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FanDuel Back-Pedals, Agrees to Pay Bettor $82K

After creating controversy with its decision not to honor a fan’s bet after a glitch in the live odds-making system, FanDuel back-pedaled to avoid the negative publicity. The Newark resident will now receive $82,610 in winnings that should have been paid out according to the 750-1 odds displayed on his ticket.

On Sunday, FanDuel’s Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey sold a ticket to Anthony Prince, who wagered on the Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders that was being played at the time. The bet he placed on the game was in-play, a term that refers to live bets, so the odds were changing as the game progressed. But an error occurred in the live feed at that specific moment when Prince purchased his betting ticket and as a result, the odds were displayed incorrectly.

Instead of buying into correct odds of -600 on Broncos to win, he received +750,000, or odds of 750-1. This was, of course, a ridiculous betting line caused by a glitch in the odds-making system that lasted 18 seconds, according to FanDuel. Whether knowingly or not, Prince exploited that error. Wagering $110 on the Broncos with the ticket, he should have won $82,610. The sportsbook, however, said that the ticket was actually worth only $18.35 and declined to pay out any additional winnings.

The dispute was almost immediately reported by a local TV channel and a wider coverage followed this week in some of the largest sports media networks. While backed up by the gambling regulations in New Jersey and the company’s own policies, FanDuel’s decision caused huge controversy. On Tuesday, the daily fantasy sports provider and bookmaker issued an official statement, explaining why it would not pay out the erroneous bet. Winning bets were honored at the accurate market price, the company added.

Change of Heart or a PR Stunt?

This past week was marked by a negative publicity for FanDuel caused by the rejection of the $80,000 bet. As per current provisions in the state’s gambling legislation, the bookmaker has the right to void winnings generated from a technical error such as in Anthony Prince’s case. While the decision to stiff that bet may have been, indeed, correct and fair, it was certainly not in the best interest of the company.

Many journalists and sports analysts criticized FanDuel for their stance, saying that it was the bookmaker’s fault for allowing such glitches to happen. Bettors, on the other hand, were not to blame for exploiting flaws in the betting systems. Similar opinions were shared by many sports fans on social media, as well. The bookmaker has probably had a change of heart regarding the dispute as it came out with another statement Thursday evening.

In it, FanDuel explains that it is not legally bound to pay out these erroneous bets. It will honor them either way, however, as it is dedicated to providing its customers with a gambling experience that is, most of all, fun. This one is on the house, FanDuel assures bettors.

With this surprising twist, the sportsbook is apparently recognizing the risk of creating a negative image for itself in the media for a handful of bets, even if they are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Some commentators have described the company’s newly changed position as a PR stunt, and rightfully so. Such criticism could damage not only its public image but also its future business opportunities.

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Mitchell Lekarcyzk Triumphs at WSOP Circuit Coconut Creek $400 NLH Monster Stack

As the 2018/2019 season of the World Series of Poker Circuit is sweeping through the Seminole Casino in the charming city of Coconut Creek, Florida, several poker pros won prestigious WSOP titles, complete with gold rings and free seats to the 2019 Global Casino Championship.

On Thursday evening, Mitchell Lekarcyzk triumphed at $400 NLH Monster Stack event, dominating over a strong field of 586 entries. Cory Blum and Matthew Zarcadoolas also grabbed titles in two other tournaments.

The first-place finish at the $400 NLH Monster Stack brought Mitchell Lekarcyzk the first WSOP Circuit title and ring in his career. Lekarcyzk, who is from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, has taken part in live tournaments mostly in his home state and across Las Vegas, so this was his first WSOP Circuit gig. With an impressive performance, however, he managed to overcome the tough competition during these past few days and come out as the $400 NLH Monster Stack champion.

The sixth event of the festival, running currently at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, kicked off Tuesday and offered players entry during two starting flights. The tournament proved to be quite popular with poker fans as it attracted 586 entrants who paid the $400 fee. With $330 of each fee going towards the prize pool, organizers collected $193,380, which were split among the top 63 players.

Day 2 of the event started on Thursday with 69 survivors, with Day 1B chip leader Zack Milchman topping the leaderboard. He could not make it to the final table, though, busting at 29th place for a cash prize of $1,073. The chip leader from the first starting flight, Michael Perrone, also finished early in 33rd place for $944. After a lot more eliminations, Ray Millard led the surviving 9 players into the final table with a huge chip lead of over 5 million.

After a 13-hour day of grueling poker, nearly 5 hours of which were spent on the final table, Mitchell Lekarcyzk won the $400 NLH Monster Stack title and the top-place prize of $40,619. He managed to do that in a heads-up battle against Andrew Kaplan who finished second and received $25,118. Millard left the tournament in the third place, cashing $18,367.

