[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]
Yet another legal challenge has been launched against DraftKings and FanDuel. This one also targets some of the investors in the DFS model.
Via Michael McCann of SI.com, a class-action lawsuit filed Saturday in Florida against DraftKings and FanDuel also includes as defendants Major League Baseball Ventures, National Hockey League Ventures, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Soccer.
The NFL isn’t a party; Commissioner Roger Goodell took a strong position against investment in DFS by the league itself. However, The Kraft Group (owned by Patriots owner Robert Kraft) and Legends Hospitality (owned by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the New York Yankees) have been added to the lawsuit.
The action also names as defendants other corporate/media investors including NBC Sports Ventures, Turner Sports, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, Fox Sports Interactive Media.
The lawsuit also targets VISA, MasterCard, and American Express as facilitators of the allegedly illegal gambling transactions and various companies (including PayPal) as the processors of payments for illegal gambling transactions.
Deadspin.com has posted the full lawsuit (technically, the investor defendants are being added via an amendment to an existing lawsuit against DraftKings and FanDuel), which contends that DraftKings and FanDuel maintain illegal gambling operations in Florida, and that the investors negligently failed to realize that they were pumping money into illegal gambling operations.
The lawsuit includes two counts under the civil Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), a law that was passed in 1970 to combat organized crime. Which, if nothing else, gives the litigation a more ominous feel.
Typically, there’s no question that the folks engaging in organized crime are committing crimes. In this case, the primary fight will be whether DFS violates criminal laws in Florida or elsewhere. The ultimate question becomes whether these various billion-dollar organizations guessed right or wrong when it came to the legality of playing daily fantasy sports for money in Florida or other states where DraftKings and FanDuel have been doing business.