Massachusetts regulators are giving one of the sports betting sites in the Bay State a do-over following a glitch that allowed users to wager thousands of dollars on NFL player props after the fact.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) met Thursday and voted to authorize the cancellation of wagers placed on a National Football League game last weekend with Barstool Sportsbook. The issue? The bets were placed on player prop markets with outcomes that had already been decided.
Massachusetts sports betting regulations require the gaming commission to review and approve certain requests to void wagers. PENN Sports Interactive, the operator of Barstool Sportsbook and the future ESPN Bet, submitted its request after learning that 59 customers placed 257 wagers totaling $47,759.94 on outcomes that had already occurred.
Sheesh, Penn Sports Interactive (the operator of Barstool Sportsbook and the future ESPN Bet) is asking the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to void 257 wagers amounting to $47,759.94 on player prop markets for the already-concluded NY Giants-Arizona Cardinals NFL game last… pic.twitter.com/L4QucYRGMd— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) September 21, 2023
The event in question was last week's NFL matchup between the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals. PENN reported to the MGC that it learned "a total of 10 different market types with a total of 14 different market names were left open for approximately 90 minutes after the outcome had already concluded," according to a commission memo.
PENN attributed the issue to a few different things, the "primary root cause of the issue" being a "technical data breakdown issue" with an odds provider. The MGC heard Thursday that the trouble was with half-sacks, as PENN’s system had recently been updated and was configured to receive only whole numbers. This caused player prop markets for the game to remain available when they should have been closed.
Another, lesser cause of last Sunday’s issue was that the company's sports-betting platform saw a surge in activity just after the kickoff of the afternoon games, causing monitoring delays.
The MGC document notes that PENN scheduled an "emergency release" this week to fix the data issue (which is supposed to happen Thursday, the commissioners heard) and that other improvements are in the works to address the latency issue. MGC staff were satisfied the requirements to void the wagers were met, but the matter still required approval from commissioners, who granted the authorization.
Still, the situation apparently led to the suspension of some Barstool accounts, according to posts on X, the former Twitter. Barstool customers in Massachusetts who placed the bets in question were told their wagers were on hold while PENN sought to void them. The MGC's director of sports wagering, Bruce Band, even told commissioners they'd received three or four complaints from customers who hadn't been paid.
While the MGC was able to tackle the issue in a relatively timely manner, next time the bookmaker and its users may not be so lucky. That may prompt the MGC to alter its approach, although at this point one commissioner is just mulling it over publicly.
“I do wonder… if we need to revisit this issue in terms of timing in convening the commission to act on these,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said Thursday. “I know that we've retained a lot of that discretion and for good reasons, but I think it might be something we could think about.”