Daily Fantasy Sports Customers File Class-Action Lawsuit in Florida

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2015

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, an employee in the software development department of DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, walks past screens displaying the company's online system stats in Boston. Top daily fantasy sports companies are fiercely rejecting the idea that their rapidly-growing industry should be considered gambling in the United States. But FanDuel and DraftKings are OK with that label in the United Kingdom. They’re embracing it as a step toward global expansion. U.K. gambling regulators granted a gambling license to DraftKings in August, while FanDuel applied earlier this month for a license as a “gambling software” company. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

The embattled daily fantasy sports industry had another shot fired across its bow Saturday as two Florida-based men filed a major class-action lawsuit.

According to Michael McCann of SI.com, daily fantasy sports customers Antonio Gomez and John Gerecs filed the suit against roughly 50 entities with ties to DFS, including DraftKings and FanDuel.

Rachel Axon of USA Today later confirmed the report.

The following is a listing of the defendants in the case, as provided by McCann:

Class-Action Lawsuit Defendants
DefendantNote
NBAProfessional Sports League
MLBProfessional Sports League
NHLProfessional Sports League
MLSProfessional Sports League
Kraft GroupOwned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft
Legends HospitalityOwned by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New York Yankees
MSG Sports and EntertainmentOwned by New York Knicks owner James Dolan
Turner SportsMedia
Time WarnerMedia
NBC Sports ComcastMedia
21st Century FoxMedia
Fox Sports Interactive MediaMedia
VisaCredit Card Company
MastercardCredit Card Company
American ExpressCredit Card Company
J.P. MorganBanking Company
Capital One BankBanking Company
Google CapitalBanking Company
Scottish Investment BankBanking Company
PayPalPayment Processor
PaysafePayment Processor
VantivPayment Processor
DraftKingsDaily Fantasy Provider
FanDuelDaily Fantasy Provider
Jason RobinsDraftKings CEO
SI.com

According to McCann, the trio of Gomez, Gerecs and attorney Ervin Gonzalez have accused both DraftKings and FanDuel of promoting illegal gambling. They also believe that companies who have invested in or become involved with daily fantasy sports have helped facilitate illegal activities.

Because of that, Gomez and Gerecs are seeking damages, and many other DFS players could be in line to receive damages as well due to the class-action nature of the suit.

Daily fantasy sports first came under fire in October when DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell won $350,000 in a FanDuel contest, which led to questions regarding whether he had an unfair advantage.

More trouble followed for DFS when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ruled that daily fantasy sports now fall under the umbrella of illegal gambling in New York, per ESPN.com's David Purdum and Darren Rovell:

Our investigation has found that, unlike traditional fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports companies are engaged in illegal gambling under New York law, causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling and misleading New York consumers. Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multi-billion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country. Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York and not on my watch.

Gonzalez has taken things a step further, according to McCann, by accusing DraftKings and FanDuel of being ringleaders in a mafia-style racketeering ring that saw investors add legitimacy to daily fantasy sports with their financial contributions.

Despite the myriad claims being levied against DraftKings and FanDuel, they continue to operate, and they even filed a lawsuit to prevent getting frozen out in New York, per Curt Woodward and Dan Adams of the Boston Globe.

While it is entirely possible that daily fantasy sports companies will continue to thrive despite the amount of opposition they are facing, they may have to do so under more stringent rules.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently introduced a bill that would force DFS companies to not accept customers under the age of 21. It would also eliminate college sports, push for more truthful advertising and prohibit professional athletes from engaging in DFS within their own sports.

 

Editor’s note: Turner Sports is the parent company to Bleacher Report. DraftKings has a working relationship with Bleacher Report. This piece was pursued and executed independent of that business relationship

 

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