Suit Alleges DraftKings Violates ADA

by Kevin Burton

   Uh-oh, looks as if two of my in-groups have beef.

   A blind man has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against DraftKings, alleging that the gaming company’s website is not accessible to blind users. 

   DraftKings is a daily fantasy sports and sports betting company founded in Boston in 2012. The suit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleges DraftKings is in violation of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

   “Plaintiff Robert Jahoda claims the DraftKings website is ‘largely incompatible’ with screen-reading software used by blind and visually impaired individuals to access the internet,” write Abraham Jewett on

   “DraftKings, by allegedly failing to make its website compatible with screen-reading software, ‘deprives individuals who are partially sighted, visually impaired, or totally blind the benefits of its online goods, content, and services,’” the DraftKings complaint alleges.

   “Jahoda, a blind man, argues DraftKings is required by law to make its website fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, and that not doing so increases ‘the sense of isolation and stigma’ the laws are meant to redress,” Jewett writes.

   This is the blind versus fantasy sports. I have been legally blind all my life. I have been obsessed by fantasy football for only one year. 

   So I’m siding with the blind man in this dispute, but I’m not betting on him.  These huge companies tend to make class action suits by little people go away.  What odds would you give on the blind folks winning, maybe eight to one? Fifteen to one?

   I am also siding with the plaintiff, blind brother, because I play fantasy football on Yahoo’s free site, not on DraftKings.

   “Jahoda is demanding a jury trial and requesting declaratory and injunctive relief along with nominal damages,” Jewett writes

   “Unfortunately, Defendant denies approximately 7.4 million Americans who have vision difficulty access to its online store,” reads the lawsuit. 

   “DraftKings is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for its users, including those with visual disabilities,” reads a statement on the company’s website. “Our efforts are guided by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Our goal is for our websites and applications to meet or exceed these guidelines.”

   “To that end, we are continually improving the user experience for everyone. For example, as part of our initiative, we are working to ensure that the way we use color and contrast in our products is distinguishable to all of our users,” the DraftKings website reads.

   I would tell you more about the suit, but I can’t find anything else. The internet is filled with stories about DraftKings’ other suits, about people suing because DraftKings allegedly failed to pay the money that gamblers won. 

   There are also some stories about people having trouble with the DraftKings ap and the site being down altogether. At those times of course, that would mean the site isn’t accessible to anybody.

   Most websites that are not accessible to the blind are partially usable, with only parts of them closed off to blind users.

   I asked my friend Debbie Brummer, who is totally blind and very good at using assistive computer technology, to go to the DraftKings website to see what is and is not accessible.

   She said that on what I call the front part of the site everything was accessible, except for the part that tells users which states have laws that allow online gambling.

   That in itself is a major problem with the site.

   “It must be some kind of map with different colors. I’m just guessing,” Debbie said, and she was right on.  By clicking “legality” you can get to the place she was talking about.

   The map shows in green all the states where online gambling is legal (almost all of them) and in black where it is not legal; Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and curiously, Nevada.

   “In order to see the rest of the site you had to create an account, and I didn’t want to do that,” Debbie said.  

   That is completely understandable. I state here categorically that blind people have as much right to be fleeced by the big gambling industry as our sighted friends. The ADA gives us that right.

   But Debbie has no desire to join those ranks and neither do I.

   It must be that most of the inaccessible content, the basis for the class action lawsuit, is in what I call the back part of the website.

   The one story I found referred to an online store not being accessible.  I made a half-hearted effort to find that store, but lost interest.

   “Somebody who’s trying to sell something, I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to make it accessible,” Debbie said.

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1 Comment

  1. I, too, don’t have much hope of this guy winning but I surely do wish that he would! I grow tired of being excluded from all sorts of things on the basis of not being able to see. My money spends the same as it does when it belongs to those who can see and I work hard and should be able to enjoy various styles of entertainment just the same as others do. I definitely wish him well in his legal action.

    Tracy Duffy



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