Some Las Vegas Sportsbooks Refund Dustin Johnson Masters Bets, Others Do Not
Las Vegas sportsbooks are split on whether to refund gamblers who bet on Dustin Johnson to win the 2017 Masters tournament. Until world No. 1 Dustin Johnson injured his back during a fall down a flight of stairs, he was the favorite to win the PGA golf tournament, which began at Augusta National in Georgia earlier today.
The various Nevada sports betting operators have a wide range of attitudes on refunding golf bets. Some refund because they see it as a matter of good customer relations, while others think it eliminates months of quibbling over bets. Many do not refund because a top golfer affects the bets on other players, while others simply see it as a risk players’ take.
Sportsbooks Which Didn’t Refund Dustin Johnson Bets
At the moment, top sportsbooks like the Westgate SuperBook, Wynn, and the Golden Nugget are refunding sports bettors’ wagers on Dustin Johnson. So are Station Casinos and the South Point sportsbook.
Vegas Sportsbooks Which Refunded Dustin Johnson Bets
Those which have chosen not to refund Dustin Johnson bets include William Hill, which is the largest single operator in the state with 108 sports betting locations. MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, CG Technology, and Boyd Gaming all declined to refund bets on the Masters.
In the Nevada gaming market, Dustin Johnson had more money bet on him than any other single PGA Tour golfer entering the Masters this year. Most of the sportsbooks in question recorded more Dustin Johnson wagers, so his absence put the various bookmakers in a special quandary.
No-Refund Policy for William Hill
Michael Grodsky of William Hill USA said the decision not to refund is a longstanding policy with his company’s sportsbooks. Grodsky said of the no-refund policy, “It has always been the case for us. We had it for years when Tiger [Woods] didn’t wind up playing, and it’s not only golf. When Ole Miss got their bowl ban [in February], that didn’t mean that anyone who bet on Mississippi got their money back.”
At the same time, William Hill said it would refund those who made a Dustin Johnson prop bet or who wagered on him in a match-up. Futures bets are the main revenue source from gambling on golf, though, and the sportsbooks note that futures bets often come with the stipulation “all bets are action“.
2017 Masters Betting Action at William Hill
Grodsky noted that Dustin Johnson, who has a history of bizarre incidents, did not receive the most betting action at William Hill sportsbooks. He noted that Jordan Spieth received 11% of the money, while Jason Day and Rory McIlroy tied Dustin Johnson with about 7% of the action apiece.
Jeff Stonebeck of the MGM Grand sportsbook backed the attitude William Hill took. Stonebeck, who is the assistant sportsbook manager for MGM Resorts, said, “It’s the risk you take. If it’s a weekly tournament, it’s more likely that a sportsbook will return a bettor’s money.”
Boyd Gaming’s Bet Refund Policy
Some believe money cannot be returned after so much time has passed. Bob Scucci of Boyd Gaming notes that sportsbooks see it as lost money when they refund money on a top player, because the wagers on the other top players were made at a discount.
Scucci noted “For us, when a top guy doesn’t play, it has a huge impact on the odds of the other players. We’re putting up futures months and months in advance.”
Refunded Bets as a Customer Service Issue
That is not the attitude many sportsbook operators took, though. To them, it is a customer service issue. You want customers to feel like they’re treated with fairness and kindness, so refunding bets on an unpredictable and unfortunate situation is a better way to handle customer affairs in the long term.
Wynn Resorts Refunds Bets
Wynn Resorts believes it is better for business to offer a refund, at least on golf bets. Johnny Avello, who managers the Wynn sportsbook, said his company does not give refunds when a horse does not run in the Kentucky Derby. When a golfer does not tee-up, that is a much different matter.
Avello said of the Wynn sports bet refund policy, “Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t give back the money, but for the last couple years, for the majors, we’ve decided to give back the money if a golfer doesn’t tee off. It turns out to be such a hassle not to do the refund because for the next three months all you hear from those customers is about the money they lost.”
Dustin Johnson’s Injured Back
When it was announced that Dustin Johnson injured his back prior to the start of the tournament, most sportsbooks adjusted his odds to less than those of top competitors like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. Johnson withdrew from the tournament prior to tee-off on Thursday.
The circumstances behind the injury are still sketchy. The official story is Dustin Johnson was wearing socks on the second story of a well-polished wooden floor. When he began down the stairs, his socked feet slipped on the stairs and he injured his back in the resulting fall down the stairs.
2017 Masters Round 1
After one round of golf, Charley Hoffman (-7) is 4 strokes ahead after shooting a 65. William McGirt is in second place at -3, while Lee Westwood (who finished second in 2010 and 2016) sits in third place at -2.
Eight different players are tied for fourth place at -1: Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Russell Henley, Andy Sullivan, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Kevin Chappell.
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