Sports betting company DraftKings apologized Monday for using the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to entice people to bet on baseball and football games on the anniversary of the tragedy that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The Boston-based company offered users a 9/11-themed promotion that required three New York-based teams — the Yankees, Mets and Jets — to win their games on Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon . A passenger plane was shot down in a field in Pennsylvania.
Following an outcry on social media from people upset by the promotion, titled “Never Forget”, DraftKings removed it and apologized.
“We sincerely apologize for the special conversation that was briefly shared in memory of 9/11,” the company wrote. “We honor the importance of this day for our country and especially the families of those who were directly affected.”
Brett Eagleson, whose father, Bruce, was killed in the World Trade Center, runs a family and first responder organization called 9/11 Justice. He condemned DraftKings’ offering as “tone-deaf”.
“Using the national tragedy of 9/11 to promote a business is shameful,” he told The Associated Press. “We need accountability, justice and closure, not self-interest and shameless promotion.”
The company would not say how many people placed bets as a result of the offer, nor would it say whether those bets stood valid or whether they had been voided.
DraftKings is one of the leading companies offering legal sports betting in the US, having grown rapidly since the US Supreme Court cleared the way for it in 2018. Two-thirds of the country now offers it.
The types of bets offered by DraftKings, in which multiple games or outcomes are bundled into a single bet, are extremely profitable for sports books, and offer gamblers pre-selected groups of bets, called parlays. An important part of sports betting.