Daily Fantasy Player Files Lawsuit Against MLB Over Astros Scandal

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images.

Jan 24, 2020, 01:19 PM EST

A daily fantasy player has filed a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball, its digital arm, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.

The suit, filed in New York on Thursday, connects MLB’s sponsorship and one-time equity ownership of DraftKings and alleges that the league should be held responsible for the cheating scandal during the Astros 2017 season that was recently disclosed because it compromised the statistics that determined whether fans won or lost their money.

“MLB fans — believing the game to be honest — have engaged in DraftKings’ games of skill to the tune of millions of dollars in daily fantasy baseball contest fees, to DraftKings’, MLB’s, and MLB member teams’ enormous financial benefit,” the suit says.

“What MLB’s fans did not know was that MLB’s and its member teams’ commitment to ensuring the honesty and integrity of the game of baseball had also changed, substantially undermining and compromising the fairness not only of MLB team vs. team competitions, but DraftKings’ fantasy baseball contests at well. While actively inducing their fans to enter into fantasy baseball wagers based on the individual statistical performance of MLB players, MLB’s member teams secretly engaged in corrupt and fraudulent conduct…that produced player statistics distorted by cheating and deprived their fans of an honest fantasy baseball competition.”

A DraftKings spokesman said the company would have no comment. An MLB spokesman said the organization would also have no comment.

The suit alleges that Olson, who entered at least 226 daily fantasy entries from 2017-19 — or any fan, for that matter — would not have spent money on daily fantasy contests had they known that stats involving the Astros and Red Sox batters weren’t fair over those three seasons because their players were given the advantage of knowing what pitch was coming. And anyone who started pitchers against those teams also had their games compromised.

How much cheating was done by the Astros and the Red Sox is not 100% clear, but the uncovering of the scandal led to MLB giving the Astros the maximum $5 million fine and the loss of their first- and second-round picks in the next two years. It also resulted in three managers being fired — the Astros’ A.J. Hinch, the Red Sox Alex Cora, who was hired away from the Astros for the 2018 season, and Carlos Beltran, who was hired away by the New York Mets from the Astros for the 2020 season.

To boot, both the Astros and Red Sox had official deals with DraftKings and promoted that relationship to fans to generate revenues.

The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million from the defendants, and the class would include players from 43 states and the District of Columbia, the areas where DraftKings does business.

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