William Hill Drops Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against FanDuel Sportsbook

Written By Grant Lucas on January 16, 2019

An odd and somewhat shocking lawsuit against FanDuel Sportsbook has come to a close.

According to federal court filings from late last week, William Hill US dropped its suit against FanDuel, in which the British bookmaker accused FanDuel of engaging in “willful copyright infringement” by creating a “How To Bet Betting Guide” that essentially was a copy-and-paste of William Hill’s product. (It even had William Hill’s customer support line attached, according to reports.)

Now, though, William Hill, which operates William Hill NJ as a New Jersey sports betting competitor of FanDuel, came to settlement terms.

William Hill drops the suit against FanDuel

At the time of its initial lawsuit, William Hill requested several remedies from the court.

First, the company demanded FanDuel cease distributing its infringing betting guides.

It allegedly took them from William Hill and rebranded it “FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK.” Said guides were physically available at FanDuel’s retail sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack as well as online.

Additionally, William Hill requested the court award damages to the bookmaker as compensation for profits made by FanDuel through the materials as well as money William Hill might lose in legal fees and prospective NJ sports betting revenue.

Though its filing did not outline behind-the-scenes discussions with FanDuel, William Hill noted that it was not after monetary coverage of costs of litigation.

However, William Hill will use monetary damages in another way, according to a statement from William Hill US CEO Joe Asher.

“We have settled our copyright infringement lawsuit against FanDuel. We are going to use some of the proceeds to fund scholarships for creative writing programs at New Jersey universities and we are also going to donate to an organization that supports people with gambling problems, a very important issue for us.”

Effects of the lawsuit on FanDuel

Certainly, the lawsuit did not come at a great time for FanDuel, at least in terms of its image.

At the time, the sportsbook had already endured a pair of controversies.

One involved a computer glitch that inflated the odds of an NFL game and led FanDuel to refuse payments on wagers made on said game. (The sportsbook eventually did pay.)

Two months earlier, FanDuel turned away customers with winning betting tickets of a late-night MLB game, leading many to believe the sportsbook was short on cash.

Then, William Hill called out FanDuel, in court and then publicly when the lawsuit emerged. On a grand scale, it appears FanDuel has shored things up, as no such controversies have arisen in NJ sports betting since that time.

In fact, FanDuel has only grown. In December, its online sportsbook closed the sports betting revenue gap on industry leader DraftKings Sportsbook.

Still, FanDuel’s early-operation errors, including this settlement with William Hill (which, arguably, could have stayed private), remains as a scarlet letter for the sportsbook.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant now focuses his attention on the growing NJ online gambling and sports betting scene.

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