Tech problems prevent leader from winning $2.5 million sports betting contest

Yahoo Sports

The first ever DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship took place in Jersey City over the weekend, luring users with its $2.5 million pot. But it ended in controversy on Sunday when the money leader wasn’t able to make his final bet before the last football game of the weekend kicked off. 

According to ESPN, a professional sports bettor named Rufus Peabody (who goes by the username Opti5624) was the Day 3 money leader on Sunday, and was waiting for his winnings from the AFC divisional-round game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots game to be deposited into his DraftKings account so he could place his bet on the NFC game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints. He’d won $82,000 on the Chargers-Patriots game, and needed the money to come through before he could make his final bet of the weekend.

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The Chargers-Patriots game went longer than expected, ending just four minutes before the Eagles-Saints game. During those four minutes, Peabody told ESPN that he repeatedly refreshed his browser, waiting for his money to appear. He waited in vain. Peabody’s money didn’t show up in his DraftKings account until after the game started, meaning he was locked out of making a bet.


He even tweeted a photo of his account screen, showing his balance at the time of the Eagles-Saints kickoff.


With the competition boasting more than 200 bettors from all over the country who each paid $10,000 to enter the contest, Peabody wasn’t the only one to experience this issue. ESPN reported that some contestants had also been prevented from making their final bets because their previous winnings hadn’t been deposited into their accounts yet. Other contestants had their money deposited before Peabody, which allowed them to make their bets before the game started.

DraftKings released a statement about the issues during the contest.


Notably, the statement doesn’t address why the winnings of some users were deposited before others. It does say that the rules “must” be followed despite what happened. Given that, it doesn’t seem that equality of opportunity was part of the rules, but it looks like it might be in the future.

The winner of the contest was a user who goes by rleejr86. He took home the $1 million first-place prize after he covered the spread with his final bet of $47,500 on the Eagles +8.5, winning a $101,474 on top of the $1 million pot. 


Hopefully the money he won soothed his sadness about the Eagles being eliminated from the playoffs.

Even though he was prevented from making his final bet of the weekend, Peabody came in third and took home over $330,000. However, he told ESPN that he felt he had a “50-50 shot at the million,” and declined to say if he’d explore his legal options.

The DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship ended in controversy when the website failed to credit contestants’ winnings before the next game started. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
The DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship ended in controversy when the website failed to credit contestants’ winnings before the next game started. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

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