William Hill Sues Rival FanDuel for Copyright Infringement, Claims Betting Guide Copied

Posted on: October 24, 2018, 09:30h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2018, 10:29h.

Bookmaker William Hill is suing sports betting rival FanDuel in New Jersey on grounds that the company plagiarized its “How to Bet Guide.”

William Hill FanDuel sports betting odds
William Hill says FanDuel ripped off its betting guide in New Jersey. (Image: The Athletic)

In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court of New Jersey, William Hill contends that FanDuel lifted portions of its sports betting tutorial. Wayne Parry, the Associated Press journalist who covers Atlantic City, reports that “FanDuel’s duplication of the guide was so blatant that it even used the same hypothetical examples of one pitcher facing another pitcher.”

The civil action seeks unspecified damages “for willful copyright infringement under copyright laws of the United States.” In New Jersey, William Hill operates sportsbooks at the Monmouth Park Racetrack and Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City.

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

It’s not the first controversy for FanDuel. Last month, the sportsbook agreed to pay out on an $82,000 ticket that was erroneously printed on the wrong odds.

Compare and No Contrast

Attorneys for William Hill say the plagiarism is blatant when comparing its “How to Bet Guide” with FanDuel’s “How to Bet Betting Guide.” The lawsuit displays various portions of the two materials.

In the football section, William Hill’s guide reads, “The most basic way to bet on football is a straight bet on the point spread. When making a straight bet, the team the player bets must cover the point spread. This means that the favored team must win by a stipulated number of points.”

FanDuel’s football section begins in verbatim. William Hill then shows a point spread example featuring Washington playing Philadelphia at 1:00 pm, with the Eagles favored by three points. FanDuel’s betting guide displays the exact same scenario.

“FanDuel has injured William Hill in an amount to be determined at trial, and has caused and will continue to cause irreparable injury to William Hill,” the lawsuit asserts.

Market Share Battle

The William Hill lawsuit only further heightens an already contentious relationship between the two US sports betting companies.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s May repeal of the federal sports betting ban, daily fantasy sports market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel both transitioned into bookmaking, but unlike DFS, they have plenty of formidable competition in the newly liberalized gaming space.

William Hill, the largest sportsbook in Nevada with 108 locations, has been actively seeking partnerships with casinos in states moving to regulate full-fledged sports betting.

Earlier this month, William Hill expanded its relationship with Golden Entertainment. In September, the company announced a partnership with IGT to target state lotteries to operate sports betting. William Hill also recently revealed a 25-year deal with Eldorado Resorts, which owns 21 casinos in 11 states.

FanDuel has also been on the offensive. Along with the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, the company has sports gambling operations up and running in West Virginia and Mississippi.   

Paddy Power Betfair acquired FanDuel earlier this year in an attempt to enter the US market with a better brand recognition, and the company’s large pool of customers.