‘Free’ Sports Betting Offers Draw Lawsuit Against Caesars In NY

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NY sports betting

A proposed Class Action lawsuit was filed last week against Caesars Sportsbook over alleged use of misleading NY sports betting advertising. 

The New York sports betting lawsuit names plaintiff Lachae Vickers v. defendant Caesars Entertainment.

The Class Action complaint, filed Feb. 23 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, comes as legislators and regulators discuss restrictions on an industry widely using the terms “free” and “risk-free” bets in an effort to acquire customers. 

LSR reached out to Caesars for comment, but did not hear back by publication. A legal expert contacted by LSR did not expect the case to reach the trial stage. 

NY sports betting complaint details

The complaint reads, in-part: 

Caesars Sportsbook has become an industry leader in part by making untruthful and deceptive promises to lure new bettors; specifically, by advertising that the company will provide new users with a $1,000 or $1,250 or even $5,000 “free bet,” “risk-free bet,” or a specified amount “on Caesars.” 

But these promises are far from the truth: the bet is not in any respect “free” or without risk. Plaintiff and other consumers would not have signed up for and made a so-called “free” or “risk-free” bet with Caesars Sportsbook in the absence of these deceptive promises. 

Plaintiff seeks actual damages, punitive damages, restitution, and an injunction on behalf of the public to prevent Caesars Sportsbook from continuing to engage in their illegal practices as described herein. 

What happened to Vickers

In the complaint, Vickers, of Far Rockaway, alleges that she deposited and bet $125 with Caesars with the understanding that she was making a “risk-free” wager. However, she was not reimbursed after her bet lost.

Instead, she was given wager credits that needed to be used within two weeks. The complaint states: 

Plaintiff would not have signed up for a Caesars Sportsbook account and made an initial bet had she known the truth about such supposedly “free” or “risk-free” bets. 

NY sports betting ad crackdown

Multiple bills have been filed in the Empire State aimed at bonuses, including a a vague bill amendment introduced by Sen. Pete Harckham

“The mobile sports betting industry is utilizing targeted advertising that is personally tailored to lure in new customers from right within their homes,” the bill justification for S9605 reads. “This means that following legal sports betting in New York State, multitudes of people who were not formerly presented with these predatory practices will fall susceptible to gambling addiction that could have otherwise been avoided.” 

Caesars offered a $3,000 match deposit bonus in January 2022 as it attempted to gain meaningful market share in New York. Those offers no longer exist, however. 

Before the 2022 Super Bowl, NY Attorney General Letitia James preached vigilance when it came to avoiding deceptive advertising from online sports betting entities. 

Federal bill would ban most ads

A year later, Rep. Paul Tonko proposed federal legislation that would ban most sports betting ads nationwide. 

Many companies since ceased using the terms “free” or “risk-free” in their promotional wager advertising language. New legal states like Ohio and Massachusetts are enacting strict advertising regulations

New York is in the process of potentially buttoning up its ad regs at the recommendation of the NYS Gaming Commission