If you picked the University of Alabama to win the NCAA college football national championship and made your bet on FanDuel, then you might have already won despite the fact that the championship game won’t take place until Jan. 7, 2019. In fact, Alabama hasn’t even made the championship game, with the semi-final Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl games scheduled for Dec. 29.
That hasn’t stopped FanDuel from announcing that they are treating Alabama as the winners of the championship game, and are paying out single-game bets to bettors with online and mobile accounts. Players who made their bets in-person can also bring in their winning tickets to receive payment.
“It has been a dominant season for the Crimson Tide and our traders have seen enough,” the company said in a statement Friday night. “It’s a way to reward our customers for betting on Alabama when the odds were really hard to make any money doing it.”
The sportsbook has said that Alabama is also now considered as the winner on futures and parlay bets that included Alabama winning the title.
FanDuel could end up losing as much as $400,000 as a result of their decision to pay out Alabama bettors early. They will, of course, still have to pay out other bets if the Crimson Tide does not end up winning it all.
This is not the first time a betting site has paid out bets before the final results are in, and it hasn’t always worked out the way they planned. The decision to pay out bets before a contest is officially decided, likely made for publicity reasons, can end up being a costly way for gaming entities to advertise themselves.
A few weeks before the conclusion of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Irish online bookmaker Paddy Power paid out nearly $1 million in bets made on Hilary Clinton, who ended up losing in the electoral college.
Alabama has been a dominant team this year, entering most of their games this year as more than 20-point favorites. FanDuel will have to wait over a month to see if their own bet on the favorite will pay off.