In the Golden State, one resident is taking aim at an online sportsbook app and claims there is a fault for “illegal gambling” via sports betting. Per one report, Fliff, a “social sportsbook” available in 49 states, is under fire for allegedly “masking online sports betting as a free-to-play sweepstakes” in California. The class action complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleges Fliff’s “sweepstakes” players stand to win nothing of monetary value unless they deposit real money. This, in turn, violates multiple state and federal gambling laws. According to the report, the plaintiff, Bishoy Neshim, claims he lost over $7,000 using the app. That said, he is seeking more than $5 million in damages for himself and those similarly affected by what he claims is an illegal online sportsbook.
For this report, SBS will be going over what to look for from the latest gaming news coming out of California along with more notes about Golden State gaming.
According to the same article, California is one of 45 states where Fliff users can withdraw real money from “sweepstakes” contests that resemble the lines on different sports events on other apps. This includes online outlets like DraftKings and FanDuel. Per its website, Fliff says that “social sports betting, like a social casino, is different from gambling, and is a play-for-fun form of entertainment.” Moreover, the website also says that Fliff uses sweepstakes as a “promotional tool that allows our customers to play and win gift cards and cash prizes.”
However, the complaint disagrees with the legality of the overall Fliff concept. It calls Fliff’s “sweepstakes” model a “lure” that reels customers in with free “Fliff Coins” and then baits them into playing with real money aka “Fliff Cash.” In this scenario, the “Cash” can then be withdrawn at a 1:1 dollar ratio to a bank account. Users at that point can win virtual currency convertible into money or prizes for free, but they can also directly deposit money to do so. The complaint goes on to further state that “Fliff gives every user, regardless of local, state, or federal law, the option to bet with ‘Fliff Cash’ which has a dollar equivalence to actual money…that’s the epitome of an online sports book.”
Per the report, the lawsuit against Fliff also notes that Californians voted against legalizing sports betting in November of last year. Also, with this being the case, this would make wagering on the result of any sporting event illegal in California. The complaint then asserts that Fliff does not satisfy the state’s definition of a “sweepstakes” because it does not distribute prizes “by lot or chance.” In addition to monetary relief, the lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop Fliff from offering its contests across state lines, an alleged violation of the federal Wire Act. In addition to this lawsuit in California, another report says that Fliff faces potential legal consequences in Ohio where regulators are cracking down on unregistered sportsbooks and daily fantasy sports apps.
Once you are all caught up to speed regarding the latest wagering news in the Golden State, SBS has you covered with all kinds of fantastic additional resources. If you are in need of more information regarding the state at hand, make sure to check out our California sports betting guide which covers the latest gaming and gambling news coming out of the state. Moreover, also given the topic of the article, if you would like to stay on top of mobile wagering then the SBS best betting apps rundown is a great page to peruse. Here you can learn a ton of great information about the nuances of mobile betting. Finally, if you are perhaps uncertain which payment options are the best for you, then the SBS payment methods breakdown is a must-read with all kinds of withdrawal and deposit option suggestions.