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.
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