Former Northern Illinois University running back Akeem Daniels filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against DraftKings and FanDuel seeking more than $5 million in damages and alleging the daily fantasy sites’ use of student athletes can lead to, among other things, point-shaving and fixing.
In the lawsuit, Daniels claims New York-based FanDuel Inc. and Boston-based DraftKings Inc. used his name – and the names of thousands of other college football and basketball players – to generate millions of dollars in revenue.
The suit also mentions 15 other NIU players who appeared in various daily fantasy games on the two sites.
The lawsuit alleges that FanDuel and DraftKings have “immeasurably altered the college football and basketball environment” by putting Daniels and others “in an unwanted state of fear and concern of the risk of being contacted by speculators who have a financial interest” in how they perform on the field.
“[FanDuel’s] unlawful business model puts [Daniels and others] at unwanted risk of contact with speculators whose interests align with ‘corruption in the form of fixed outcomes and point-shaving,’ ” the lawsuit claims.
The suit seeks class-action status to represent all college players and more than $5 million in damages.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel have faced legal challenges – most of which revolve around whether daily fantasy is actually gambling. Daniels’ lawsuit would be a first of its kind against the daily fantasy giants.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed by Ed O’Bannon on 2009, in which he sued the NCAA for profiting off his name and likeness in the EA sports video games. That too was a class-action suit, won by O’Bannon in 2013.