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Bookmaker William Hill sues FanDuel over ‘how to bet’ guide

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Bookmaker William Hill US is suing sports betting rival FanDuel for allegedly copying its “how to bet” guide for customers in the fledgling industry nearly word for word.

William Hill US filed a copyright infringement lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey alleging 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 lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against FanDuel, including any profits it made by using the allegedly copied guide.

It also is 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. Since it began in mid-June, sports betting has attracted over $336 million in bets in New Jersey.

“We are not litigious people, but this is ridiculous,” said Joe Asher, the CEO of William Hill US. “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 comment on the lawsuit.

William Hill produced its guide in June when it began offering sports betting at Monmouth Park Racetrack. It also runs the sports book at Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino.

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

Court documents outline 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 claims 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, William Hill said.

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.

Similar infringement appeared in FanDuel’s web pages, the lawsuit alleges.

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC