Papaya Gaming Hit With Proposed Class-Action Lawsuit for Alleged Bot Use

Posted on: April 19, 2024, 08:49h. 

Last updated on: April 19, 2024, 06:40h.

A proposed class-action lawsuit against Israel-based Papaya Gaming on the alleged use of bots in the company’s interactive skill gaming products has been filed in Southern New York United States District Court. 

Skillz Gaming Papaya lawsuit bot skill game
Papaya Gaming is accused of using computer bots to beat live human players for the company’s financial benefit. Skillz Gaming, which won a similar lawsuit this year against competitor AviaGames, is behind the litigation. (Image:

Fresh off a February lawsuit against AviaGames in which a jury awarded Skillz Gaming nearly $42.9 million after determining that AviaGames infringed on Skillz’s patent-protected platform, Skillz attorneys turned their attention to Papaya. Skillz is suing Payapa in federal court over the alleged use of computer bots.

In a separate federal complaint provided this week to by law firm Burns Charest, LLP, plaintiff Brenna Kelly-Starkebaum, on behalf of a proposed class, also alleges that players aren’t actually competing against other humans on Papaya’s games such as Solitaire Cash and Bubble Cash. Kelly-Starkebaun’s complaint was filed late last month. 

“Papaya is a leading provider of online games where users purportedly compete in games of skill against other real people for money. Papaya claims to have no vested interest in who wins or loses,” the complaint begins.

Papaya users collectively have wagered hundreds of millions of dollars to compete in these games of ‘skill’ against what Papaya misleadingly advertises are other actual human users. However, Papaya controls the outcome of the games and uses its own bots to play against players to win, after which Papaya keeps the prize money for itself,” the lawsuit alleges.

The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial for the proposed class. 

Papaya Gaming stated denying any wrongdoing.

Papaya is one of the world’s largest skills-based mobile game developers — on a mission to bring more fun challenges to the world. We are absolutely committed to fair and enjoyable skills-based mobile gaming that rewards the abilities of our players. This legal action has no merit, and we will vigorously defend against any and all baseless claims,” the Papaya release said. 

Alleged Bot Use Widespread 

Kelly-Starkebaum’s attorneys argue that Papaya players aren’t competing peer-to-peer but against Papaya’s bots. For the facilitation of the supposedly head-to-head skill game contests, Papaya charges a small commission, not unlike how a casino does while running a poker game.

Papaya claims to use “the smartest tech” to pair players with similar skill sets. The company claims to “have no vested interest in who wins or loses.”

“It’s not about chance. It’s about skills,” Papaya contends. Kelly-Starkebaum says otherwise.

Papaya’s games are not skill-based and users are often not playing against live, actual opponents but against Papaya’s own bots that direct and rig the game so that Papaya itself wins its users’ money while leading them to believe that they lost to a live human opponent,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit details a tech-savvy user who signed up for Papaya’s games and devised his own bot to win on his behalf. But his bot won just 8.2% of the games he entered (35 out of 427 games) “despite running a macro that should have easily beaten any human competitor.”

AviaGames Lawsuit

In its successful lawsuit against AviaGames, Skillz raised similar allegations of bot use, but the case hinged on whether Avia infringed on Skillz’s patent-protected platform. Avia claimed it simply used players’ past performances to compete against live players to expedite the player-matching process.

The jury wasn’t convinced.

The group of 12 concluded that after partnering with Skillz in a business-to-business arrangement, Avia modified the platform to its financial advantage. That hurt Skillz’s standing in the skill gaming industry, as players reported significantly faster pairing times on Avia’s app.

The jury found “willful infringement” and awarded Skillz $42.89 million.