DraftKings hit with lawsuit in Massachusetts


The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) and its Center for Public Health Litigation filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Massachusetts citizens who opened DraftKings Sportsbook accounts in response to a $1,000 bonus sign-up promotion that the gambling company widely advertised. The Institute is based at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.

The lawsuit alleges that members of the class were not aware that, in order to qualify for the sign-up bonus of $1,000, new customers were required to make an initial deposit of $5,000.  After that, they had to gamble $25,000 on certain qualifying bets over a finite time period.  If they did all of that, they would qualify to receive non-withdrawable credits to use on the platform.

Plaintiffs Shane Harris and Melissa Scanlon responded to the offer and were confused as to why they never received the $1,000 sign up bonus. The Institute’s executive director, Mark Gottlieb, said that “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.” 

Massachusetts is one of 38 states that has approved sports betting in the past five years since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way in the Murphy v. NCAA decision. PHAI’s gambling policy advisor, Harry Levant, a therapist who treats patients with Gambling disorder, noted that, “Gambling is a known addictive product similar to heroin, opioids, tobacco, alcohol, and cocaine.” Levant is also a doctoral student in Law and Public Policy at Northeastern who studies the public health impact of online gambling. “The time has come to bring public health reform and regulation to the gambling industry because lives are in the balance” Levant concluded.