High Stakes Players Sue Gaming Site Skillz Over Unpaid Prizes, Unpunished Cheating

Posted on: June 18, 2020, 02:43h. 

Last updated on: June 19, 2020, 07:26h.

Two individuals have filed a lawsuit against Skillz in the United States District Court in Nevada, claiming that the skill-based gaming platform is defrauding players – though the company says the plaintiffs are the only cheaters in this case.

Skillz lawsuit cheating games
Two players have accused Skillz of failing to pay prizes and allowing cheaters to proliferate in the mobile skill game platform. (Image: Skillz.com)

Alyssa Ball and John Prignano claim that Skillz refused to pay out hundreds of thousands in cash and prizes, while cheaters kept their ill-gotten winnings.

Skillz Claims Legal Gaming in 38 States

Skillz offers players real money competitive play in a variety of mobile games. These include apps based on casino games like blackjack, sports games, traditional board games, puzzles, or just about anything else you might find in your favorite app store. Skillz claims their site offers legal gaming in 38 states since it features games of skill under the definitions of chance and gambling in those jurisdictions.

According to Ball, a 19-year-old from Nevada, she lost $650,000 to a cheater she played against on the site in a game known as Blitz21, which includes elements of blackjack and solitaire. After notifying Skillz of the alleged cheating, Ball says the site only warned the unnamed opponent and suspended her account.

Ball further claims that when she found Skillz CEO Andrew Paradise on Instagram to confront him about the situation, he sent her an inappropriate response.

“Have we met somewhere? I feel like I’d remember as you’re too beautiful to be forgettable,” Ball alleges Paradise to have written. “Haha and if we haven’t met, we should, I’m in Vegas all the time.”

Ball says that Skillz terminated her account, seizing her $28,000 balance.

Ball, Prignano Seek Millions in Damages

Prignano makes similar claims, minus the personal interactions. According to Prignano, he earned enough rewards points on the site to redeem them for a Porsche Boxster, worth approximately $60,000. But when he tried to claim his reward, he alleges that Skillz increased the number of points needed for the car without warning. Skillz later accused Prignano of cheating, then banned him from the site and confiscated the $286,000 in his account.

In addition, Prignano claims he lost about $950,000 to the same individual named by Ball, in addition to another $350,000 to two other alleged cheaters, named only as John Does 2 and 3 in the lawsuit.

In a statement released to multiple media outlets, Skillz says that it was only doing its job to prevent cheating.

This suit was filed by two people who colluded to cheat the Skillz community,” a spokesperson for Skillz said. “They were caught by our trust and safety team and kicked off of our platform in accordance with our terms of service and commitment to honesty, integrity and fairness. Their case has no merit and is an attempt to intimidate our company and obtain illegitimate gains.”

Lawyer Mac VerStandig is representing the two plantiffs. VerStandig is the same lawyer who represented a group of poker players who sued Mike Postle and Stones Gambling Hall over alleged cheating during livestreamed games. A judge dismissed that lawsuit earlier this month.

Ball and Prignano seek $5.9 million in damages and are asking for a jury trial on nine counts, including consumer fraud, fraud, and unjust enrichment.