‘The Bachelor’ star Jade Roper Tolbert wins $1 million NFL DraftKings contest — some allege she broke the rules, but she says it was pure luck
Jade Roper Tolbert, a model and former contestant on the TV show “The Bachelor,” won $1 million in a DraftKings $20 buy-in contest over the first week of the NFL playoffs. Sports betting reporter Darren Rovell and other gambling experts noticed the possibility of collusion in Tolbert’s entry.
For tournaments and contests like this one, DraftKings allows each player to submit up to 150 entries, allowing a player to create multiple lineup combinations. This limit was put into place to prevent players from choosing so many single lineup combinations that their chances of winning huge prizes would be too great.
Jade Roper Tolbert’s husband Tanner Tolbert also entered the same contest over the weekend, submitting the maximum 150 entries. If they did ‘collude’ with their lineups, it would have essentially given the couple 300 entries.
Such a situation would violate the DraftKings Community Guidelines. Among DraftKings’ “Unacceptable Behaviors:” Team-building complementary lineups which serve to work together AND executing a strategy that may create any unfair advantage over individual play.
One example people are flagging is how the Tolberts allegedly selected their quarterbacks. According to DraftKings data from the Tolberts’ lineups, Jade created over 95% of her lineups using Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill and Josh Allen, while Tanner created over 98% of his lineups around Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz. After choosing six of the eight quarterbacks playing this weekend, the couple then selected a correlated group of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Such a practice would exponentially increase their chances of winning the contest if one of their running backs or wide receivers had a great game, because they chose most of the available quarterbacks.
Professional sports gambler and daily fantasy sports player William Bierman posted a statistical breakdown of the couple’s lineups:
When contacted for comment, a DraftKings spokesperson told MarketWatch, “We take the integrity and fairness of our contests very seriously and are looking into this matter.”
The Tolberts have confirmed it was in fact them who won the contest.
The Tolberts’ representation told MarketWatch, “We respect that DraftKings feels they must do their due diligence in regard to Jade winning their $1 million dollar prize for the fantasy contest for the NFL’s wild-card round this weekend. Though we must ponder, would the questions, accusations and curiosity about this win be the same if the winner had been male and someone who wasn’t already in the public eye? It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade’s win is nothing more than pure luck and we are confident that DraftKings will determine the same.”
For a company like DraftKings, integrity of its fantasy contests and sportsbooks is paramount. DraftKings claims it has a 60% market share of the daily fantasy sports industry and 30% market share of online sports betting. Sports betting across America has skyrocketed in recent years, as over $10 billion has been wagered at sportsbooks in only the last 18 months.
The controversy comes as DraftKings is making an attempt to go public in a $3.3 billion deal with gaming company SBTech and acquisition company Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp.