Typo on NFL Browns vs Chiefs Betting Line Costs BetMGM $10K

It has been revealed that New Jersey online sportsbook, BetMGM, made a costly blunder during January’s NFL AFC Divisional playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. A typo on the passing yards over/under prop betting line on the BetMGM online sportsbook platform ended up costing the operator more than $10 000.

In the end, only nine bettors seized on the BetMGM mistake; however, it still cost the sports book $10 000 in pay outs. BetMGM was also required to pay another $500 as a fine to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), for the failure to properly display odds.

NJDGE Director David Rebuck announced that the fine for BetMGM is a “civil penalty for the failure to properly display a market in violation of a Division requirement.”

How did the BetMGM error happen?

A typo, (or maybe a glitch but definitely not a cyber-attack), saw the leading online sportsbook offering better-than-average player prop bets on the two quarterbacks (QB) — the Chiefs’ superstar QB Patrick Mahomes and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield. BetMGM set an over/under of 300 passing yards for each of the two QBs. However, the “3” in 300 was somehow absent on the site’s display (meaning it read “00”), resulting that online bettors could place wagers on whether Mahomes and Mayfield would throw for just a single yard.

Bettors jumped at the error, with BetMGM announcing that five of its customers made bets on the incorrect prop passing yards line. Four more online bettors made wagers on BetMGM’s sister site, Borgata online sportsbook, which shares the same betting lines platform, and is operated by BetMGM. 

Significantly, neither of the two QB’s ended up throwing for more than 300 passing yards. As the NFL playoff game between the Chiefs and the Browns played out, the Chiefs claimed victory despite Mahomes going out in the third quarter with a concussion. The Browns’ Mayfield threw for 204 yards while Mahomes threw for 255 yards, meaning all bettors who took the over on either of the “00” yards lines offered by BetMGM, won their wagers.

How BetMGM Wanted To Handle the Issue

BetMGM eventually self-reported the error after it took place to the Garden State gaming regulator, the NJDGE, requesting permission to void the wagers of all 9 customers.

When the NJDGE announced that the wagers could not be rejected until a thorough investigation had been completed, BetMGM smartly decided to allow the bets to stand.

In the end, it has been a smart ploy by BetMGM to honor bets based on lines incorrectly advertised, even more so given that only nine noticed the error and acted. Fundamentally, it is just a small loss for one of New Jersey’s best and most successful online sportsbooks and from the big-picture standpoint, BetMGM will continue to be as successful as ever.

In fact, as some sports betting industry analysts concluded, the $10 500 that the error cost BetMGM was basically free advertising, given the sportsbook’s wise decision to honor the wagers.

It’s not the first time it’s happened with an NFL game and a New Jersey online sportsbook.

Back in 2018, FanDuel posted 750/1 odds that the Denver Broncos would come back from a one-point deficit to win over the Oakland Raiders. With seconds to go with the Broncos down by one point, Broncos’ place kicker Brandon McManus kicked a field goal to win the game. FanDuel said afterwards that the line should have been 1/6, not 750/1. However, one lucky FanDuel customer wagered $110 on the original odds won $82 000 and the NJDGE backed up his win.

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