Betting Contest Leader Misses out on $1M Prize After Being Unable to Make Bet

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2019

In this Nov. 13, 2018 photo, Mark Giannantonio, president of Resorts Casino in Atlantic City N.J., speaks with a worker about progress on the casino's new sports betting facility it will open with DraftKings on Nov. 20. The facility is the latest in a race among New Jersey casinos, racetracks and bookmakers to have not only an online operation but also a physical facility to attract gamblers in New Jersey's fast-growing sports betting market. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Wayne Parry/Associated Press

Sunday's 2018 AFC divisional-round game ended four minutes before the NFC divisional-round game began.

For fans, it provided an afternoon of wall-to-wall action and sinking deep into the couch.

For Rufus Peabody, it cost him a shot at $1 million.

Peabody, who was competing in DraftKings' Sports Betting National Championship, documented his inability to place a bet before the beginning of Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints because his winnings were not credited in time.

Peabody was the leader in the $2.5 million contest after placing an all-in bet on the New England Patriots and said he planned to wager either on the Saints or the under in the final game, meaning Peabody lost out on $1 million because of a clerical error by DraftKings.

"I had spent the last 2.5 hours running over all the numbers," Peabody told David Purdum and Ben Fawkes of ESPN.com. "And, as it goes at the end, I was going back and forth: 'Which one am I going to do? Am I going to pull the trigger?' It was going to be a Saints bet of some kind or the under. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance."

Peabody seemed to keep a level head about the matter.

"I'm actually doing fine," he tweeted. "I spent so much anxious energy earlier in the day that I don't have enough energy left to be livid. Did I want to win? Yes. Would it have changed my life? No. I'm disappointed, but life goes on.

"Life is filled with things outside of your control. This is a lesson sports betting has taught me over the years. Worrying about things outside your control is a recipe for unhappiness. Accept things as they are; don't dwell on the what-ifs."

In a statement (via Purdum and Fawkes), DraftKings spokesman James Chisholm said: "We recognize that in the rules the scheduled end of betting [kickoff of the NFC divisional-round game] coincided very closely to the finish of the of Patriots-Chargers game. While we must follow our contest rules, we sincerely apologize for the experience several customers had where their bets were not graded in time to allow wagering on the Saints-Eagles game. We will learn from this experience and improve upon the rules and experience for future events."

Randy Lee won the $1 million prize.

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