William Hill Sues FanDuel Over Alleged Betting Guide Plagiarism
Bookmaker William Hill filed a civil complaint in federal court in New Jersey on Tuesday accusing FanDuel of copyright infringement. William Hill is alleging that FanDuel plagiarized a betting guide that can be seen at the Meadowlands Racetrack sportsbook.
William Hill is a U.K.-based oddsmaker that operates out of the Monmouth Park sportsbook as well as the Ocean Resort Casino, both of which are also located in New Jersey. William Hill is seeking damages after it came to their attention that the “How to Bet Guide” at the Meadowlands Racetrack uses the same wording that can be found on William Hill’s own guide that was posted in July. The sportsbook at the Meadowlands, which is operated by FanDuel, also opened in July. William Hill had their betting guide posted for at least a month before FanDuel’s was published.
The complaint details a number of identical sentences and phrases shared by both betting guides. Per the complaint, the most damning evidence against FanDuel is the fact that they forgot to remove the name William Hill from the guide before printing it. The complaint contains side-by-side images comparing the two guides. Below is an example:
FanDuel also apparently used the exact same hypothetical when comparing an example of one pitcher facing another pitcher. The plagiarism seems rather blatant. FanDuel also allegedly copied the same charts and tables present in the William Hill guide. One example was a chart showing a 1:05pm baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies that appeared on both guides. The same starting pitchers and a list of ways to bet on the game was present on both William Hill’s and FanDuel’s pages.
The complaint adds that some language that can be found on FanDuel’s websites are also copied from William Hill. A total of eight articles were presented as evidence. William Hill alleges that FanDuel used the same wording on online articles regarding auto racing, baseball, basketball, boxing, MMA, the NFL, hockey and soccer, among others.
William Hill CEO Joe Asher issued a statement to ESPN that said, “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.” FanDuel declined to comment on the suit.
Of course, this is not the first time the Meadowlands Racetrack has been involved in a controversy since FanDuel opened the operation over the summer. Several weeks ago the sportsbook declined to honor a bet payout of $82,000 to a bettor that had taken advantage of a pricing error. Rather than getting tied up in a legal mess, however, FanDuel ultimately decided to bite the bullet and honor the bet.
Just a couple of weeks after opening their doors for the first time, FanDuel also closed the sportsbook before honoring winning bets on a late Major League Baseball game. The next day, the book again admitted fault and ultimately paid the winning bettors.
Sports betting has generated over $330 million in revenue since opening its doors in New Jersey back in July.
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