DraftKings’ Sports Betting National Championship is a Disaster, Again

Technical issues derail SBNC for a second time; Operator decides to make affected players whole, but also cut the entry period short.
DraftKings' Sports Betting National Championship is a Disaster, Again
November 10, 2021

The second edition of DraftKings-powered Sports Betting National Championship (SBNC) took place this weekend, but technical difficulties that the operator experienced on Friday evening resulted in the competition being dubbed a massive failure.

The first SBNC, which was held in 2019, ended in drama, after a number of players were not paid their winnings from early matches in time to bet on a later one, while others were. This impacted a number of highly positioned players who were in the contention to win the $1 million top prize.

This time around, the problem was even more significant, as a number of contestants were not able to place bets at all on Friday night due to technical difficulties. Some participants immediately went to Twitter and posted about their inability to wager even $1 on their picks.

The competition’s failure can be considered even greater considering the fact that the inaugural event went so poorly and everyone expected DraftKings to make up for this and ensure a fair and smooth tournament this time around.

While this was not the case, the competition did go on and those who were able to participate could continue making bets throughout the weekend and fight for the $1 million first place prize. Soon after the glitch occurred, DraftKings came up with a solution that worked in everyone’s best interest.

DraftKings makes players whole

On Saturday morning, DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello spoke with the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) to give an update on the situation.

“Last night, we kicked off the contest and, unfortunately, there were some betting markets that were affected,” Avello told VSiN. “Contestants were unable to place their bets. This was consistent for all the users.

“If you went bust last night and you’re out of money — you’re out of the contest, but we’re going to give you $10,000 back. If you’re still in the contest with money and continuing to play today, if you won more than $10,000 you certainly will be able to keep that and be eligible for any prize money.

“But, let’s say you have only won $6,000 and you’re finished, then we will make you whole by giving you $4,000 – that’s your $10,000 back.”

Will DraftKings get sued again?

DraftKings’ failure to run a fair competition in 2019 enraged a number of contestants, some of whom decided to take legal action.

One player, Christopher Leong, started a class action lawsuit against the operator. The suit ended in a settlement that saw Leong receive $7,000 in cash. Approximately 200 other participants received $150 in DraftKings credits, while the lawyers from the case were given $66,000.

Another contestant, Rufus Peabody, took matters into his own hands and allegedly lost a case after turning down a settlement similar to Leong’s.

Now that the new edition of the SBNC proved to be yet another failure, there is talk of lawsuits once more. While DraftKings did make all the players whole, there are still questions to answer and some players might not be happy with just getting their buy-in back.

On top of some players who entered on Friday not being given a fair opportunity to compete, the operator also decided to cut the entry period short. Entry was initially available until Saturday at 6 pm, but DraftKings changed their mind on Friday night and stopped all further entries.

As the drama unfolds, the question remains how a sports betting operator of DraftKings’ stature could allow such technical difficulties to happen in the first place and whether the SBNC, which seemed like a great idea initially, has any future.

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