Alabama Men suing DraftKings, FanDuel for Losses

Two men from Birmingham, Alabama have launched a lawsuit against DraftKings and FanDuel under the pretense that these sites are illegal gambling operations.

The men who are filing the class-action lawsuit, Sam Manzella and Robert Todd, believe that a 150-year-old Alabama law prohibits DFS sites from collecting gambling debts. So they are seeking losses back for all Alabamans who’ve lost money at DraftKings and FanDuel.

Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:

“Defendants (DraftKings and FanDuel) define their sports betting scheme as DFS (daily fantasy sports) in a specious attempt to circumvent Alabama law which expressly prohibits ‘gambling. In Alabama, a ‘person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.'”

Tommy Spina, one of the attorneys for the men, told that although skill plays a role in whether people win, DFS still amounts to gambling.

“Both Fanduel and DraftKings operate similarly to good old fashioned bookmaking,” said Spina. “If you win you get money if you lose they get money. Millions of people nationwide have participated in this activity and most people assume that since Fanduel and DraftKings advertise nationally they have a business arrangement with the NFL, that it is legal. However , the reality is that it is not legal in states where gambling is prohibited.”

Spina added that gambling is a misdemeanor for Alabama citizens, while it’s a felony for those running the operation. This of course brings up the issue of whether Manzella and Todd should be charged with misdemeanor gambling. However, Spina doesn’t believe that his clients will be charged, nor does the lawsuit seek criminal prosecution against DraftKings and FanDuel.

This case is the latest knock against the DFS industry, which has operated unchecked for several years. Not long ago, NFL player Pierre Garcon sued FanDuel on behalf of professional players who are represented in DFS without permission. Nevada has asked DraftKings and FanDuel not to operate in their state any more, while the New York State Attorney General sent a cease-and-desist letter to both sites. DraftKings and FanDuel are currently fighting the New York matter in court.