Postponement of MNF game leaves bettors in limbo

Players wait for refunds that should have been already been given

By now, pretty much every person who watches NFL is aware of the horrific, life and death situation in last night’s Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin made what looked like a routine, albeit hard, hit and collapsed back to the turf after the play. His dire situation and subsequent trip to the hospital were more than enough to postpone/cancel the MNF game. After about an hour, the NFL did just that and so far is calling the game postponed.

As this was a huge game, probably the best game on the card all weekend, there were plenty of game bets, fantasy contests and prop wagers in play when the game was stopped. But approaching 24 hours later, U.S. sportsbooks have yet to make a decision, based on their own rules.

DraftKings has said almost nothing to players with active MNF wagers and there are hundreds of “Cancel the Bets’ or “Where’s my refund?” tweets aimed at DK customer support. Under the general rules for football at DraftKings they do address a game being postponed, “There must be 5 minutes or less of scheduled game time left for bets to have action. f a game is halted before the minimum time has been played, and not completed within 48 hours of the scheduled start date, bets will be void.” So, we can only assume the DraftKings is waiting for the 48 hours to be up and then they will refund wagers for the MNF game. The same must be applied to DK fantasy as well, “In the event that a game is canceled, postponed, or rescheduled to a time outside of the original Scoring Period, Draft Kings will cancel and refund all contests.”

Fan Duel issued a weak statement on social media claiming they’re awaiting the “guidance” of the NFL. Needless to say, they are taking flak for the decision as well. Of course, though, they have rules regarding postponed or canceled games. The general rules at FanDuel state for American Football, “At least ten minutes of official time must elapse in the fourth quarter for bets to have action.” They also employ the “48 hour rule” before refunding any wagers for the game. But they also may payout or grade a bet a loser on some of the props that could have already been determined. Again, there is a rule, “In the event of an abandoned game, all stakes are returned, unless a result is already determined through the course of play that has taken place”. For example, the first or anytime touchdown scorer, first offensive play yard line or what PointsBet refers to as lighting bets, placed on the outcome of a drive, series of plays, etc. could in theory be keep as winning (or losing) wagers.

PointsBet has an identical rule but spells it out a little better on their website. “Markets traded in-play where the result is known at the time of suspension will be settled on the basis of that result.” the rules continue to explain even further – “If Markets are not traded in-play or the result is not known at the time of suspension then, in the case of suspension, all Bets will be void.” They also have the 48 hour rule, but at Points Bet it’s just 24 hours.

BetMGM has a simple rule, which make sense, stating that if the game is not completed within 48 hours, all bets will be refunded. And one of the top sportsbooks in Las Vegas, Circa, has posted on social media that all bets are still pending. “The bets are potentially action if the game is completed within 8 days and 100 miles of the original time and site. If that doesn’t happen they’ll be refunds.”

So the tragedy surrounding Damar Hamlin continues and unfortunately, so do Bills/Bengals wagers. it would make the most sense for all bets to be refunded. The big books have no problem refunding a ‘bad beat’ when it increases views and likes, so why wait? Regardless of the rules, books should refund all wagers and let players re-bet them, when the time comes, if they choose. Or at the very least sportsbooks should allow players have the cash back from the postponed MNF game to bet on something else.

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