Bingo sites have long been a staple of pop culture, from the original TV series “Bingo” to the movies “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Fargo.”
But now the sites are being accused of creating a “culture of hate” for some of the country’s biggest sports franchises.
It’s a new and potentially dangerous trend in the gaming industry, which has seen gaming giants like EA and Activision shift their business to live-streaming and social media in the past few years.
The sites have had to adjust their business models, from selling ads to providing online services.
For example, Bingo’s original game was sold on Microsoft’s Xbox Live, which the company shut down in 2016.
BINGOCLUB, the original Bingo site, closed its doors in January after its owner, Bing Bingo, announced that the site would no longer allow users to enter prizes, a move that led to the site’s shutdown.
Another Bingo game, Bingocast, went offline last year.
On Thursday, a federal judge in Los Angeles found Bingo guilty of defrauding investors and users of $5.9 million in the deal that brought Bingo to the US in 2008.
The court also ordered Bingo pay a $1.8 million civil penalty and pay $1 million to a gaming company that was sold to Bingo in 2007.
The suit, which alleges the site had a “predatory” business model and that Bingo has misled investors, alleges that Bingocasts profits were inflated through the purchase of stock in Bingo and through promotions and advertisements.
“Bingocasts investors have been deceived and defrauded by Bingocasters misleading claims and false advertising,” the suit says.
Bingo has denied the allegations.
“Bingocoast has consistently and vigorously defended itself against the charges,” the company said in a statement.
“Our position is that our business model, based on providing entertainment to a community of dedicated fans, is a sustainable one, and we have never taken any steps to alter that model.”
Bingolo is the biggest and most profitable online gaming company in the world, according to Forbes, and its business has grown from $8 billion in revenues in 2007 to $35 billion in 2016, and it has more than $300 million in cash.
Bingocaster, another Bingo-owned site, had about a third of the company’s revenue in 2016 and it shut down last year after losing investors and staff.
The companies have since reached settlements with investors.
In addition to the lawsuits, the FTC is investigating complaints about the sites’ advertising and promotion practices.
The FTC is also investigating whether Bingo violated federal antitrust laws by allowing the sites to advertise for the Xbox Live gaming service.
The lawsuits also accuse Bingo of illegally marketing its games to children, as well as for advertising on its social media accounts, which have been used to promote games that were already on the market.