DraftKings Survivor Pool Controversy: How Sportsbook Is Addressing Steelers, Lions Tie

DraftKings Survivor Pool Controversy: How Sportsbook Is Addressing Steelers, Lions Tie article feature image
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Denise Truscello/Getty Images for DraftKings.

The Action Network’s Darren Rovell and Avery Yang both contributed to this report.


The Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions battled it out in one of the sloppiest overtimes the NFL has seen in a while, but it also created a messy situation for one sportsbook’s survivor pools.

After the two teams slogged their way to a 16-16 tie, some DraftKings customers noticed that taking the Steelers eliminated them from their survivor pool, while others who had taken Pittsburgh survived and advanced.

Following a couple days of confusion, a DraftKings representative clarified late Tuesday afternoon that the bylaws of the $1 million prize survivor pool — which has a $333 entry fee, the highest at the book — stipulate that a contestant loses if the team they pick that week ties.

But, the smaller survivor pools and the free-to-play contests stipulate that a contestant who picks a team that ties does advance to the next week.

DraftKings executives would not comment as to why there was this discrepancy between the book’s most expensive pool and the rest of the contests.

There were only about 2,600 total entrants into the $1 million pool. A source told The Action Network that at least one entrant lost his or her $333 fee despite picking the Steelers.

DraftKings representatives did not clarify how many people exactly were eliminated from the $1 million prize after selecting the Steelers or Lions.

It is also unclear how many people out of the 2,642 original participants remain alive for the $1 million grand prize.

A survivor pool involves picking one team to win each NFL week. They typically start before Week 1.

If the team you pick wins, you move on to the next week, but you can no longer pick that team for the rest of the season. Entrants that pick a losing team are eliminated.

The last remaining person wins the final prize. If there are multiple winners, the pot size is split accordingly.

And at DraftKings, if no contestants are remaining after a given week, those who stayed alive to make picks the week before would split the winnings amongst themselves.

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