ESPN Bet refunds bettors Joe Burrow-related wager due to injury controversy

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ESNY Bet Logo

Credit: ESNY Bet Logo

Credit: ESNY Bet Logo

Whether it’s Jim Nantz, Joe Buck, Mike Tirico, or Al Michaels, the NFL-loving public has undoubtedly heard the frustration in their voice at one point or another: “There’s a (another) flag on the play.” And thus, there’s always at least one man whose number is announced to the world as the guilty party.

The culprit this time is ESPN Bet, the latest sportsbook to enter the legal online sports betting business.

ESPN Bet recently made a decision to refund sports bettors on a Joe Burrow-related boost from Thursday night’s Baltimore Ravens victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Officially dubbed the “Seeing Green” boost, it dared bettors to wager on both Burrow and Lamar Jackson to surpass a combined 500 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in the contest. Courtesy of both teams’ offensive prowess, it quickly became a popular bet. (Even ESPN personality Mike Greenberg promoted the Seeing Green boost.)

The only problem with the boost occurred in the first half of the actual game.

Burrow went down for the night.

Burrow, 26, left the game in the second quarter with a right wrist injury. Sure, injuries happen in sports, particularly in the National Football League where availability is always the best ability; but the refund has very little to do with the injury itself.

A lack of transparency is what signals red in this situation.

Clear video evidence of Burrow donning a brace on his right wrist surfaced prior to the game. Yet, the Bengals did not list their quarterback on the official injury report.

Naturally, the NFL betting public took immediate notice, including none other than PENN Entertainment’s previous sportsbook partner, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.

Portnoy wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “REFUND ALL BETS!!!!! You can’t do this in a legalized gambling world. REFUND ALL BETS!!!!! JAIL FOR EVERYBODY.”

Well, jail time might be jumping the gun a bit, Dave, but the powers that be most definitely take this seriously.

Powerhouse professional sports leagues jumping into the legal online sports betting game equals stick situations, no matter how safe it’s played. Maintaining the integrity of the sport is by far the most critical aspect of running any league. (Just look at the Pete Rose situation circa 1989 and thereafter.)

Therefore, official injury designations are no laughing matter for Roger Goodell and company.

Having to relent this early in its tenure, as ESPN Bet launched this past Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, isn’t anything ESPN and PENN desired. Screaming for refunds in the legal sports gambling game is nothing new, but when situations such as this arise, in which refund merit is evident, the line between “integrity of the sport” and “online sports betting” becomes just a bit more blurry.

Expect the NFL to come down on the Cincinnati Bengals in some form or fashion. At the very least, this topic is far from complete.

Beyond the controversy of refunds, new ESPN Bet users can snag an incredible $250 instant bonus today by simply utilizing ESPN Bet Promo Code AJC. Use one of our promo code offers (with ESPN Bet Promo Code AJC), create a new ESPN Bet sportsbook account, and make a minimum $1 bet on anything (within seven days of promo activation) to scoop up your guaranteed $250 in bonus bets (win or lose).

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New Customers only. Bet $5 and get $150 in Bonus Bets. Sign up, deposit (minimum $10) to your account and place a qualifying bet of $5 to get $150 in Bonus Bets once your bet is settled with bet365. Bonus Bets winnings are added to Bonus Bets balance. Bonus Bet wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code AJCXLM can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not an online gambling operator or gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.

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