LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker made headlines when he was seen walking out of Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby handing out $100 bills to his fans. Now, Churchill says Welker should hand some of those bills back to the track because they made a mistake.
Churchill Downs said Friday the money Welker was handing out was not all his. According to the track, Welker and the group he was with were accidentally over paid $14,898.55. In a letter addressed to one of Welker's group members, the track stated the over payment happened because of a misunderstanding between a tote tech who was working to fix the machine and a teller.
The tote tech was under the understanding the $14, 898.55 Welker and his group had won before the tote malfunction needed to be added to the total amount owed, bringing their winnings to $57,193.90. The error was not noticed until the end of the day when the clerk was checking out and the cash drawer came up short.
Churchill reviewed the terminal log and found the amount the group had actually won totaled $42,295.35. In the letter Churchill asked Welker and his group to mail them a check for the difference.
Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers explained of the wad of tickets cashed in at once by Welker's friend, "After the first few tickets, the terminal malfunctioned and the screen went clear." He said when the tote technician got it back up and running, they processed the rest of the winning tickets. Then they added the total of the first few tickets, accidentally paying them twice.
Welker said on the Dan Patrick Show Friday, "We had no clue. They could have underpaid us and we wouldn't have known."
Race fan Shawn Huffman said, "Wes made a legitimate bet and Churchill should honor that."
Most race fans agree with Attorney Patrick Schmidt who said while he smiled, "I'd say sorry." Schmidt said there's a regulation on the books, if there's an error computing a winning payout that results in overpayment, it's the track who must eat the money. "They don't get a chance to go back against the bettor."
Casinos with cameras on every move can get the money back. What's the difference? Schmidt explained, "Racing at Churchill Downs or most tracks is parimutuel wagering so your not actually betting against the house," he said. "I'm betting against you and I take your money or you take my mine and the house just gets a small cut."
Churchill acknowledged Friday that they cannot force the repayment they were just asking. They also said what is more important is having Welker back at the Derby spending those extra winnings.