DraftKings Apologizes for Controversial 9/11 Anniversary Bet


Monday saw a public apology from online betting platform DraftKings, after the regrettable decision was made to host a betting opportunity related to three New York sports teams’ performances on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. DraftKings immediately withdrew the bet, labeled as “NEVER FORGET,” which had offered odds of +651 for victories by the Mets, Yankees, and Jets.

The company made a public statement expressing sincere regret for the feature bet, acknowledging that the commemoration of 9/11 is a significant and sensitive day for the nation, and particularly for those families directly impacted by the tragic event.

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This inappropriate betting choice drew swift and stern criticism in New York, a city scarred by the collapse of the World Trade Center 22 years ago. Among the critics, the New York State Gaming Commission described the decision as “reprehensible,” expressing its expectations for all license-holders to maintain sensitivity in such matters.

As the second-largest amongst the nine sportsbooks operating in New York, DraftKings is a recognizable name in the industry within the city. While bets in the form of the one offered by DraftKings are legally permissible under New York regulations, those holding licenses have considerable latitude over their marketing and promotional activities. Despite negative press, DraftKings does not seem likely to face any regulatory backlash for the ill-judged 9/11 bet.

The New York Post characterized the bet as “tone-deaf,” pointing out not only its insensitivity but also its comparatively poor odds. A similar three-way bet would offer odds of +682 on FanDuel, rather than the +651 offered by DraftKings.

Further critical reflection came from New York writer Tom Ley, editor-in-chief of Defector.com, who mused over the continued tendency to make missteps related to 9/11, even after 22 years. Mr. Ley contextualized the ill-advised bet as an unappetizing symptom of a broader, flawed cultural approach used in mourning the tragic day.