FanDuel Back In Hot Water After Allegedly Cribbing William Hill Content

It appears FanDuel Sportsbook again finds itself in hot water.

In a suit in New Jersey on Tuesday, bookmaker William Hill US (now Caesars) alleged that FanDuel engaged in “willful copyright infringement” of William Hill’s “How to Bet Guide.”

The British bookmaker has owned the copyright to said guide since August. William Hill argues that FanDuel, per the suit, basically took the NJ sports betting guide, branded it “FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK” and renamed it as “How to Bet Betting Guide.”

A look into the lawsuit

After FanDuel Sportsbook opened operations at the Meadowlands Racetrack in July, according to William Hill, “a pamphlet being distributed” at the sportsbook appeared identical to the betting guide created by William Hill.

As evidence, William Hill submitted its betting guide for football along with the “infringing pamphlet” that FanDuel claims as its own, which, down to the letter, uses exact language from the original betting guide.

From the suit:

“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.”

William Hill also provided the baseball section from its own betting guide as well as from the infringing pamphlet. Again, the two copies appeared identical.

The lawsuit then turned its attention to a blatant error from the infringing pamphlet. William Hill noted that :

“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.”

From the section of the FanDuel’s “Alternate & Reverse Run Lines”:

 “Alternate & reverse run lines are propositional wagers offered by William Hill on each baseball game.”

Infringement not just on paper

William Hill alleges that FanDuel’s “unauthorized copying” of the bookmaker’s copyrighted work extends to FanDuel’s website.

Providing several links to FanDuel’s pages, William Hill says that the daily fantasy sports company essentially copy-pasted betting guides for a variety of sports as well as for a glossary of sports betting terms and types of wagers.

Because of the printed pamphlet and the online infringement, William Hill concluded that “FanDuel’s acts constitute infringement of William Hill’s copyright and exclusive rights under copyright.”

The bookmaker claims that FanDuel’s action were “willful and intentional, and in disregard of and with indifference to the right of William Hill.”

William Hill requested that FanDuel compensates for “any and all profits derived” by the Meadowlands sportsbook “as a result of the infringement.” Additionally, William Hill urged that statutory damages reach the maximum amount against FanDuel.

In a statement, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher:

“We are not litigious people but this is ridiculous. If the court finds in our favor, a portion of the proceeds will fund scholarships for creative writing programs at New Jersey universities.”

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Another misstep for FanDuel

This is not the first time FanDuel Sportsbook comes under fire.

In late July, the property refused to pay out winning betting slips after closing its vault at 1 a.m. That alone caused a bit of an uproar among the betting public.

Then, about two months later, FanDuel decided against cashing out a betting slip that contained erroneous odds on an NFL game because of a “glitch” in the system. After several days, an eternity in the modern age of social media and scrutiny, FanDuel ultimately paid out the winning tickets.

This latest instance just adds fuel to the fire that had been building for one of New Jersey’s biggest-name sportsbooks.

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.