Score a big one for the little guys.
Two New Jersey men won a $56,325 jackpot off a $75 bet after FanDuel, following talks with state gambling regulators on Thursday, flipped on its initial refusal to pay bets involving “an obvious pricing error” during Sunday’s Denver Broncos comeback 20-19 win over the Oakland Raiders.
“We’re ecstatic,” Mike Guerriero told The Post. “We got the news straight from the director of PR for FanDuel. He said they wanted to make right on the bet, said they wanted to make betting fun again. And it’s a good thing, because if they didn’t give us the full amount, we would’ve fought it.”
Guerriero, 27, of Paterson, said he was watching football Sunday with his friend Chris Calcano, 27, of West Paterson, when they made a $75 late-game wager at 750-to-1 odds on the Broncos to win. The wager came before the Broncos attempted a 36-yard field goal, trailing 19-17 in the final seconds. Brandon McManus would make the kick, putting this series of events in motion. FanDuel said the odds at the time should’ve instead been 1-6 and at first refused to pay.
“A 36-yard field goal has approximately an 85% chance of success, so the astronomical odds offered on something highly likely to occur was very obviously a pricing error,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “These kinds of issues are rare, but they do happen.”
The statement continued: “So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”
Guerriero, who owns two ice cream stores in northern New Jersey, said he plans to use the money to open a third store, this time bringing Calcano into the fold.
They also plan to use some of the winnings to take a grandiose, no-expense-spared trip to Italy for an upcoming gelato, pastry and ice cream trade show in January, Guerriero said.
“We’re going to go there and figure out how to open up another store together when we get back,” Guerriero said.
In all, Guerriero is one of 12 bettors who was given exorbitant odds during an 18-second glitch. A spokeswoman for FanDuel declined to indicate how much the company is doling out in total, but said it’s working with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to improve its processes moving forward.
A spokeswoman for the state gaming agency told the Associated Press that it was “encouraged” by FanDuel’s reversal. Guerriero, meanwhile, said he was prepared to fight the initial ruling after an attorney informed him of his rights.
“So we had that in our back pocket the whole time,” he said. “I don’t want to cause any harm to the industry or to make a lot of noise, especially when it just became legal, so we wanted to let them make amends. Luckily enough, we didn’t have to file a complaint.”
Still, Guerriero has questions.
“But what about the next guy?” he asked. “How do you trust the next time this happens?”
Guerriero said he downloaded the sports betting app because he was attracted to the regulation and oversight by state gaming officials.
“We wanted to use FanDuel because if we won, there’s a guaranteed payout,” he said. “So it was tough to see this initially taken back. But I feel fortunate that we won and that FanDuel reversed itself.”
Ready to keep pressing his luck, Guerriero said he’ll be betting again this weekend. He also plans to buy a McManus jersey to hang in one of his stores.
“We’re a little superstitious and McManus, he’s got the golden leg,” Guerriero said. “So yeah, I might do a little bit [of gambling] here and there, but I’m going to be a little cautious for now.”
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