Supreme Court Weighs Whether Daily Fantasy Can Use Players' Likenesses

Jun 28, 2018

Federal courts directed the Indiana Supreme Court to give guidance on this question – whether or not daily fantasy sports companies can use athletes’ names and likenesses.

The state's high court considered that question at a hearing Thursday.

Indiana law requires a person to give their consent before their name or likeness is used for publicity – with some exceptions. One of those exceptions is for newsworthiness – it’s why a local newspaper can print an athlete’s statistics. Attorney Ian Gershengorn says his clients, daily fantasy operators FanDuel and DraftKings, fall under that exception.

“This is how new media approaches the same statistics, the same box scores we’ve been reading for generations, the same debates as Maris or Mantle, Manning or Brady,” Gershengorn says.

College and professional athletes sued the daily fantasy companies. Attorney William Clifton Holmes represents them and says there’s a big difference between box scores in the newspaper and daily fantasy.

“They’re offering to customers the opportunity to make money by buying stakes in the athletes themselves,” Holmes says.

It’s likely the case will return to federal court once the state Supreme Court weighs in.