DraftKings Inc. has assured New York regulators that it made a few changes since the Boston-based bookmaker allowed an infamous 9/11-themed parlay to go live on its sports betting site earlier this year.
New York State Gaming Commission Chair Brian O'Dwyer said Monday during a meeting that he and the regulator’s executive director met with DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who assured the watchdogs new safeguards were in place.
DraftKings stepped on a rake in September when a "Never Forget," 9/11-themed parlay went up at the online sportsbook. Users were invited to bet the New York Jets, Mets, and Yankees to win on September 11, at odds of +651.
Words of warning
This quickly triggered a backlash, including from New York regulators who were “appalled” by the parlay, O’Dwyer said. DraftKings pulled the wager down and apologized, but not before it was up long enough to prompt scrutiny from watchdogs such as the NYSGC.
O’Dwyer said DraftKings indicated to them during their recent meeting “that they had put in considerable changes in terms of reviewing all bets that went out and making sure that all those bets were reviewed responsibly.”
The chairman added that he expressed to DraftKings “the disgust” of the gaming commission and warned a similar mistake would be looked at with “very, very severe eyes.
“I was heartened by their response,” O’Dwyer said.
New York State Gaming Commission Chair Brian O'Dwyer said during today's meeting that he and the regulator's exec. director met recently with DraftKings CEO Jason Robins re: the infamous 9/11 parlay. O'Dwyer says JR assured them "considerable changes" were made for bet approval. pic.twitter.com/Kd4PyFrvEN— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) December 4, 2023
DraftKings is one of the biggest online sports betting providers in the U.S. and a close second in the New York market, where the operator took $710.5 million in wagers in September alone.
However, the 9/11 incident shows there are still growing pains in the legal sports betting business and lessons to be learned. \
Operators like DraftKings are striving for profitability by cranking out premade parlays that try to tap into whatever is driving interest on any given day; in the case of the 9/11 parlay, the bookmaker admitted it went too far.
Robins, DraftKings’ CEO, spoke earlier Monday during an event for analysts and investors in online gaming companies. In doing so, the chief executive highlighted the importance of the sportsbook product and timeliness in attracting and keeping customers.
“You can market things, but sometimes you just have to catch people at the right time, too,” Robins said.