PA Sports Betting Apps Buckle Under Historic Super Bowl Traffic

Written By Katie Kohler on February 8, 2021 - Last Updated on May 31, 2021
High Super Bowl Traffic Crashes PA Betting Apps

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offense wasn’t the only thing that experienced difficulty on Super Bowl Sunday.

Last-minute Super Bowl bettors got shut out of sports betting apps as sites cratered under the unprecedented amount of user traffic.

The following sports betting apps in Pennsylvania had outages during their busiest day:

DraftKings, BetRivers and Barstool are all powered by Kambi. DraftKings issued a statement that stated the problems were caused by high traffic to Kambi, its backend provider.

Here’s a statement from a DraftKings’s spokesperson regarding the outages:

“We’re aware customers were unable to access our mobile and online Sportsbook. It appears this outage was caused by a surge in traffic that caused problems for our backend provider. Our DFS and pools products, supported by in-house technology, are functioning without issue. This incident is why we believe owning our own technology is important.”

DraftKings is planning to move onto its SBTech platform this year.

In December, FanDuel, DraftKings and Barstool were the top three operators, respectively, in terms of total sports betting handle in Pennsylvania.

FanDuel sportsbook

FanDuel customer support tweeted at 5:43 p.m. ET that they were aware customers in Michigan and Illinois were having trouble logging in and placing wagers.

Users in Pennsylvania expressed similar frustration. Various attempts to log in from 5:30 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. showed this message:

At 8:47 p.m., FanDuel tweeted the following:

FanDuel users in PA also had problems logging in and placing bets during NFL Championship Sunday.

FanDuel is third most-downloaded app

The FanDuel Sportsbook app was the third-most downloaded app in the Apple Store on Super Bowl Sunday behind TikTok and Robinhood.

FanDuel’s 55-1 new customer offer paid out $17 million. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers win and cover (+3) paid out more than $27 million to FanDuel customers in pre-match betting on the core spread and moneyline markets. In a post-Super Bowl email, FanDuel noted that in-play wagers, prop bets and parlays will be calculated and paid out to customers throughout the evening and will change final numbers.

A spokesperson from FanDuel told LegalSportsReport:

“At no time did our platform cease operating and our team worked quickly to restore and stabilize service in the affected markets.”

DraftKings sportsbook

DraftKings wasn’t immune to the stoppage of play.

Some DraftKings users in PA who tried to place a bet in the hour leading up to kickoff got this error message:

DraftKings also issued a warning about wagers taking longer to payout.

Barstool sportsbook

Barstool online sportsbook posted the highest revenue of all sportsbooks in PA in December. The site also experienced difficulty due to the high volume of users.

Portnoy frustrated, Barstool refunds bad beat

Barstool hosted a Big Game Live Bet Showdown at Greektown Casino in Michigan during Super Bowl LV. A crashed app shut down the showdown. Portnoy went on a tirade to start the live stream:

“The app is not working. It hasn’t been working for 45 minutes. F— everybody who is f—ing it up and they know who they are. They are catching f—ing hell right now because they are making me f—ing look bad and Penn look bad. F— the people who f—ed the app up.”

After Super Bowl 55, Barstool ruled the “Logan Paul/Rob Gronkowski bet” a win. Gronkowski finished with 67 receiving yards.

Who is Kambi?

FanDuel, DraftKings and Barstool are all familiar names. But who is Kambi?

Kambi is a B2B sports betting provider that helps consumer-facing operators provide sports betting services. The company has four areas of expertise for its sports betting offering:

  • Technical platform
  • Odds and trading
  • User interface
  • Risk management

Most-bet Super Bowl

Expectations were high prior to Super Bowl LV.

A total of 23.2 million Americans planned to bet a total of $4.3 billion on this year’s Super Bowl according to American Gaming Association (AGA) research.

A record 7.6 million people were going to bet with online sportsbooks this year, up 63% year-over-year.

“This year’s Super Bowl is expected to generate the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “With a robust legal market, Americans are abandoning illegal bookies and taking their action into the regulated marketplace in record numbers.”

Early indications are Super Bowl LV delivered. It also explains mobile betting sites’ technical issues. FanDuel told LSR that the outages were due to “unprecedented demand” around the Super Bowl.

A rep from BetMGM said that it was the most-bet Super Bowl. BetMGM had issues in Nevada but not in Pennsylvania.

ESPN gambling reporter David Payne Purdum tweeted this regarding Super Bowl LV betting volume:

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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