A former Northern Illinois University football player has filed federal class action lawsuits against FanDuel and DraftKings, the two biggest daily fantasy sports websites, alleging the two companies profited by using the names and likenesses of thousands of collegiate athletes without their consent.
Akeem Daniels, a running back at NIU from 2010 to 2014, filed both suits Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
“[FanDuel and DraftKings] exploited Plaintiff’s and Class Members’ names and likenesses without their consent to promote its daily fantasy college football and basketball gaming product, to solicit users to its website, and ultimately to collect entry fees.” the suits alleged.
Both three-count lawsuits allege violations of the Lanham Act, right of publicity violations and unjust enrichment. The suits both seek damages for Daniels and the more than 2,000 other collegiate athletes he purports to represent in the lawsuits.
Daniels is also seeking an injunction to stop DraftKings and FanDuel from using collegiate athletes’ names and likenesses “in conjunction with any aspect of [the sites’] operation of [their] daily fantasy sports contests.”
A representative from FanDuel declined to comment on the lawsuit. Representatives from DraftKings did not respond to requests for comment.
In December 2015, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared DraftKings and FanDuel to be illegal gambling operations. However, both sites are allowed to continue operation in the state as the courts decide on DraftKings’ lawsuit that challenges Madigan’s assertions.