Sports and Gaming
Secured a victory in the Indiana Supreme Court in a closely watched putative class action accusing daily fantasy sports operators of profiting off the unauthorized use of the names and likenesses of former NCAA athletes. The high-profile case presented huge stakes for the sports betting industry. A ruling adverse to the daily fantasy site operators would have imperiled the business of companies across the sports betting industry, which relies on the open sharing of information about athletes and their statistics. The firm argued that the state’s right of publicity statute contains exceptions for material that is protected by the First Amendment, including information that is newsworthy or in the public interest, such as the athletic performances of college athletes. The five-judge panel unanimously agreed.
Represented FOX Sports in a groundbreaking deal to launch FOX Bet, a first-of-its-kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the US. The partnership with The Stars Group (TSG) features a complex array of media rights, equity and commercial components. The companies have launched two digital products under the FOX Bet umbrella: Fox Sports Super 6, a nationwide free-to-play game, awarding cash prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of sports games; and FOX Bet, which gives customers in states with regulated real-money betting the opportunity to place wagers on the outcome of a wide range of sporting events in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Sports Business Daily called the transaction “the boldest step taken by a US media company in the sports gambling space.”
Represented Fox to negotiate arrangements with Flutter Entertainment plc, the parent company of daily fantasy sports and sports betting company FanDuel, in Flutter’s acquisition of The Stars Group (TSG). The representation involved aligning Flutter’s, TSG’s, Fox’s and the strategic investors in FanDuel’s economic interests for Flutter’s dual-brand (FOX Bet and FanDuel) sports betting business in the US following the acquisition.
Opposed the so-called “penalty box” amendment in Illinois legislation aimed at legalizing sports betting, which would have imposed a three-year ban on daily fantasy sports operators going to market in Illinois. Our client contended that the provision was an unconstitutional attempt by casinos to get an early start on developing and securing the sports betting market while excluding the daily fantasy sports providers. The firm challenged the constitutionality of the provision, including in a white paper report and testimony before the Illinois General Assembly’s House Judiciary Committee. Following the firm’s efforts, the proposal was changed to allow daily fantasy sports operators to begin sports betting operations in the state immediately by partnering with an Illinois-based casino, and then on its own after 18 months.