or messenger betting.

What happened in DraftKings dispute?

According to the report, the bettor said DraftKings froze his account in late October, roughly three weeks after the winning parlay bet. The bettor also said his wager was placed in New Jersey via a proxy, similar to how he placed wagers with Wynn in Nevada when Avello worked there.

It is possible to bet legally in contests via a proxy in Nevada but the rules are far more stringent on wagering in New Jersey. The practice is prevalent in Nevada that proxy services advertise their companies as legal means of entering the annual Westgate SuperContest and Circa Sports Million NFL betting contests.

The bettor said he is considering legal action against the sportsbook to access his winnings.

DK will not address details

The DraftKings spokesperson declined to confirm details of the story, including why they froze the account and what steps might come next. He instead referred to a prepared statement:

“While this matter is under investigation by the appropriate regulatory authorities, DraftKings has no comment on that investigation.”

The statement at least confirms that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is looking into the situation. The state’s Office of the Attorney General and the DGE declined to comment. An OAG spokesperson also did not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]

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