ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Sports betting company DraftKings apologized Monday after using the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks 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 Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the downing of a passenger jet in a field in Pennsylvania.
After an outcry on social media from people offended by the promotion titled “Never Forget,” DraftKings took it down and apologized.
“We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11,” the company wrote. “We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the families of those who were directly affected.”
Bret Eagleson, whose father, Bruce, was killed in the World Trade Center, runs a families and first responders organization called 9/11 Justice. He decried the DraftKings offer as “tone-deaf.”
“It is shameful to use the national tragedy of 9/11 to promote a business,” 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 whether those bets remain valid or whether they have been canceled.
DraftKings is one of the leading companies offering legal sports betting in the U.S., which has grown rapidly since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for it in 2018. Two-thirds of the country now offers it.
Bets of the type DraftKings offered, in which multiple games or outcomes are bundled into a single wager, are extremely profitable for sports books, and offering gamblers preselected groupings, called parlays, is an important part of sports wagering.