WilliamHill US Sues FanDuel For Alleged Copyright Infringement

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In a clash of sports betting competitors, William Hill US has filed a lawsuit alleging that FanDuel blatantly plagiarized large parts of its “how to bet” customer manual.

In a 12-page copyright infringement lawsuit, filed Oct. 23 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, William Hill alleges FanDuel outright copied passages word-for-word.

The lawsuit states: “On information and belief, FanDuel, without the consent of William Hill, printed and publicly distributed the Infringing Pamphlet. A simple side-by-side comparison of the William Hill Copyrighted Work against the Infringing Pamphlet clearly demonstrates how egregious FanDuel has been in its unauthorized copying of the William Hill Copyrighted Work.”

The FanDuel betting pamphlet was distributed at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J. approximately a month after William Hill published its instructional guide for its fledgling sports betting operation at Monmouth Park Racetrack, according to the suit.

The complaint also claims FanDuels' guide features verbatim graphics of possible odds scenarios and the same hypothetical examples of games being played between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs and Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.

And, in perhaps the most shocking and laughable example of copy and paste, the words “William Hill” appear in the FanDuel guide.

“FanDuel’s unauthorized copying is perhaps most evident in the fact that FanDuel actually forgot to remove William Hill’s name when printing the Infringing Pamphlet,” according to the suit.

In a statement made available to news organizations, Joe Asher, William Hill's CEO, was incredulous.

“We are not litigious people but this is ridiculous,” Asher said.

William Hill is seeking unspecified damages from FanDuel, including profits from the alleged copied customer guide.

“If the court finds in our favor, a portion of the proceeds will fund scholarships for creative writing programs at New Jersey universities,” Asher said.

William Hill says the copyright infringement extends beyond the betting guide and also applies to the FanDuel website. In the suit, William Hill provides links to a glossary of sports terms and betting guides, allegedly lifted from the William Hill website. 

“FanDuel’s acts constitute infringement of William Hill’s copyright and exclusive rights under copyright,” according to the suit.

This is the next chapter in a heightening contentious relationship between the sports betting rivals. Following the May decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal the ban on sports betting, the two largest fantasy sports betting game providers, FanDuel and DraftKings began their transition into legal sportsbooks.

That includes FanDuel opening sport betting operations in West Virginia and Mississippi. William Hill, which has more than 100 betting outlets in Nevada, also is seeking similar partnerships with casinos in states on the brink of beginning legalized sports betting.

Join SBR Forum members in discussing this report.

Earlier this year, Paddy Power acquired FanDuel and it has been quite a PR rollercoaster for FanDuel ever since.

In July, FanDuel faced criticism for not paying winning tickets after closing its cages at the Meadowlands Racetrack at the posted time of 1 a.m.

In September, FanDuel was in the news for not paying bets accepted during the fourth quarter of an NFL game between the Broncos and Raiders. FanDuel argued that the bets were given wildly inflated odds due to an 18-second computer glitch, but ultimately caved to mounting public pressure and paid one of the bettors $82,000 on a $100 bet.

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