Video Game Law Blog

August 31, 2006

Earlier this month we reported on a US district court ruling that fantasy baseball leagues can use player names and stats without permission from Major League Baseball because MLB doesn't own any intellectual property in the names or stats. Another pressing issue is whether fantasy sports leagues violate criminal gambling laws. 

In Canada, for example, agame is illegal in Canada if

(i)   the contestant must pay to play,

(ii)  success is based (at least in part) on chance, and

(iii) the winning contestant wins goods, wares or merchandise.

Many fantasy sports games meet the first and third requirement. The real issue is whether they meet the second element too. We may soon find out (at least in the US).

A lawyer in Colorado has filed a lawsuit claiming that various Fantasy Sports providers (including ESPN and CBS) are violating gambling laws. The defendants have not yet commented.
Coverage is here (