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Fantasy Baseball Player Files Suit Claiming Cheating Scandals Created Unfair Gambling Platform

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By Richard Dahl on February 04, 2020 7:57 AM

Many baseball fans say that the recent revelations of electronic cheating by the Houston Astros has robbed them of their love of the game.

A Massachusetts fantasy baseball bettor, however, is claiming that the wrongdoing cost him and others actual money. So he has filed a class-action lawsuit.

Krisopher Olson filed the suit recently in federal court, naming the Astros, the Boston Red Sox, and Major League Baseball as the defendants. The cheating by the Astros has been well documented and resulted in heavy fines and firings, but Olson said there is evidence that the Red Sox (and probably other teams) also cheated and that Major League Baseball was well aware of the whole tawdry mess.

The Astros, as you may or not recall, were fined $5 and the loss of their first- and second-round draft picks for the next two years after they were found to have cheated during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In defiance of league rules, the Astros placed a video camera in the centerfield seats and relayed images to a monitor near the dugout, where the decoded pitch signals of the opposing catcher were relayed to Astro batters by thumps on a garbage can.

Bad Bets on Tainted Outcomes

Olson's basic argument is this: Players of fantasy baseball — in his case, DraftKings — make bets on how well individual players will perform game by game, and they make their decisions based on past performance. If cheating is involved, Olson argues, that taints means that performances are tainted and potential winnings are wrongfully affected.

The performances of chosen pitchers, in particular, were affected by the cheating when they faced the Astros.

Olson argues that if DraftKing players were aware of the cheating, they wouldn't have placed any wagers in the first place.

So why is Major League Baseball listed as a defendant? Because, Olson alleges, they knew about it and did nothing. He further contends that MLB had an interest in saying nothing because it had developed a partnership with DraftKings.

Olson said in the complaint that on the behalf of himself and his fellow DraftKings players, he is seeking to recover "the amounts they wagered in these corrupt fantasy baseball competitions, including all fees paid to DraftKings, as well as for statutory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and such other relief as warranted by applicable law."

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