GREENBELT, Md. (CN) - Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon claims in a class action that the online fantasy sports website FanDuel is making millions by using star players' likenesses without their permission.
In a federal complaint filed on Oct. 30, Garcon claims FanDuel is "trying to profit on plaintiff Garcon's success, and that of other NFL athletes, without compensating them."
There is no doubt online fantasy sports is big business. On its website FanDuel says it anticipates "paying out [an] expected $2 billion in real cash prizes this year," while promising its participants they'll "get instant payouts as soon as contests end."
But Garcon says FanDuel promotes and operates its daily fantasy football contests "on the backs of NFL players, whose popularity and performance make the Defendant's commercial daily fantasy football product possible."
"Defendant FanDuel owes its success operating these daily fantasy football contests to NFL players, like [Garcon] and Class members, whose names and likenesses make FanDuel's games possible," the complaint says. "Without them and their on-the-field success, daily fantasy football would not exist."
Thanos Basdekis, an attorney with Baily & Glasser, the Washington firm that is representing Garcon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fan Duel said it believes the class action is without merit.
"There is established law that fantasy operators may use player names and statistics for fantasy contests," the business said in a statement. "FanDuel looks forward to continuing to operate our contests which sports fans everywhere have come to love."
Allegations of "insider trading" have dogged online fantasy sports companies in recent weeks after a DraftKings employee won hundreds of thousands of dollars with the rival website. In addition to an FBI investigation, the news has sparked dozens of lawsuits.
Sites like FanDuel and DraftKings allow customers to select real-life athletes from multiple teams and collect points based on the statistical performance of those players. The better their players perform statistically, the better their chances of winning cash.
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