This Time, DraftKings Issues A Cease And Desist Letter

Posted on February 8, 2016

DraftKings issued a cease-and-desist letter to daily fantasy sports analytics site SuperLobby, the latest new legal front for the DFS operator.

DraftKings, along with FanDuel, was famously on the receiving end of cease-and-desist letters in November from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

A representative from DraftKings told Legal Sports Report that such a cease and desist request is standard procedure when it discovers what it believes to be a violation of its terms of use.

DraftKings + SuperLobby = Not friends

DraftKings sent the following letter to SuperLobby, as the latter posted it on social media:

In short, the letter asks SuperLobby to 1) stop using its trademark on its website and 2) stop scraping data from DraftKings.

Super Lobby, as part of its model, provides lobby information across a variety of DFS operators’ websites, and allowing users to compare contests across platforms. SuperLobby has been around for the better part of a year, and started providing data about entry fees and revenue to the media during NFL season.

To do all of this, SuperLobby uses data that it scrapes from DraftKings. Scraping such data is fairly common in the DFS industry (at least until now) despite the fact that it’s generally against sites’ terms of service (without express permission.)

From DraftKings’ terms of use:

In addition, conduct that would be deemed improper also includes, but is not limited to:

  • Using automated means (including but not limited to harvesting bots, robots, parser, spiders or screen scrapers) to obtain, collect or access any information on the Website or of any User for any purpose.

Why the action against SuperLobby? And why now?

One theory is that it is a signal to anyone scraping data from DraftKings — or that is violating its terms of service — that it should get in compliance.

This could come as DraftKings prepares to enter a regulated environment for DFS — something it has already done with enhanced identity verification and geolocation. DraftKings just entered the UK — where SuperLobby is based — last week. DraftKings recently announced that it would be banning off-site scripts, as well.

Another possible theory behind the motivation? DraftKings didn’t like the framing of its data next to FanDuel’s. During the NFL season, FanDuel arranged to give SuperLobby access to all of its entry-fee data — guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests as well as smaller contests, referred to as “cash games.” SuperLobby, via scraping data from DraftKings, only had visibility into GPPs.

Short of giving all of its data to Super Lobby for an apples-to-apples comparison with FanDuel, DraftKings could have felt that they weren’t getting much benefit of allowing SuperLobby to scrape its data moving forward. SuperLobby also at one point indicated that it believed that FanDuel was the market leader in the middle of NFL season. That of course, is just speculation; DraftKings, on the record (above) says this is standard operating procedure.

Given all the other legal problems that DraftKings has in the U.S., it’s certainly interesting and noteworthy that it’s opening up another front. Industry analyst Adam Krejcik weighed in:

Although if DraftKings believes that its TOU are being violated, it’s well within rights to take action. Whether this an opening salvo of making sure everyone is following DraftKings’ TOU or a one-off remains to be seen.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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