Those who bet on Alabama to repeat as college football's champions were rewarded with an early payday.
On Friday, the FanDuel Sportsbook made sports betting history by being the first legal sports betting operator in the United States to pay out future wagers on the college football national championship – over a month before the final game is played. FanDuel paid out early all tickets on Alabama to be the last team standing.
On Saturday, Alabama rallied after trailing by 14 points to capture the SEC Championship over Georgia, priming itself for a top seed in the College Football Playoff. With Alabama currently a -280 shot to win the National Championship, the FanDuel Sportsbook decided to settle all futures wagers on Alabama as winners, regardless of what happens for the remainder of the season.
“Alabama’s historic and seemingly inevitable march to Levi’s Stadium deserved a history making gesture to our customers,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group. “While the college football season has not had too many surprises, we wanted to surprise our customers today, thank them for their loyalty, and prove there are More Ways to Win on FanDuel.”
Any single futures bets on Alabama were paid out to customers Friday. When taking into account Alabama championship futures that are involved in parlays, the early payout could be nearly $400,000. Retail customers with a physical bet slip dated prior to November 30th can redeem it for the full amount at any FanDuel Sportsbook location. Any future wagers placed on Alabama after 5 p.m. ET on November 30th did not qualify for an early payout.
“FanDuel is a customer first company and innovations like an early payout of a major sporting event is a great example of what can be done in a legal and regulated sports betting market to benefit the consumer,” continued Raffensperger. “Even if Alabama loses its next game or doesn’t win the national title, this was something that we wanted to do to celebrate our customers and show why we are the most innovative and fun sportsbook in the United States.”
For those that missed out on the early payout, the FanDuel Sportsbook has another way to get in on Alabama. FanDuel set up a special early betting line for the National Championship game featuring Alabama vs. Clemson. The special early market has Alabama -8 against the No. 2 ranked team in the country. If the matchup doesn’t occur, all bets will be voided and money returned to the customers.
If traders are incorrect about the superiority of Alabama and they fail to win the championship, FanDuel will payout all wagers on the winning team as per usual.
*Sports Illustrated contributed to this report