In a recent court decision, U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh ruled that payments for entry fees to participate in ESPN’s premium fantasy sports league are not wagers or bets, and thus does not constitute illegal gambling.
A fantasy sport is a game where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players or teams of a professional sport. In more competitive fantasy sports leagues, participants pay a fee to sign up or “purchase” a team, and prizes are awarded to winning teams’ managers at the end of the season.
Agreeing with the defendant, Viacom Inc., Judge Cavanaugh held “entry fees do not constitute bets or wagers where they are paid unconditionally for the privilege of participating in a contest, and the prize is for an amount…that is guaranteed to be won by one of the contestants.”
Moreover, “courts throughout the country have long recognized that it would be patently absurd to hold that the combination of an entry fee and a prize equals gambling.” Under such a definition, scores of normal contests would be considered unlawful gambling.
Cavanaugh noted that “the element of risk necessary to constitute betting or wagering is missing.” It is estimated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association that 16 million adults in the U.S., from the ages 18 to 55, play fantasy sports. Humphrey v. Viacom Inc. et al., No. 06-2768 WL 1797648 (D. N.J. June 20, 2007).
UPDATES TO WEBSITE
Our website, Entertainment Law Resources (www.marklitwak.com) has been updated with additional checklists for Errors and Omissions insurance, Corporate and LLC formation, template lab access letter, sample producer delivery list and other information.
MAN COULD GET UP TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR POSTING PIRATED TV EPISODES
A criminal complaint handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California could send a 24 year old Chicago man to prison for three years for uploading to the Internet pirated episodes of the television series “24.” The episodes were uploaded to LiveDigital.com almost a week before their premiere.
Producer Twentieth Century Fox issued a statement thanking federal prosecutors for investigating the matter. United States v. Romero, No. 07-848, complaint filed (C.D. Cal. June 1, 2007).
METHOD FEST 10TH ANNIVERSARY
The 10th annual Method Fest independent film festival is currently accepting entries for the 2008 festival, March 27 – April 3, in Calabasas, Calif. The Method Fest is dedicated to showcasing breakout acting performances in story and character-driven independent feature and short films.
In only 9 years The Method fest has launched over 85 films into the marketplace (theatrical releases, DVD/video distribution, and TV deals). The submission deadlines are: Early Deadline - December 15, 2007; Late Entry Deadline – January 31, 2008. You can contact Method Fest at www.methodfest.com or call them at (310) 535-9230.