Skillz Accuses Gaming Rival Voodoo of Bot Fraud in Federal Lawsuit

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Skillz, a pioneer of mobile skill-based games and a major player in the mobile gaming arena, has instigated a federal lawsuit against Paris-based rival, Voodoo. Skillz alleges in the lawsuit, filed in New York’s Southern District Court, that Voodoo is defrauding their customers by using underhanded methods.

As per the lawsuit, Skillz has accused Voodoo of programming computer bots to play in lieu of genuine human contenders. Voodoo supposedly enticed its users with a promise of fair play and healthy competition. However, Skillz contends that, rather than competing against real human players, Voodoo’s customers found themselves in a face-off with Voodoo’s cunningly crafted computer bots, making winning a Herculean task.

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Dating back to April 2013, Skillz brought a revolution to the realm of mobile gaming from its base in Boston, launching a unique platform that brought skill games to the fingertips of millions around the globe. The company prides itself on its novel technologies, such as geolocation services, employed to verify game requests emanate from regions where skill-based games are legitimate. Skillz also touts its intellectual tech designed to match players of similar skills.

In an effort to increase the reach and influence of its technological breakthroughs, Skillz extended its platform to third-party game developers including Voodoo, adding a revenue stream by offering its game development platform to third-party developers.

Voodoo, for its part, claims a colossal reach, boasting of more than 200 games that have seen seven billion downloads and reporting a whopping 150 million active monthly users.

The crux of Skillz’s accusation against Voodoo lies in its assertion that Voodoo falsely promoted its games as being “fair” and “skill-based” through its Blitz Win Cash apps. Instead, Skillz argues, the games were biased in favor of Voodoo, leaving the human player frequently out of pocket. Skillz states that Voodoo benefitted unfairly by charging a commission for arranging games and then regularly pocketing the winnings after their bots emerged victorious.

Voodoo allegedly exploited the success of Skillz, launching the app Blitz Win Cash, which Skillz claims provides similar experiences to its own existing games. Despite Voodoo’s promises of a real chance to win, Skillz claims the outcomes were controlled and manipulated by Voodoo, using algorithms to balance the wins and keep customers from leaving.

The lawsuit from Skillz alleges that these practices by Voodoo tricked thousands of users, tarnished the reputation of the skill game market and caused direct harm to Skillz itself through loss of market share, revenue, and profits. Skillz is seeking recompense in the form of actual, compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages plus lost revenue and profit compensation.

This isn’t the first lawsuit concerning the use of bots by games developers. In a similar vein, Skillz won a case in February against AviaGames, with compensation amounting to almost $43 million. In a further case, AviaGames continues to face a class-action lawsuit brought about by disgruntled customers claiming they were deceived. Another games developer, Papaya Gaming, is also dealing with a class-action lawsuit regarding the alleged use of bots.