Analytics Show Trademark, Patent Filings Dominate Court Actions in Emerging Online Sports Betting Sector

In 2022, the United States sports betting and iGaming industry set a record with $7.5 billion in revenue, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA states the 72.9% growth in revenue in 2022 was in part fueled by the new jurisdictions legalizing sports betting and mobile gambling. Further, according to Grandview Research, the global online gambling market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7% from 2023 to 2030. 

Docket Alarm analytics from some of the largest players in the US online gambling industry show the companies are trying to solidify their brand and protect their technology as the industry continues to boom, a pattern that echoes other technology-heavy industries like telecom.

The most popular online sports gambling companies in the United States include Fanduel Group, which is owned by Flutter Entertainment PLC, and DraftKings Inc. Also involved are companies connected to the traditional casino industry – BetMGM, LLC, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and Barstool Sport Book owner PENN Entertainment, Inc. 

According to Docket Alarm analytics, since 2019, 35% of all new court filings involving the seven companies mentioned above were related to patent and trademark. In fact, the top category was trademark filings, with 117 new entries out of the 506 sports gambling related filings picked up by Docket Alarm since 2019. Further, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board came in as the sixth busiest court. 

Additionally, the analytics of the top courts suggest these companies may be trying to protect technology and inventions. U.S. Patent Applications came in third in the top court’s analytics with 23 filings followed by disputes before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board coming in fourth. 

Draftkings is far more active than its competitors in the industry when it comes to trademark registration. Of the 117 new filings, Draftkings was named on 65 of them and its parent company, DK Crown Holdings, was named on 31 filings making them the two most active parties. Penn Entertainment entities rounded out the top four parties with Penn Entertainment being named on 26 filings and Penn National Gaming on 12. 

Further, trademark applications and registration were the top filing destinations for Fanduel Group, BetMGM, DraftKings, DK Crown Holdings, Penn Entertainment and Penn National Gaming, each individually. 

DraftKings, one of the leading names in the sector, has seen 25 federal cases in recent years. They are split between a number of case types, led by patent but also including securities and contract.

Their top counsel in federal court is Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello, among other firms.

With the online gambling industry having its biggest year in 2022 and expected to continue to grow, the biggest players in the industry appear to be trying to establish and protect their brand with trademark filings and develop new technologies with patent filings. As the the industry matures, along with the state-by-state regulatory framework, the types of cases this emergent sector could see may change.