A DraftKings Massachusetts class action lawsuit alleges the Boston-based online gambling operator used “unfair and deceptive” marketing and advertising on residents of its home state. On Dec. 8, Melissa Scanlon and Shane Harris filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Superior Court requesting triple damages under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.
Scanlon and Harris claim DraftKings Sportsbook offered a $1,000 deposit bonus with unclear terms and conditions.
The complaint says:
In Massachusetts, an advertisement is deceptive when it has the capacity to mislead consumers, acting reasonably under the circumstances, to act differently from the way they otherwise would have acted, including by enticing a reasonable consumer to purchase a product. Representations are deceptive if, when looked at as a whole, they are misleading, even if individual portions are factually true.
The plaintiffs claim if they’d known then what they know now, they wouldn’t have signed up for the sportsbook.
They say as first-time sports bettors, they didn’t understand what they were seeing. The plaintiffs claim the terms were unclear that “a new customer would, in order to get a $1,000 bonus, actually need to deposit five times that amount and then, within 90 days, place $25,000 in bets.”
The complaint alleges that to receive the $1,000 deposit bonus in “non-withdrawable credit,” bettors must wager more than $276 “on sports every day for three months.”
On Oct. 12, Scanlon and Harris sent DraftKings “a demand for relief.” The complaint alleges DraftKings didn’t respond.
DraftKings Massachusetts Class Action Is About Terms
DraftKings (DraftKings 41,28 +1,08%) posted its terms and conditions for the deposit bonus in an “unreadable font size,” claim the plaintiffs.
According to the complaint, the requirements to receive the bonus included players needing to do the following:
- They would have to deposit $5,000 upfront;
- They would have to bet $25,000 within 90 days;
- Their $25,000 in bets would have to place bets with odds of “-300 or longer.”
Scanlon and Harris allege that even if online sports bettors complete the DraftKings Sportsbook playthrough requirements, gamblers only receive betting credits. The complaint further refers to these credits as “play money,” even though that isn’t how that term is typically used.
DraftKings Emphasized Its Hometown Appeal
The 15-page-long complaint contained photos and references to the US online casinos and sports betting operator’s ads using “local sports heroes and celebrities” once the Massachusetts online sports betting marketplace launched on March 10. The lawsuit contains a picture of an advertisement near Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The DraftKings Sportsbook ad urges online gamblers to “Bet Local” and features a picture of former Boston Bruins player Zdeno “Big Z” Chára.
Plaintiffs allege that they were surrounded by ads via “television, radio, print media, outdoor advertising, mass transit, social media, and through a large number of third-party affiliates.”
They also saw ads on websites, billboards, and fliers.
Meanwhile, Scanlon lives 12 miles away from Boston in Woburn. Harris resides in New Bedford, 60 miles from Boston.
Indeed, a March 7 press release from DraftKings said those “Bet Local” ads were part of “an effort to raise additional awareness about the arrival of legal online sports betting in Massachusetts.
Marketing also included former Red Sox player David “Big Papi” Ortiz, former Boston Celtics player Brian “White Mamba” Scalabrine, and comedian Lenny Clarke.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said in the March 7 announcement:
It was just over 10 years ago when we launched DraftKings from a spare bedroom in Watertown. And now, we are proud to have the opportunity to deliver a safe and legal sports betting product to millions of diehard sports fans across Massachusetts. This launch will mark a major milestone for our company, and we’re proud to become the hometown sportsbook for customers in the Commonwealth.
Watertown is about 10 miles outside of Boston.