LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas casino took an unusual step Wednesday and offered refunds to gamblers who lost money when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial touchdown at the end of Monday night’s game.
Derek Stevens, owner The D Las Vegas, seized on the attention being paid to the much-derided decision by replacement officials handling the NFL game and became the only casino in Las Vegas to offer refunds.
“I know exactly how it would feel if I was laying the number and I saw what happened,” Stevens said. He declared himself “disgusted” with the ruling and said he just couldn’t accept the outcome.
The Seahawks won 14-12 after a Packers defender and Seahawks receiver fought for the ball on a final “Hail Mary” pass play. Officials missed an offensive pass interference call and then decided there had been simultaneous catch by the two players. Under NFL rules, that gave Seattle the touchdown and the win.
Nevada gambling regulators said Stevens could make refunds if he wanted.
Another Las Vegas sports book operator worried the move set a bad precedent.
“Whenever there are bad calls we’re going to start refunding? Based on what?” said Jay Kornegay, race and sports book director at The LVH casino. “We’re supposed to pay out winning wagers based on official final scores by the league, in this case the NFL.”
Some offshore online betting outlets have also issued refunds.
Stevens, who has been renovating and rebranding the high-rise downtown casino formerly called the Fitzgerald, said D Las Vegas will refund straight and money-line bets made on the Packers until Sunday — but only on wagers made at his sports book.
State gambling regulations prohibit a sports book from rescinding a wager without prior approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission chairman.
The chairman, Mark Lipparelli, said a refund is different from rescinding a bet. He said that in his four years on the regulatory panel he couldn’t remember a similar move.
“It’s not a rescission. It’s a refund,” Lipparelli told The Associated Press. “That’s within their discretion.”