Two More WSOP Rings Rewarded

The other poker player who took home a nice cash prize along with a WSOP Circuit title on Thursday was Cory Blum. The 28-year-old former pro is no longer playing professionally but managed to defeat a total of 58 players, including Craig Monrade heads-up in the $600 Pot-Limit Omaha. For his top position, he received a cash prize of $11,394, while the remainder of the $30,385 was split among the other 5 higher-ranking players.

The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek hosted another exciting tournament on Thursday. The single-day $600 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo event started at 11.00 a.m. and drew in 69 players. The total prize pool was $35,535, split among the top 7 players who made it to the money. The minimum guaranteed cash was $1,826, while the winner received $12,436 in prize money. This was Matthew Zarcadoolas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who secured the first WSOP Circuit ring in his career.

Friday will see the Final Day of the WSOP Circuit Coconut Creek $2,200 High Roller, which posted an entry field of 65 registrations. After hours of tough poker play, most players were eliminated and only 16 survivors will return to the tables on Friday. Jeffrey Morzella, from Tampa, Florida, will come as the big stack as he managed to bag 242,600 in tournament chips at the end of Day 1. He is followed in the leaderboard by Leandro Faraminan with 196,500 and by 2015 World Series of Poker November Niner Josh Beckley who has 172,800 in chips.

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Gambling Monkeys Prefer High-Risk Bets in New Study

Scientists have revealed an area of the brain associated with high-risk behavior after conducting a study on two gambling monkeys. Interestingly, they managed to teach them odds and found out that the monkeys preferred riskier bets and bigger rewards.

During the experiments, researchers noticed that when given the option for a small reward at a low risk and a big reward at higher odds, the monkeys would always choose the big gamble. Interesting as it is, the finding was just one of the observations during a study that looked closely into the brain. The findings, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, help us understand our willingness to gamble in different situations and might lead to a more successful treatment of risky behaviors.

According to researchers, risk attitude is not a character trait, as it is widely believed. It turns out that the willingness to make risky decisions may change in different situations for the same individual. A person can save money but at the same time, they may love skydiving, explains co-author Veit Stuphorn, who is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute. This shift in the risk attitude takes place in a small area of the prefrontal cortex, pinpointed by the scientists.

Stuphorn and lead researcher Xiaomo Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, had to teach the rhesus macaques how to gamble. They showed them what odds are so that the animals could understand which of the options they were given was associated with higher risk. The purpose of the experiment was to reveal more about the risk preference in primates, which means that findings could be used in human behavioral studies.

As the findings could be applied to all types of high-risk behavior, including gambling, they suggest that depending on the potential rewards, most people could turn into gamblers. Given the chance to win big, many people would disregard the odds that are against them.

How Does the Gambling Monkeys Experiment Work?

In order to conduct the study, the scientists had to teach the monkeys how to gamble. This was easy – the monkeys played a computer game that gave them fruit juice when they won. According to Stuphorn, the monkeys played the game voluntarily for one simple reason, they liked to gamble. They were given two options, the first of which was a small quantity of juice – just a few drops that were guaranteed. The second option, however, was a gamble – they could win a lot of juice or none at all.

Teaching the macaques the odds was not particularly complicated, either – they were given squares of two colors. The dominant color showed the bigger odds for this particular outcome. It turns out that the monkeys, much like humans, would always opt for the gamble where the potential reward is bigger. They would choose the high-risk option every single time, Stuphorn explains, adding that the monkeys actually understood that over time, the small, guaranteed wins would bring them more significant rewards.

In order to test their theory that the area of the brain responsible for risk behavior was the Supplementary Eye Field (SEF), the researchers decided to turn it off. This can be achieved for a short period of time by cooling off the neurons in this particular area with external heat. When the SEF regions of their brains were switched off, the monkeys demonstrated a completely different behavior. They did not like to gamble anymore.

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New Hampshire Becomes the Sixth State to Launch Online Lottery

New Hampshire has launched several online lottery products this week, becoming the sixth state in the country to offer this popular activity to Internet users. Unlike most forms of gambling which are banned in the Granite State, the lottery has enjoyed huge popularity since the 1960’s.

In fact, New Hampshire was the first state to offer a lottery back in 1964 when the results depended on the outcome of horse races. Tickets to the sweepstakes, as it was called, were mostly sold at liquor stores and the state profited from the sales. Today, customers can choose from a range of lottery products across most jurisdictions in the United States. Since this week, they can participate in the New Hampshire lottery even online.

The move follows Governor Chris Sununu’s approval of an online lottery in July last year. The state has selected Michigan-based lottery firm NeoPollard Interactive as the provider of the new platform. Rolling out the online solution, the state lottery wants to offer new and more diverse gaming options to its customers and improve the player experience, said in a statement Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery. The online platform would also enhance players’ direct interaction with the games, he explains.

