There will always be hiccups in the early stages of sports betting.
This past week, the Meadowlands FanDuel Sportsbook stirred up some striking news when it was discovered that bettors weren’t able to get paid on bets they made on a pair of Major League Baseball games.
Exactly why that’s the case is still up for debate, as eyewitness accounts and FanDuel’s official statement conflict.
What is known is that the news of payment issues first popped up on Twitter via some tweets from a user known as “GoldboxATL,” who posted the following tweet in the early hours Wednesday:
Many of the betters are going home tonight with tickets in hand, including me. @FanDuel Meadowlands didn’t have cash in the draws to payout. Amateur hour here. @GUnit_81 @andrewssports @JimmyVaccaro @beatingthebook @paulyhoward @MitchMossRadio @VSiNVinny @VSiNLive
— Eric (@GoldboxATL) July 25, 2018
Later that day, the bettor followed up this and another tweet by saying, “Some questions: The @FanDuel onsite leadership team told us all watching the two last games, they would process winning tickets after the game. They just simply didn’t have enough cash on hand. Some paid, others not.”
FanDuel was quick to release a statement about the episode, saying that their cages have a strict 1 a.m. closing time, which explains why some people didn’t get paid:
“The FanDuel Sportsbook’s business hours of operation last night were to 1 AM, as clearly posted throughout the facility. Once 1 AM hits, our cages are closed. We cannot take wagers or pay out wagers after that time. To be clear, there was no issue with cash on hand. All customers are welcome to return today to collect any winnings, or to mail in any winning tickets for payment.”
The bettor’s side of the story
We reached out to GoldboxATL for comment via Twitter and he was happy to oblige. “Eric” asked that we not use his last name.
He confirmed his story by providing photos of himself at the sportsbook along with a ticket representing his bet on the Pirates-Indians game.
According to Eric, he was in Manhattan for business and wanted to go to the Meadowlands to check out the facility.
He went on to say that he, along with others at the sportsbook, were told that FanDuel would actually pay out winning tickets past the 1 a.m. cutoff.
To complicate matters, one of the games upon which bets were placed (L.A. Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies) lasted 16 innings and ended, according to MLB.com, at 1:14 a.m. ET.
“They paid some of the players’ tickets well past 1 a.m. and ran out of cash. The Manager was able to come back with one more bag of money, but she was only able to pay a few tickets with the limited funds she had,” Eric said. “Others were told to return the following day to cash tickets, which didn’t sit well with some of those in line.”
Basically, he said, the manager on site told him they’d try to pay out with what they had on hand.
FanDuel tried to do bettors a favor
What makes this story interesting is that it seems like, according to Eric’s observations, FanDuel felt like they had enough money on hand and were willing to work around their official 1 a.m. cutoff in order to make sure patrons were paid.
When that didn’t happen, there was some confusion and frustration.
“There were about 10 bettors looking to cash their tickets after the LAD/PHL and SEA/SF games. Some were paid, others weren’t,” Eric said. “For the most part, people understood but were frustrated they could not get their money.”
Hiccup didn’t ruin the experience
Either way, Eric told us, the dust-up at the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands didn’t ruin the experience. He was quite happy with the facilities and impressed at how quickly the sportsbook was up and running.
“At the end of the day, my experience was good. The food, waiters, and bar staff were great,” he said. “It was clear they worked hard to put something quickly to open their doors and are working through some growing pains. The environment was nice with their 9 large screens to watch games.”