Ohio Sports Betting Sees $82.5 Million In Voided Bets In 14 Months

Written By TJ McBride on April 8, 2024
Ohio Sportsbooks Void $82.5M Bets

Ohio sports betting operators have grown the market into the fourth largest in the country and took a massive $9.1 billion of wagers across 14 months. While operators keep taking home massive profits, some bettors are finding sports betting success does not always lead to payouts. 

Ohio sportsbooks have voided over $82.5 million of sports wagers in those same 14 months, which has led to some bettors not receiving their winnings. 

The $82.5 million of voided bets represent less than 1% of all wagers placed, which may seem negligible to operators. But for Ohio sports betting customers who lost out on big winnings, that amount feels much larger.

Ohio sportsbooks point to “obvious errors” to explain voided bets 

Let’s use a recent example to explain why these voided bets have become a source of frustration for bettors and how operators have largely avoided blame.

Bettor Garrett Price was perusing DraftKings when he came across a bet that seemed like a sure-fire win. He placed $100 worth of bets, which would have turned into $14,000. Despite the wagers being accepted and panning out, DraftKings turned around and voided the bet. Price began looking for clarification from DraftKings and the state.

According to the recent WCPO 9 investigation, Price said:

“I actually never got a response (from Ohio). I would have liked to at least hear why they weren’t going to be able to intervene on our behalf. We really just kind of got ghosted in the whole process so, yeah, it was a little disappointing.”

“Whether it was their algorithms, their software, somebody pressing buttons — I have no idea who or how — but somewhere on DraftKings, something went wrong. And because of that, they wouldn’t pay the bet.”

This came down to what DraftKings calls an “obvious error” and when a mistake like that happens, it holds the right to void any bets placed. There were three other bettors affected by the incorrect odds as well.

There are two ways DraftKings defines these errors. The first are bets placed during technical issues. The second are bets placed at odds that are extremely different from those available across the rest of the sports betting market.

In this case, the odds were set incorrectly by DraftKings’ third-party vendor Sportcast, which supplies the operator with its betting lines. That gave DraftKings the right to void any bets related to that mistake.

This has led to anger from bettors in Ohio and beyond who have lost out on winnings, and they have a point. The $82.5 million in bets voided in Ohio alone only accounts for the total wagers taken between launch through Feb. 2024. However, this does not include the potential payout lost to players — which could amount to many multiples more.

Ohio law allows sportsbooks to void wagers, so long as house rules are followed

Based on Ohio law, the power to veto wagers lies with the sports betting operator itself. The only catch is that the operator must set regulations in its house rules and follow them.

FanDuel — the state’s favorite sportsbook, based on Ohio’s February revenue report — has the same definition of obvious errors in its house rules as DraftKings. MGM National Harbor house rules state that any incorrect odds due to “mechanical, technical or human error” can lead to wagers being voided or settled at the “correct price”. Other operators, meanwhile, have their own phrasing of essentially the same rule. Once set, these guidelines give sportsbooks the legal right to void bets as they have been.

From the point of view of DraftKings, this power exists to protect itself from errors. These mistakes can be discovered and shared via social media, potentially leading to massive losses for sportsbooks. For DraftKings Senior Director of Regulatory Operations Jacob List, this is why the power to void bets exists.

“When an error affects multiple markets and customers notice and they parlay them all together that’s an indication that the customers clearly know that’s an error. There’s also instances of customers talking on Twitter and other forums. They’re saying stuff along the lines of, ‘Huge error, go bet it on DraftKings.’”

While much of the focus has been on DraftKings, it is neither the only operator to void bets in Ohio nor the worst offender. It actually had the second-most dollars voided of any Ohio sports betting operator. Here are the top five and their retail partners:

  1. Bet365 (Cleveland Guardians): $25.98 million
  2. FanDuel (Belterra Park): $22.18 million
  3. DraftKings (Hollywood Toledo): $16.75 million
  4. BetMGM (MGM Northfield Park / Cincinnati Reds): $6.47 million
  5. Caesars Sportsbook (Scioto Downs / Cleveland Cavaliers): $3.98 million

Find the full 14-month log of voided bets for these five sportsbooks below:

January 20231,247,82912,005,0816,420,9351,124,531667,873
January 20242,294,258993,095728,777797,599186,166

Of the operators with the least voided bets, the Fanatics Sportsbook retail location at the Cleveland Guardian’s home stadium, Progressive Field, consistently comes out on top.

Photo by Dreamstime / PlayMA
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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter who covers sports betting for PlayOhio. His work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports, among others.

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