Ex-‘Bachelor’ contestant’s $1M fantasy sports win probed
BOSTON (AP) — Sports gambling giant DraftKings is reviewing a former “Bachelor” contestant’s $1 million win in an online fantasy football contest after she and her husband are accused of cheating.
Jade Roper-Tolbert, who appeared in “The Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise” television series in 2015, beat more than 100,000 entries to take the top prize in DraftKings’ “Millionaire Maker” contest, which involved picking a lineup of players from the NFL’s four wild-card games last weekend.
She noted on Twitter on Sunday that her big win was driven in part by a stellar performance from Seattle Seahawks wideout D.K. Metcalf. The other players on her winning lineup included Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.
But some in the fantasy sports community were quick to complain that both she and her husband, Tanner Tolbert, also an alum of the “Bachelor” franchise, each submitted the maximum 150 entries allowed in the contest, and that nearly all the entries had a uniquely different lineup of players.
That suggests the two may have colluded to give themselves the best shot at winning the top prize, which is not allowed under the contest rules.
Roper-Tolbert has been regularly playing DraftKings NFL contests this season, and Tolbert is a prolific fantasy sports player. The two met as contestants on “Bachelor In Paradise” and married in 2016.
The couple’s agent didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday. But, in a statement to the celebrity newsite TMZ, the couple maintained Jade’s win was “pure luck.”
They said they understand that company officials need to “do their due diligence,” but they also suggested Roper-Tolbert is being singled out because she’s a female celebrity.
“It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade’s win is nothing more than pure luck and we are confident that Draft Kings will determine the same,” the statement said. “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?”
DraftKings spokesman James Chisholm said the Boston-based company’s compliance team reviews the results of all major contests and that prizes are not paid out until the internal review is complete. He didn’t offer a timeline for when that review might be finished.