Multimillion-dollar Las Vegas lawsuit targets mobile gaming app

  • Mobile gaming company Skillz is facing a multimillion-dollar Las Vegas suit over gambling addiction and alleged cheating.
  • A Las Vegas woman filed a federal complaint, saying the company cheated her out of up to $650,000 while trying her luck on a blackjack-style game that Skillz operates.
  • Skillz lawyer Leif Reid called the allegations “nonsense,” false, and provocative.
  • The lawsuit also names Jane Roe, a Colorado woman who fell into depression after she got addicted to the games, racked up credit card debit, and lost at least $60,000.

A famous mobile gaming company that was about to go public with a $3.6 million valuation is facing a multimillion-dollar Las Vegas suit over gambling addiction and alleged cheating.

19-year-old Las Vegas woman Alyssa Ball filed a federal complaint, claiming she had been cheated out of up to $650,000 while trying her luck on 21 Blitz, a blackjack-style game that Skillz Inc operates.

Ball also claimed that when she confronted Skillz CEO and founder Andrew Paradise via Instagram messenger, he bragged about his partnership with the NFL before starting to flirt with her.

After telling Ball his age, Paradise asked her if she liked older guys and expressed interest in meeting her in Vegas. Additionally, he suggested a video chat before postponing it, claiming his team didn’t want him to do that. He said they were concerned that Ball was “a part of a ring of known cheating/fraud people” using a user name prignum.

The company locked Ball out of her account within days.  

A Texas man called John Prignano opened the account linked to the user “prignum.” In her complaint, Ball identified Prignano as an “elite eSports gamer” who claimed he was cheated out of $1.3 million. The lawsuit seeks to recover the money Ball and Prignano said they lost plus $4 million in penal charges.

The company operated as “a de facto online casino” or an illegal gaming provider, according to Maurice VerStandig, the Las Vegas lawyer who filed the complaint this year. He wrote that Skillz ran several illegal gambling smartphone apps that violate the criminal as well as the consumer protection laws of states.

Talking to CNBC last week, Paradise praised Skillz’s apps as designed to protect consumers “against cheating and fraud.”

Responding to the Las Vegas case, Skillz lawyer Leif Reid claimed that Ball and Prignano tricked other players. Reid called the allegations “nonsense,” provocative, improper, and false. He said the two spun the whole story.

VerStandig is expected to respond to the allegations this Friday in court briefs.

The lawsuit also names Jane Roe, a Colorado woman who fell into depression after she got addicted to the games, racked up credit card debit, and lost at least $60,000.

Ads targeted for women lured Roe into the games, according to the woman and VerStandig. One ad portrays a woman playing on a Skillz app while bearing a child. The woman in the ad claimed she won a hundred bucks competing against her players while she was in labor.

The lawsuit indicates that Skillz takes more than 16% in cuts from every wager that players place on the website.

I'm Adam Shaw, Senior Editor and one of the first members at VegasSlots. I'm a massive football sports fan but also love casinos and occasional trips to Las Vegas. Gaming runs in the family

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