October 10, 2018 / 3:27 AM / a year ago

New Jersey gaming regulator mea culpa for FanDuel sports bet glitch

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - New Jersey’s head gaming regulator on Tuesday took responsibility for a sports betting glitch that cost FanDuel Group $82,000 on a wager, saying that new internal company controls have been put in place to prevent similar future problems.

In September, one extremely lucky New Jerseyan bet $110 on a Denver Broncos football game at the same moment that an error had incorrectly warped FanDuel’s live-odds feed during a brief update.

Initially, FanDuel said it would not pay out the whole $82,000 because it was an error. New Jersey gaming regulators investigated and FanDuel reversed its decision, saying it would make the full payout.

“We’re partners with (FanDuel) in many ways. Maybe it was our fault that that happened,” David Rebuck, director of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, told a crowd at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“So I will take responsibility for that as head of the division,” he said. “It should never have happened.”

The incident was “a bad hiccup for the state of New Jersey,” he said.

The state is ahead of nearly all others in regulating and taxing sports wagers after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May threw open the door to any state that wants to legalize the activity.

FanDuel is owned by Irish sportsbook operator Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

In this case, regulators first examined whether there might be a criminal conspiracy or some other type of fraud aimed at hurting the company, Rebuck said.

But there was not. Instead, it was human error.

“We felt that maybe we needed additional staff here (at FanDuel) to give us added protections for quality control to oversee what was being entered while the trading was being managed,” Rebuck later told Reuters.

New Jersey gaming regulators have significant control over sports betting, with a catalog of approved sporting events and the ability to determine what sports bets are authorized in the state.

The state also weighs in on companies’ internal controls, which can include limits to the amount of money wagered and limited odds.

Operators also have other layers of risk management, including people entering data. Regulators can decide whether there are “enough people doing the work so that they’re not stressed and making mistakes,” Rebuck said.

Reporting by Hilary Russ in Las Vegas; editing by Darren Schuettler

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