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William Hill settles suit against FanDuel over betting guide

By WAYNE PARRYJanuary 15, 2019

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Bookmaker William Hill has settled its lawsuit alleging that rival FanDuel copied its “how to bet” guide virtually word for word, and will use part of the money to fund creative writing classes.

William Hill CEO Joe Asher won’t say how much his company is receiving from FanDuel, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

But he said some of the money will pay for the establishment of creative writing programs at New Jersey universities, as well as programs to treat problem gambling.

The settlement was made public Monday night, but was reached a week or two ago, Asher said.

William Hill filed a copyright infringement suit in October in federal court.

It produced its guide in June when it began offering sports betting at Monmouth Park Racetrack.

The lawsuit claims FanDuel circulated a virtually identical guide at the Meadowlands Racetrack a month later.

Court documents outlined numerous instances of entire blocks of text from the William Hill guide appearing verbatim in the FanDuel version, although in a different typeface.

The suit also claimed FanDuel copied diagrams illustrating possible bets and odds. For instance, a chart involving a 1:05 p.m. baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies listing both starting pitchers and three different ways to bet on the game appeared identically in both publications.

The most telling instance involved a page in which FanDuel neglected to remove William Hill’s name from text it allegedly cut and pasted into its own guide, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was an example of how important the nascent U.S. market is to both companies, and how zealously competitors in the industry will fight to protect their brands and market share with legal sports betting in its infancy in America. Figures released earlier Monday by New Jersey gambling regulators show $1.24 billion worth of bets were made in New Jersey from mid-June through the end of the year.

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