Woman Sues DraftKings After Losing “Risk-Free” Promo Bet 

The term “risk-free” has been a contentious one of late in U.S. sports betting.

Is it an innocent, age-old marketing term that surely no one could be deceived by? Or a genuine attempt to fool customers with offers that sound better than they are?

One New York resident who lost money on a “risk-free” bet at DraftKings sportsbook says she saw it as the latter. And she’s filed a lawsuit against the Boston-based operator over it. 

Samantha Guery is the plaintiff. Her suit claims that her lost bet was never actually risk-free, as the compensation for losing did not match the amount wagered to obtain the bonus offer. 

“The promotion required that the customer place a bet with their own money. If a customer lost their bet, they were not returned to their original position,” the lawsuit says.

“Instead, their accounts were credited with a “Free Bet” that was worth less than its counterpart in U.S. dollars implied by the promotional materials.”

The case is Guery v. DraftKings, Inc., 24-cv-02921, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

$100 Breakdown 

In the legal filings by Guery’s attorneys, it breaks down the math behind the DraftKings bonus bet that the plaintiff lost. 

“A $100 winning bet made with U.S. dollars at even odds recovers the $100 stake plus the $100 winnings less the sportsbook’s cut (known as the “vig” or “rake”) of 9%, which results in a payment of approximately $191,” the lawsuit said. 

“By contrast, a winning bet made with a $100 Free Bet converts only to $100 U.S. dollars less vig, which results in a payment of approximately $91.”

The lawsuit also scrutinizes the account credit that is returned to losing customers under the promotion. Lawyers say that because it is not straight withdrawable cash, but free bet credits, DraftKings is deceiving customers by using the dollar symbol to advertise the promotion.

Not Risk-Free for Sportsbooks 

The use of the term “risk-free” in sports betting has been slammed in recent times by multiple regulators across the U.S. In 2023, DraftKings was hit with a $150K fine in Ohio and told not to use the language again.

Other operators have stopped using the term in promotions in many states, whether voluntarily, or after a warning from regulators. 

DraftKings is also being sued by a losing customer in Massachusetts along similar lines. Meanwhile, this week across the pond in the Netherlands, two gamblers successfully sued two online gambling companies to reimburse their losses in what could set a precedent in the country.

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