Legal

New Investigation Looks Into The Sports Betting Election Fiasco

DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel and West Virginia Lottery In Hot Water

According to a source, the Attorney General’s office in West Virginia has opened an investigation into the matter of betting odds being offered on the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. The investigation started after several emails between sports betting providers DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel, and the West Virginia Lottery surfaced on “Document Cloud.”

The site is where journalists gather and share data and information. Someone at the West Virginia Attorney General’s (AG) Office received a tip about the documents and opened an investigation.

The AG’s office is focusing on the emails that were sent back and forth between the sports betting providers and the Lottery between April 6 and 8. Only hours after FanDuel announced they were taking bets on the upcoming presidential election, they were shut down and ordered to remove the bets and issue refunds.

The emails uncovered reveal that everyone in the equation was very eager for the election bets to move forward. The West Virginia Lottery quickly gave permission to all the sports betting operators that wanted licenses. Permission was granted within one hour of the first email being sent.

DraftKings Issued Press Release About Election Bets

DraftKings was the first sports betting provider to offer election betting across all of its platforms. Within three hours of receiving official approval, DraftKings announced they were taking bets on the upcoming 2020 presidential election on April 7.

As soon as FanDuel posted odds for the election results, the West Virginia Lottery did a complete 180. Officials at the West Virginia Lottery said that DraftKings and other sport betting companies proceeded without their permission, and may have misunderstood something.

On the morning of April 8, the West Virginia Secretary of State, Marc Warner, issued a terse statement, condemning everyone in the equation. The statement said, in part, “Betting on the presidential election is strictly forbidden in West Virginia, and besides that, it’s a horrible idea.”

A few hours later, the West Virginia director of the Lottery, John Meyers, accepted some responsibility for the entire fiasco. Meyers said there was some miscommunication, and an error was made by all parties.

Uncovered Emails Show All Parties Knew What Was Going On

Tales of miscommunications and stories of understanding issues don’t line up with what the emails have revealed. The first email uncovered was a request by both DraftKings and PNG that was sent to David Bradley, who handles security for the West Virginia Lottery.

It was a request that was CC’d to both DraftKings and PNG and sent by Erich Zanny, who is the Vice President of racing and sports operations for Hollywood Casino. The April 6 email conveyed that the sports betting operations were looking for other avenues of revenue due to the coronavirus sports shutdown and the shuttering of casinos.

The email also inferred that they weren’t sure if election betting was even legal, indicating that they had some prior knowledge that betting on the election could have legal ramifications. There were several more back-and-forth emails between Bradley and Zanny, with a final one giving the green light to election betting.

All companies involved in the investigation refused to offer any comments at this time, due to it being an ongoing investigation.

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