Skillz sues Papaya Gaming for defrauding players by using bots in skill-based games

Skillz has sued a second gaming company — Papaya Gaming — for using bots in skill-based games that are supposed to be between humans.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in New York comes after Skillz won a $42.9 million judgment in a patent-infringement lawsuit against AviaGames which surfaced similar evidence of using bots in skill-based human games.

The new lawsuit against Papaya Gaming alleges fraud in falsely advertising and promoting its mobile games as “totally fair and skill-based” when they are, in fact, rigged by Papaya, through its use of computer algorithms or “bots” that are masquerading as human players.

Skillz said that “Papaya’s use of bots transforms what might otherwise be legal games of human
skill into illegal games of chance or gambling in which Papaya’s unwitting participants have little
to no influence on the outcome of any game. And, by deploying bots in games where players’
money is on the line and then controlling when those bots win or lose, Papaya is effectively
choosing how much revenue to generate for itself with each game played.”

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Skillz said that Papaya Games’ Solitaire Cash and 21 Cash are imitations of Skillz’s games, with similar objectives, game play, and financial stakes for players. We are seeking comment from Papaya Games.

“But although Papaya touts a ‘fair and fun experience for everyone,’ its games are manipulated and controlled by Papaya’s use of bots,” Skillz alleged. “While Papaya’s players believe they are engaged in competition with similar (human) players, Papaya is surreptitiously and artificially filling its player pool with computerized bots in order to, among other aims, artificially speed up the process by which Papaya players are placed into multiplayer tournaments, and entice players to keep playing—and depositing money into Papaya’s coffers—with “wins” against bots.”

By using bots to control the rate at which players win, Papaya can maximize its profits by letting
players win just enough that they don’t quit and leave the platform altogether, Skillz alleged.

“Papaya has deceived thousands of consumers—many of whom have relied on Papaya’s false and misleading representations about its player base—who have paid to play Papaya games against other players of their skill level,” Skillz said.

Skillz alleged that Papaya also claims to have “no vested interest in who wins or loses” nor “profit on the outcome of a Tournament that we provide.”

“All of these statements—and countless others made by Papaya both on its mobile applications and elsewhere—are false and misleading on multiple levels,” Skillz said. “Papaya purports to ban ‘any form of gambling’ in its games, although it functions as the ‘house’ at a casino, collecting money from participants who compete against— and often lose to—the ‘house’ through Papaya’s use of bots. When Papaya’s bots win a tournament, Papaya keeps the amount of the entry fees paid by the human players who lose.”

Papaya’s use of bots, as confirmed by former Papaya employees, means all of its games are not skill-based—i.e. based on the skill of the player, with no random events bearing on the result, Skillz alleged.

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