Patrick Reed has (again) found himself in a possible cheating scandal that questions his sportsmanship and scruples in golf. On the third day of the Farmers Insurance Open, Reed’s incident arose when he took a controversial free drop from his ball possibly being embedded in the rough.

In looking at the totality of the incident, Reed did eventually win the event by five strokes. This most likely puts the impact of the free drop incident, either taking a penalty stroke or having a bad approach shot, probably moot. 

Regardless how that event played out, no matter how much people might not have liked it, it probably would not have changed the result of the tournament. Reed would have probably won either way.

The PGA even said after the fact the situation was handled correctly. But that didn’t stop PointsBet, the official sportsbook partner of the PGA, from taking this uproar over Reed and making a PR stunt about it.

PointsBet Refunds All Non-Reed Bets

PointsBet announced after the conclusion of the tournament that they were refunding all customers who bet on a golfer who was not Patrick Reed. The Reed win bets obviously paid out, because he won the event.

Let me repeat that, he won the event.

Despite Reed winning the event, PointsBet wanted to grab headlines and attract new players by getting its name in the news for refunding betters. 

Why not sign up for PointsBet after this, right? If something terrible happens in a game, they got your back man! If in the Super Bowl, the refs don’t throw a flag on an obvious pass interference call that costs a team the game, they will cover you!

If the umpire calls a bad strike three, ending the game early, PointsBet got your back! If a ref calls a charge in an NBA game, but we all thought it was a bad call, PointsBet will make sure you get your money back. 

If Tyreke Hill was just one yard away from covering a prop bet on his receiving yards, and the refs took his last catch away from a poorly called offensive pass interference call, PointsBet will gladly hand refunds to their players.

Wait…they won’t?? None of those situations will happen? You mean, PointsBet wouldn’t do the same thing if hundreds of millions of dollars swung on a bad call in the Super Bowl? 

No, They Won’t

It’s easy for PointsBet to refund a total of probably three hundred bettors (I personally never heard of the sportsbook until their PR stunt this weekend). I would guess that less than a total of $10,000 was wagered at PointsBet for the PGA this weekend. There was probably more money bet on the virtual Pro Bowl.

For a sportsbook that is wanting to take in possibly millions of dollars in wagers, refunding maybe around $10,000 is a drop in the bucket if it creates goodwill from their current customers and bring in hopefully much more.

In fact, $10,000 is reality a cheap marketing budget to get on the front page of ESPN with their refund.

But let’s be real, PointsBet would never do this with serious money on the line. If hundreds of thousands of dollars of wagers were placed, they would need to use losing wagers to help pay for the winning ones.

Sportsbooks don’t last long if they pay out winners and refund losers every time there is a rule controversy.

Why PointsBet Refunding PGA Bettors Is A Dangerous Precedent to Set

Think of all the times a bad call, or flat out cheating, changed the course of a game, and we had to eat it with our bets.

The obvious pass interference call in the NFC Championship between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. Perhaps one of the worst blown calls in sports history. Where is my refund on my Saints bet?

What about the “Tuck Rule” game when the refs made up a rule so Tom Brady could beat the Raiders? Refund please.

How about the five different times in the last 10 years the NFL changed the definition of a catch because refs cost teams games? Hopefully PointsBet is this generous the next time the NFL inevitably makes this mistake.

What would happen if sportsbooks set the precedent that they will refund bets if they don’t agree with the outcome of a sports match? While it might make fans happy for a few days, that’s as long as the happiness would last. Sportsbooks would be out of business quick if they refunded bets every time controversy happened.

Can I Sue PointsBet?

Seriously, can I?

Next time a blown call costs a team the game, and I had a wager for that team to win, could I sue PointsBet if they don’t refund my money? They are setting the precedent that it’s okay to refund money if there is controversy.

Could I argue to a judge that since PointsBet has started this precedent, they would be selectively discriminating against my wager based on how much money was wagered in the event?

This whole line of thought it stupid, and is what will happen if PointsBet’s action becomes the norm. It is already a struggle to get sports betting legal in all 50 US states, and stunts like this make people lose trust in the system.

Most importantly, Patrick Reed won the event! The PGA signed off on it! It’s not like when sportsbooks refunded XFL bets because the season ended early. 

There was a clear outcome to the PGA tournament this weekend, and PointsBet is playing fire with our trust in sports gambling by pulling this PR stunt.