Should Sportsbooks Refund Bettors After Player Injuries And Bad Beats?

Written By Corey Sharp on December 16, 2022
Some PA sportsbooks refunded Kyler Murray markets after he got injured.

On the third play of the game, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambled past the line-of-scrimmage Monday night. After planting his right leg to make a cut, his night – and season – were over.

The fourth-year quarterback suffered a torn ACL after tests confirmed the injury.

Bettors that bet Murray’s over in props or included them in parlays had a rough night until most Pennsylvania sportsbooks bailed them out. The majority of sportsbooks announced that they are issuing a refund to bettors after Murray left the game.

Is it a good idea for sportsbooks to refund bettors? There are advantages to both arguments, as we examine this topic more closely.

Examples of PA sportsbook refunds during NFL season

Murray is the latest case of sportsbooks refunding bettors after an injury early in the game.

There have been plenty of other examples this season when sportsbooks have refunded bettors due to injury:

  • FanDuel Sportsbook refunded Breece Hall to win Offensive Rookie of the Year after he suffered a torn ACL in October. DraftKings Sportsbook went a step further to refund Hall’s season-long props in yards and touchdowns.
  • FanDuel refunded bettors when DeVonta Smith fumbled on a lateral on the last play of a Monday night game in November. No other sportsbook reportedly refunded bettors.
  • FanDuel, DraftKings and PointsBet issued refunds when Tua Tagovailoa suffered a horrific concussion in Cincinnati in September.
  • FanDuel also refunded a Pat McAfee Same Game Parlay when a last-second touchdown ruined the alternate spread between a Steelers-Browns game in September.

There are plenty more examples of sportsbooks refunding bettors. It also takes place in other sports.

Pros of PA sportsbooks issuing refunds

Whether you’re a recreational bettor or a professional bettor – or somewhere in between – getting a notice of a refund is a relief

In the short-term, it gives bettors a good feeling about the sportsbook they are betting on. It could create a sense of loyalty for the next several weeks, or as long as the bettor remembers the kind gesture.

Case in point, a popular betting influencer on Twitter gives FanDuel a “W” comment for refunding a DeVonta Smith “bad beat.”

Cons of PA sportsbooks refunding bettors

While refunding bettors might be good in the short-term, what does it mean for the long-term? Refunding bettors can create more questions than answers in some respects.

The one con that comes to mind when refunding bettors is how to make everything fair. For example, when DeVonta Smith’s “bad beat” was refunded, most of the comments on Twitter were somewhat negative. 

A lot of people in the comments put pressure on other sportsbooks to do the same. There are multiple comments of people tagging other sports betting operators.

Another person in the comments shared a bet slip in which the same thing occurred in the Steelers-Browns game from September. The bet from September, when Chase Claypool lateralled the ball resulting in a loss of yards, appeared to have not been refunded after he went under his total yards prop. One bettor even claimed to change his sportsbook loyalty after the bet from September was not refunded.

Remember, FanDuel refunded the Pat McAfee Same Game Parlay when the alternate spread didn’t hit in the Steelers-Browns game. People in the comments made it known that Claypool’s prop yards went under.

There were also people asking why bets with alternate totals weren’t getting refunded. Where do sportsbooks draw the line?

Only sportsbooks know the answer to this, but perhaps more people are left unhappy than happy when refunding bets.

PointsBet’s Karma Kommittee

PointsBet Sportsbook, according to its website, has a “Karma Kommittee.” As explained on the website:

“The Karma Kommittee convenes on a moment’s notice to help correct the injustices that harm our betting accounts. Bad call? Season-ending injury? The Kommittee has the power to execute a Good Karma Payout, refunding all affected bettors in Free Bets.”

The committee has not been very active on Twitter, with the last post coming in April 2021.

Though the committee isn’t as active, it still responds to people on Twitter. PointsBet customer support answered a request from a bettor after Monday night’s game.

The hashtag KarmaKomimttee on Twitter is still extremely active as bettors look for any injustice they can.

So, as social media and legal sportsbooks co-exist, it appears that the subject of refunds will continue to be heavily discussed. While there are clear benefits of refunding users, it’s possible the number of instances and requests gets out of hand.

Photo by Rick Scuteri / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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