A nationwide sports activities betting handicapping contest with a $2.5 million prize pool ended in controversy Sunday in New Jersey, after the Day Three leader was prevented from making his final wager earlier than the NFC divisional-round recreation between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints kicked off.

A contestant with the username rleejr86 ended up successful the primary DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship as a substitute, grabbing the $1 million first prize with a final wager of $47,500 on the Eagles +eight.5.

The Saints won 20-14, however the Eagles lined the unfold, boosting rleerjr86’s bankroll to a contest-winning $101,474.

Greater than 200 bettors from totally different components of the nation entered the $10,000 buy-in contest and mixed to wager greater than $5 million through the three-day occasion that was headquartered in Jersey Metropolis.

Nonetheless, it was the bets that could not be positioned by the leader earlier than the final recreation in the competition kicked off that have been the supply of dispute.

Skilled sports activities bettor Rufus Peabody, competing beneath the username Opti5624, was main the competition heading into the Eagles-Saints recreation, with an almost $82,000 bankroll that he compiled after successful an all-in wager on the New England Patriots -Three.5 towards the Los Angeles Chargers in Sunday’s AFC divisional-round recreation. The Patriots won 41-28.

The high-scoring AFC affair ended at four:37 p.m. ET, simply 4 minutes earlier than the Saints recreation started. Peabody advised ESPN he repeatedly refreshed his browser throughout these 4 minutes, ready for his winnings from the Patriots wager to be credited so he may make what he says would have been one final all-in wager on both the Saints at numerous level spreads or beneath 52 factors.

The one problem— his winnings weren’t credited to his account till after the NFC recreation kicked off. He was locked out of making his final wager.

“I had spent the final 2.5 hours working over all of the numbers,” stated Peabody, the co-founder of soccer analytics web site Massey-Peabody and a former ESPN worker. “And, because it goes on the finish, I used to be going backwards and forwards: ‘Which one am I going to do? Am I going to pull the set off?’ It was going to be a Saints wager of some form or the beneath. Sadly, I did not get the prospect.”

In accordance to knowledge posted on the DraftKings’ web site, some gamers have been credited their winnings from the Patriots recreation earlier than Peabody, permitting them to get their final bets in earlier than the NFC recreation began. A number of different contestants additionally did not get their bets from the AFC recreation credited in time to make final play on Eagles-Saints. On Sunday, the final day of the competition, bettor have been allowed to wager solely on the 2 NFL divisional-round playoff video games. No extra bets have been allowed after the NFC recreation started.

Peabody posted a screenshot to social media of his DraftKings contest account with a $zero.01 stability and the time on the pc exhibiting four:41 p.m., proper as Eagles-Saints kicked off.

Stability $zero.01. Recreation: began pic.twitter.com/0uPwb9Gcn3

— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) January 13, 2019

“We acknowledge that in the foundations the scheduled finish of betting [kickoff of the NFC divisional-round game] coincided very intently to the end of the of Patriots-Chargers recreation,” James Chisolm, a spokesman from DraftKings, stated in an announcement. “Whereas we should observe our contest guidelines, we sincerely apologize for the expertise a number of clients had the place their bets weren’t graded in time to permit wagering on the Saints-Eagles recreation. We are going to study from this expertise and enhance upon the foundations and expertise for future occasions.”

DraftKings didn’t instantly reply to a follow-up query concerning why some accounts have been credited their winnings from the Chargers-Patriots recreation earlier than others.

The DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship was the primary of its form since states exterior of Nevada started authorizing authorized sports activities betting after a U.S. Supreme Courtroom ruling in Could. It was held in a nondescript constructing in Jersey Metropolis. Within the rented venue, tables, couches and chairs have been unfold out in entrance of dozens of TVs. There have been additionally strobe lights, two open bars and loads of cheering and groaning.

Peabody stated general he loved the format and understood that it was robust scenario for everybody concerned. He ended up in third place and can be taking residence greater than $330,000.

“It would not really feel prefer it,” he added. “I felt like was in place for a 50-50 shot on the million [dollars].”

Requested whether or not he had contacted authorized illustration, Peabody declined remark.

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