FanDuel has provided to online bettors “materially false and misleading” information about how much time remains in live sporting events, a proposed class action alleges.
The 33-page complaint claims defendant Betfair Interactive US, the company behind the popular sports betting platform, regularly understates the amount of time remaining in a given live sporting event as a way to “induce” customers to make wagers that “are more likely to lose, and/or that are riskier” than if they’d been given accurate, real-time game details.
As a result of FanDuel’s conduct, the plaintiff, an Illinois resident, and proposed class members (i.e. those who the suit looks to cover) have “made and lost wagers they would not have made had they known the truthful, actual time remaining” and real-time score for a given live sporting event, the complaint alleges. In the alternative, the plaintiff and proposed class members, had they had accurate real-time data on a given sporting event, would have wagered on the contest’s “over” and won the bet, rather than making and losing on an “under” wager, the lawsuit argues.
FanDuel is alleged in the lawsuit to have violated consumer protection laws in each state in which it offers online sports betting and cost hundreds of thousands of customers millions in wagers.
“The accuracy of the real-time information provided by FanDuel on its platform and displayed at the time Plaintiff placed his live wagers was critical to the determination of the risk and reward associated with a given wager and whether to place his bet on the ‘Over’ or the ‘Under’ option,” the suit reads.
Place your bets
FanDuel has since July 2020 offered in 10 states sportsbook, daily fantasy sports, casino and horse racing betting products for free through its app, the case begins. While sports betting is legal in 20 states, FanDuel, according to the suit, accepts bets in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan. Bettors in those states can engage in live wagering, or place money on the “totals,” “unders” and “overs” for a sporting event while the event is underway, the complaint explains:
The ‘Totals’ or ‘Over/Under’ bet is a wager in which a sportsbook will predict a number in a given game (usually the combined score of the two teams), and the bettor’s [sic] wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than the number.”
Displayed in the FanDuel app are the elapsed time, score and odds of a given wager for a given sporting event on a supposedly real time-basis, the case says. The plaintiff claims to have started using FanDuel in late February 2021, in particular to place bets on the “unders” for NCAA men’s college basketball games.
How much time is left?
At the center of the lawsuit is a March 1, 2021 college basketball game between New Orleans and Incarnate Word, an event for which the plaintiff claims he made a number of bets based on FanDuel’s allegedly false representation of the elapsed time in the contest. The complaint includes screenshots from the plaintiff’s phone that were purportedly taken at 8:52 p.m. and 8:53 p.m.
The first screenshot, the case says, shows six minutes remaining in the second half of the New Orleans/Incarnate Word game:
The second screenshot, supposedly taken a minute later, purports to show there remained eight minutes in the second half of the same game, a time when wagers on the “over” and “under” were still being accepted:
Based on the time-of-game-remaining information provided by FanDuel, the plaintiff, the lawsuit says, placed a number of bets on the “totals” or “unders,” in particular that the combined score of the New Orleans/Incarnate Word game would be less than a given number.
The case alleges the plaintiff made all of his wagers “based upon false reporting by FanDuel of the elapsed time and, in some cases, the then scores of the live sporting events.” As the suit tells it, the accuracy of the real-time game information provided by FanDuel and displayed on its betting platform is critical to a bettor’s assessment of risk and reward for a given wager and can very well influence whether money is put on a game’s “over” or “under.”
The lawsuit goes on to claim the plaintiff, after placing a number of live bets after the start of certain sporting events and losing more than $50, discovered the real-time data provided by FanDuel was repeatedly false “and materially so.” From the complaint:
For example, Plaintiff discovered that the time elapsed in sporting events, in particular men’s NCAA college basketball, is frequently materially understated on the real-time display on the FanDuel platform in a range of 5 to 35 percent less than the actual time remaining in the sporting event, making the Wagers on the ‘Under’ during the game appear to be a far better bet than they otherwise actually are.
Similarly, in some instances, the score reported on the FanDuel platform was inaccurate and materially different from the actual score in relation to the time shown left in the game at the moment when Plaintiff placed the Wagers.”
Who’s covered by this lawsuit?
The lawsuit looks to represent a “multi-state class” consisting of all persons who placed a wager anytime since July 2020 on an “under” on a live sporting event on the FanDuel platform and app after the beginning of the sporting event and who reside in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia or Michigan.
The suit also proposes to cover “subclasses” of FanDuel bettors in each of the 10 states who fit within the same criteria.
How do I join the class action?
In general, there’s nothing you need to do to “join” or be considered a part of a class action lawsuit. Class actions almost always take some time to work their way through the legal system, usually toward either a settlement or dismissal (or increasingly toward binding arbitration). This means that it might be a while before the time comes for those who might be considered a part of a lawsuit’s “class” to file claims for whatever compensation the court finds appropriate.
Barring arbitration or a dismissal, it’s only if and when a case settles that consumers would need to take action. You can learn more about the process here.
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