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Twist in action against fantasy firms

FanDuel facing law suit from Redskins player

Lesley Eccles 2Fantasy sports firm FanDuel is facing a legal threat from a top National Football League player in the latest twist in the row over the operation of the games companies in the US.

The Edinburgh and New York based company, and its major rival DraftKings is already under investigation by the FBI and politicians.

Now Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon has filed a class-action lawsuit against FanDuel, claiming the site has been using his name and likeness without permission.

In a statement, Garcon said:  “FanDuel has taken the liberty to engage in these actions without my consent and without proper licensing rights.”

He is not suing DraftKings which has an agreement with the NFL Players Association for marketing and licensing.

However, FanDuel has advertising agreements with 15 NFL teams including Garcon’s Washington Redskins. The agreements include stadium signage and advertising on team websites. It cannot use the NFL or team logos in their advertisements or on their sites.

This is not the first time FanDuel has been challenged for using likenesses of US football players.

In September, it was found to have used an image of Georgia Tech football players in advertisements without permission. FanDuel later said a third-party advertising firm was responsible, and the photo was swapped out.

FanDuel said Garcon’s allegations are “without merit: because they go against established fantasy sports practices.

The company and other fantasy sports firms are being investigated in relation to the alleged use of information by an employee of DraftKings to win a big prize on FanDuel. A US congressman has called for an investigation into whether fantasy sports games breach the ban on online gambling. There have television advertising bans and some states have required the firms to stop operating.

FanDuel has grown substantially in a hugely popular sector in the US and pays out $2 billion in prize money. Co-founder Lesley Eccles (pictured) told the Business in the Parliament Conference in Holyrood on Friday that it expects to launch in the UK soon.

 

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