It should have been a welcome alternative to the lack of other sports gambling action caused by the coronavirus. The NBA 2K20 is running a special eSports competition involving professional basketball players, and sportsbooks have been more than willing to post odds on the outcome of the matches. Starring the likes of Kevin Durant and Andre Drummond, the ongoing games feature 16 NBA players and have been seen as a bright spot in an otherwise dismal sports period. However, leave it up to someone to ruin a good thing, as bookmakers have been forced to call off the bets after it was determined that someone had pre-existing knowledge of the results of the matches, which allowed them to place guaranteed winning bets.
The competition was set up to have the players face off based on their previous ranking in the game. They would all be playing from their respective homes, and the contests were to be a great distraction from the coronavirus for sports fans everywhere. However, the games, for obvious reasons, were not being shown live, but, instead, were pre-recorded. When wagers started leaning heavily in one direction, it didn’t take long for oddsmakers to realize something was wrong.
Durant, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets in the real world, took on Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat in round one of the competition. MyBookie.ag had Durant set as the favorite to win the tournament; however, it began to see a lot of action going to Jones – much more than what would have been expected under normal gambling situations (Jones won 78-62). When this happened, the online sportsbook knew that the results had been leaked and it pulled its lines.
Payouts still had to be made, though, and the company, in addition to the tens of thousands of dollars already being lost because of the coronavirus, lost another chunk in the “low five-figure” range, according to the sportsbook. Head oddsmaker David Strauss explained to Reuters, “It became clear that somebody knew something, and that the results had been leaked. That’s a nightmare scenario for us. When a result is compromised, we close the lines and look for the info ourselves. It’s almost always in the forums or on Twitter.”
What should have been a pleasant alternative for sports fans during the COVID-19 hiatus had to be screwed up by someone with more greed than brains. However, since only a small handful of individuals should have had access to the recorded games, it shouldn’t be too difficult to track down the person responsible for leaking the information and hold them accountable for their actions.
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