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VSiN host, Westgate in dispute over French Open bet

Updated October 24, 2020 - 7:55 pm

If you have a bet on the Masters, you might want to check to see if it’s still action.

VSiN host Gill Alexander said he didn’t check the rules on a bet he placed on the French Open and missed out on a $30,000 payday.

Several Las Vegas sportsbooks, including Circa Sports, Boyd Gaming and the Westgate, refunded all wagers on the original Masters betting pool and reposted a new one after the major golf tournament was postponed March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The books refunded the bets in accordance with the same house rule that the event must be held within eight days of the scheduled date to be considered action.

The Westgate and Boyd Gaming followed the same rule when they refunded the original French Open betting pool and reposted a new one after the major tennis tournament was postponed March 17. It was rescheduled from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 27-Oct. 11.

Alexander said on his VSiN show, “A Numbers Game,” that he placed multiple bets on Iga Swiatek to win the French Open, including a $1,000 wager at 30-1 odds placed Jan. 31 at the Westgate.

After Swiatek won the French Open on Oct. 11, Alexander tried to cash his ticket at the Westgate and was told it had been refunded in March.

Alexander then stated his case to get paid on his VSiN show. He declined an interview request, referring to clips from his show during which he discussed the bet.

Alexander did say in a text message that he has taken the dispute to the Gaming Control Board. “I’m thinking it’s best to wait for Gaming to rule on it at this point,” he said in the text.

Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay said the book notified the Control Board, per the regulation that if a dispute with a customer is for $500 or more and cannot be settled, the casino is required to notify the board.

“We work in a world of transparency and consistency, and that’s what we’ve done for over 30 years,” Kornegay said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. We’ve got to treat everybody the same. Or Nevada gaming is not going to allow us to operate.

“We have always operated under the rules, and this event is no different.”

Kornegay said all 65 tickets in the original French Open pool were refunded.

All bets were refunded on Westgate’s mobile app in March. Bettors have a year to collect a refund on physical tickets.

Alexander has a physical ticket. He said on his show that he doesn’t think the Westgate did enough to get the word out about the refund.

He dismissed a March 17 tweet by Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman that said the original French Open pool was a refund.

“I don’t follow Jeff Sherman on Twitter, so I didn’t see the tweet,” Alexander said. “Part of the burden is on the Westgate. A tweet in March doesn’t hack it, in my opinion.”

Kornegay said the Westgate did more than that to get the word out.

“When the pandemic hit, there was a lot of discussion at that time in the sports betting world about whether bets were refunds or action, and we went to the airwaves to get the word out for everyone to check with their local book on whether they had action or the bets were refunded,” he said. “That included local ESPN Radio and the RJ, and we actually went on VSiN a number of times to discuss it.”

Alexander also argued that he should be paid on his French Open wager because the Westgate paid out futures bets on baseball and the NBA, though their season start dates and locations changed.

Kornegay said that also falls under house rule No. 1. After stating that “all basketball, hockey and baseball games must be played on the scheduled date to be considered action,” the rule reads “unless otherwise specified on any SuperBook printed media or the electronic boards.”

Kornegay said it was specified on the printed sheets in the book that if the NBA Finals or World Series took place, bets are action.

In discussing the bet on VSiN, Alexander said, “I’ve said it 100 times, if not 1,000 times on this show, always check the rules at the sportsbook.”

But he said it never dawned on him to check on his Swiatek wager.

“There was this assertion that any logical bettor, during a pandemic, should think ‘I probably need to reach out and find out what the new rules are,’” he said. “But these other futures are being paid out, so I didn’t think to call.”

Kornegay said he was surprised that someone in the sports betting industry didn’t inquire about an event that was postponed for five months.

“There is some level of responsibility on the bettor’s side to know the rules,” he said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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