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DraftKings Sued Over Massachusetts Bonus Offers

A pair of Massachusetts players are suing DraftKings over what they allege are unfair and deceptive advertising practices. Shane Harris and Melissa Scanlon, the plaintiffs in the case, say that DraftKings’ offer of a $1,000 deposit bonus is deceptive due to play-through requirements and other conditions that mean a player must effectively gamble $25,000 to receive $1,000 in credits. It’s a case that challenges one of the US sports betting industry’s core promotional tools and could wind up having national implications.

Harris and Scanlon are not alone in their fight against DraftKings. They’ve filed their suit with an anti-predatory gambling group called the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI). Mark Gottleig, PHAI’s Executive Director, summed up the legal action saying, “Shane and Melissa are typical of many thousands of people in Massachusetts who were misled by the bonus offer and would not have signed up had they understood DraftKings’ unfair and deceptive requirements.”

In its filing with the Middlesex Superior Court, the plaintiffs argue that the average consumer is not likely to cut through DraftKings’ red tape to figure out that they have to gamble $25,000 to get that $1,000 bonus. “DraftKings knew, or should have known, that its advertisement and promotion was deceptive to its target customers, who were customers new to sports betting and who were extremely unlikely to understand the details of the promotion, even if it were in readable English on the company’s platform or in a font size that a reasonable consumer could be expected to actually read,” reads the complaint.

DraftKings defended its promotional practices saying, “As a customer-first organization, DraftKings takes consumer protection and responsible gaming seriously. DraftKings respectfully disagrees with the claims and allegations made by the Public Health Advocacy Institute. Regrettably, the Institute ignored our multiple attempts to engage in an in-person dialogue to carefully examine their concerns and, instead, filed suit. DraftKings intends to vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

So far there’s no word on when the case will appear in front of a judge.