A class action alleges DraftKings failed to pay out certain National Football League daily fantasy sports contests after the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game was suspended on January 2 of this year.
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The 32-page case explains that DraftKings, the self-described “industry leader” in DFS contests, offers competitions for NFL matches in several formats, or “games styles,” that participants can enter to win cash prizes. Since statistics accrued during NFL games directly affect the outcome of DraftKings’ contests, each game style has policies that determine how the company will pay out contest winners should a game get suspended, shortened, canceled, postponed or rescheduled, the suit relays.
On January 2, the NFL suspended the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and went into cardiac arrest with 5:58 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The suit alleges that rather than follow its own rules for each game style, DraftKings instead “arbitrarily” offered payouts to customers who led in certain contests, while canceling and refunding entry fees for other contests.
However, in a January 3 email to contest participants, DraftKings announced that “… entries for Showdown and Flash Draft contests will be canceled and refunded,” adding that “Classic set contests, such as Sunday-Monday slates, will be paid out with current, accrued points,” the case explains.
“Despite DraftKings’s rules sharing the same language across multiple fantasy football game styles, including the Showdown and Classic game styles, DraftKings has chosen to treat them differently, in plain violation of the terms and rules it itself created,” the complaint argues, claiming “hundreds, if not thousands, of participants in these contests were entitled to winnings at the time the game was suspended.”
The plaintiff, a New York resident, claims he was in first place in DraftKings’ “NFL Showdown $20K Two Point Conversion [$5K to 1st] (BUF vs CIN)” contest, and his winnings totaled $5,000 at the time the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game was suspended. The man also claims that he was ranked second in the “NFL Showdown $15K Four-Point Stance [Single Entry] (BUF vs CIN)” contest, and his winnings totaled $3,000 before Hamlin’s injury stopped the game.
The case contends that DraftKings unlawfully canceled the plaintiff’s contest entries. Although his entry fees were refunded, the plaintiff has not received the $5,000 winnings or $3,000 winnings to which he was entitled, the complaint claims.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the United States who entered a Showdown or Flash Draft contest offered by DraftKings, which included the January 2, 2023 NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, and to whom the contest indicated winnings were owed at the time the game was suspended.
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