William Hill Loses FanDuel Lawsuit

Tisha Walden | 27 Jun 2019

william hilliGaming giant and leading bookmaker William Hill will be donating US$50 000 to a class on Creative Writing at Rutgers University in New Jersey. This is thanks to their settling a lawsuit concerning copyright infringement with the daily fantasy sports provider FanDuel. They alleged that the latter company’s Sports Betting Guide for Novices was simply a plagiarised version of the How to Bet guide by the well-known sportsbook.

Case Settled Out of Court

The United Kingdom-based brand stated in a lawsuit that it filed in the New Jersey US District Court that it was seeking damages from FanDuel. They felt that FanDuel wilfully infringed the copyright laws of the United States of America.

The operators decided not to take the matter to court, however, and came to a settlement agreement instead, the details of which are as yet undisclosed. Then William Hill announced that it would be donating US$50 000 to support the Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing course at Rutgers University, no doubt an ironic nod at the charges the company levelled a FanDuel for ripping off its introductory guide to sports betting!

Too Many Similarities

Chief Executive Officer for William Hill Joe Asher explained that although his organisation is far from litigious, the documents were simply too similar for the matter to be ignored.

The guides were near verbatim in their sports betting explanations, with even hypothetical matchups being identical! For example, William Hill presented a Point Spread, which featured a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Eagles taking place at 13:00, and FanDuel’s guide did the exact same thing.

Battle Lines Drawn in New Jersey

William Hill operates bookmakers at the Atlantic City’s Ocean and Tropicana casinos and the Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey. FanDuel offers betting services at the Meadowlands Racetrack, and both organisations operate online as well.

When sports betting went live in June these Garden State operators saw their coffers filled with almost US$3 billion in wagers. FanDuel has, however, emerged as New Jersey’s dominant market leader. The first 6 months of this year saw the Fantasy Sports provider win over US$50 million at the Meadowlands track and via mobile. William Hill reported that the revenue that it has seen at its 3 land-based casinos and the online book stands at just US$15.25 million.

They are expanding, however, in the wake of the Super Court May 2018 repeal of the federal ban that previously restricted full-scale sportsbook operations to Nevada