DraftKings Sportsbook Apologizes for Posting Parlay Inspired by 9/11



  • The parlay include three moneyline legs for New York teams
  • The parlay was posted with odds below fair market value
  • Sportsbooks such as DraftKings reap enormous returns on parlays on average

DraftKings Sportsbook apologized for releasing a 9/11-themed parlay that included three moneylines for New York-based teams Monday.

“We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11,” the company said in a release. “We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the families of those who were directly affected.”

The parlay was visible for a few hours before it was withdrawn. While it was live, it was displayed on the home menu in a featured parlay section.

9/11 parlay posted and removed

Monday was the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

It’s not uncommon for DraftKings to present featured parlays at the top of its betting menu or when users launch their web or mobile app. Other options included “Two Cooks in the Kitchen,” inspired by Dalvin and James Cook facing off in the Buffalo Bills-New York Jets matchup on Monday Night Football, and “Shay Shay Parlay,” named after NFL legend-turned-analyst Shannon Sharpe.

However, the nature of the 9/11 parlay—which it called “Never Forget”—was seen as distasteful by many DraftKings users. Social media was flooded with posts shaming and disavowing the decision to publish the bet.

Action Network also reported that the pre-made parlay, which needed the New York Mets to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees to knock off the Boston Red Sox, and Jets to top the Bills, was listed at +651 odds. But fair market value would have put the odds at +680 or better.

Ultimately, the Jets beat the Bills in overtime 22-16, but the Mets lost to the Diamondbacks 4-3, and the Yankees and Red Sox did not play due to persistent rain in Boston, Massachusetts (where DraftKings is headquartered).

At least 900 people submitted the bet. DraftKings did not confirm the exact number of bets that were placed and whether or not the bets were refunded.

Profitability of parlays

Parlays can be lucrative for bettors, but they often result in losses for the public and major wins for the sportsbooks. In fact, sports betting operators make more money off of parlays than they do any other type of bet.

According to UNLV's Center for Gaming Research, online sportsbooks have profited six cents on every dollar wagered over the last 20 years. That margin jumps to 32 cents on the dollar for every dollar wagered via parlay and is even higher for same-game parlays.

Despite the unimpeachable data, sportsbook users are often enamored by parlays because they can provide large returns on winning bets—if the user is lucky enough to defy the odds.

The widespread popularity and profitability (from the company’s perspective) of parlays is why they often present featured parlays such as the “Never Forget” bet to the public. All that users need to do is load up their app, and they’ll see a variety of these parlays, which can be endorsed by a celebrity, designed to commemorate a specific event, or inspired by a certain theme.

From there, bettors just need to add the parlay to their bet slip and assign a stake before pressing submit. Then they’re locked into the bet they spent little-to-no time formulating.

DraftKings updated its featured parlays the day after the 9/11 bet was posted and removed as per usual.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.