Although the news of the launch come this week, the iLottery was, in fact, rolled out quietly on September 4. In Thursday’s official announcement New Hampshire Lottery said that more than 4,200 players have already participated in the different lottery games. During this period, users have deposited almost $100,000 in their gaming accounts in order to buy tickets, while the iLottery has paid out winnings of a little over $360,000.

A total of eight instant lottery games are offered by iLottery but the current lineup is likely to grow over time. Players can also purchase tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions, the nation’s two largest lotteries.

Full Suite of Lottery Products

With its new and already running online platform, New Hampshire is the sixth state to offer a lottery over the Internet. Illinois’ lottery product went live in March 2012, followed by Georgia, which introduced its online lottery in just a few months, in November. Michigan joined them in 2014 and Kentucky followed in 2016.

Earlier this year, in June, Pennsylvania rolled out its online lottery and added an online sportsbook. Casinos in the state, however, opposed the online sports betting solution and filed a suit against the lottery. A total of seven casinos are petitioning, including Parx Casino, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack, the Meadows Casino Racetrack Hotel, Stadium Casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, and Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Two weeks ago, New Hampshire also launched its iLottery but unlike everyone else, they did so with no official announcement. Currently, each of the six states is offering different lottery products. For example, Pennsylvania has only instant win games, while Michigan offers draws, instant win games and Keno.

There are also states such as New York, Maine, North Dakota, Virginia, and North Carolina, which only have subscription services. New Hampshire, on the other hand, has prepared a full suite of lottery products and players can win tickets and participate in draws and instant win games. A subscription service is also available.

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US State and Local Governments Rake in $40.8 Billion in Gambling Taxes

US governments on all levels, federal, state and local, received $40.8 billion in tax revenues from the rapidly growing gambling industry in 2017. The sector contributed $261 billion to the United States economy and employed more than 1.8 million people, a new study by Oxford Economics reveals.

The research, published this week by the American Gaming Association, uncovers the key role of the gambling industry in the nation’s economy. The latest data shows the striking impact of casinos on other sectors such as hospitality, finance, insurance, and real estate. The gambling business has also become a large employer, while tax revenue from it alone provides funds, which would allow for the hiring of 692,000 new teachers, says Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, in an official statement.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), casino gaming has expanded to multiple new markets in the past few years, supporting the development and funding of various community projects in education, healthcare, etc. In 2017, the total economic impact of the gaming industry was $261.4 billion. This figure refers to the business sales or the output, which includes much more than just casino revenues.

Instead, researchers at Oxford Economics took various aspects of the gambling industry into account. Native American casinos, for example, generated $33.7 billion in total revenue, while commercial casinos earned $55.7 billion, for a total casino revenue of $89.4 billion. Nearly $73 billion of it represents the gross gaming revenue, while the rest of the money was generated by lodging, food and beverage, and entertainment.

Another figure included in the 2017 statistics is the gaming manufacturers’ revenue, which totaled $6.3 billion. In addition, ancillary spending added another $13.3 billion – these are the purchases of casino patrons that are made outside the gambling facilities but are completely dependent on casinos. Overall, the total direct spending generated by the gambling industry last year was $109 billion. The commercial casino industry brought $40.8 billion in total tax revenues, $10.7 billion of which came directly from gambling.

However, the economic impact of the gambling sales far extends this figure and shows the sector’s actual potential for supporting employment and boosting revenues in many other industries.

Huge Economic Impact

As mentioned above, local, state and federal governments received $40.8 billion in tax revenues from the casino and gambling industry last year. As city and state coffers were boosted by billions of dollars, a wide range of projects and services were funded such as hospitals, schools, public safety, infrastructure projects, educational programs, etc. Interestingly, the total tax impact per household was estimated – it was $343 per US household. In other words, every household in the country received a share of the taxes collected from the gaming sector in 2017.

One of the most important roles of the gambling industry is its influence on employment in the United States, according to researchers. The Oxford Economics study shows that commercial casinos employed 361,000 people, while tribal casinos employed another 198,000 individuals in 2017. The income generated from this labor was $26.5 billion, estimates reveal. An additional 17,100 employees worked for gaming manufacturers, earning $1.1 billion.

Patrons’ ancillary spending, as explained above, directly generated 151,000 jobs in other sectors, with $5.7 billion in labor income. The gambling business supported a total of 727,000 direct jobs that accounted for $33.3 billion of wages, salaries, and tips, the report reveals. That is not all, however, and researchers explain that the business activity of the gaming industry has, in fact, caused a chain effect that ultimately generated indirect labor income of $18.3 billion.

Last, but not least, casino workers, as well as employees in businesses directly or indirectly influenced by the gaming industry spend on services and goods from completely different sectors. As a result, the induced labor income last year totaled $22.3 billion. Overall, the gambling industry supported 1.8 billion jobs that generated $74.0 billion in salaries, benefits, and tips.

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