Controversial calls are a dime a dozen in the history of sports.
The outcome of plays, games and even entire NFL seasons have been influenced by bad calls.
The most recent came as a no-call during Week 13 as the Kansas City Chiefs faced the Denver Broncos.
Tyreek Hill’s unimaginable touchdown reception
Roughly four minutes into the second quarter, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a deep pass into the end zone.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was there to make the touchdown, though the catch was deemed incomplete.
Neither Hill nor the Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid questioned the call, though plenty of fans were throwing the red flag.
Ultimately, the Chiefs still pulled out a win, maintaining the lead in the AFC West.
The no-call did, however, alter the outcome of many sports bettors’ first touchdown scorer wagers.
DraftKings, Action 24/7 issue Tyreek Hill bet refund
Sportsbooks jumped into action to right the referee’s wrong.
Multiple Tennessee sportsbooks refunded lost bets caused by the incomplete call.
Action 24/7 was the first to make the announcement at 9:22pm. The book issued refunds almost immediately for those who wagered on Tyreek Hill to score the first touchdown.
Action 24/7 bettors who took Tyreek Hill to score the first TD – we’re giving you a refund.
Cuz that was a CATCH. 😤pic.twitter.com/7pAi686ZGQ
— Action 247 (@TNAction247) December 7, 2020
FanDuel issues Bad Beat Payout
FanDuel, which was running an odds boost on Hill, issued a Bad Beat Payout that evening. Instead of a refund on Tyreek Hill bets, all applicable Tyreek Hill first TD and any time TD bets were marked as winners and paid out as site credits.
More than $1 million was credited to accounts.
🚨 BAD BEAT PAYOUT 🚨
We had an odds boost for Tyreek Hill First TD tonight that should've hit. Let's pretend the Chiefs challenged the play.
FanDuel Sportsbook has your back, we're paying out over $1M in site credit for all Tyreek Hill First TD & Any Time TD bets 💰 pic.twitter.com/eefK1DESrD
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 7, 2020
Reasonable refunds increase customer loyalty
Controversial calls can leave a wake of disgruntled fans. Those with money on the line can face even deeper heartbreak and frustration.
Luckily, customer loyalty is one of the principal factors in a sportsbook’s success.
By refunding bets on a controversial call, sportsbooks hope to prevent bettors from jumping ship and moving on to a competing operator.
Indiana sportsbooks made a similar move back in October when Penn State lost to Indiana University. The controversial call came on a two-point conversion. It was called good and the Hoosiers won in overtime 35-34.
For that game, FanDuel and DraftKings refunded all pre-game wagers on the Penn State moneyline.
Large sportsbooks already spend a substantial amount of money on marketing and promotions each year, traditionally operating at a loss.
Instead of looking for short-term gains, operators play the long game for brand devotion and market domination.
As a result, another bad call has now been made right in the eyes of bettors.