License: Pexels, Free to use, Author: Soly Moses
The Maritime and Commercial High Court of Denmark has ordered Hillside, the owner of Bet365, to pay DKK4.7m (£549,712/€631,064/$693,852) in compensation to several Danish athletes for using their names and images without permission. The court ruled on May 8th that Bet365 violated the rights of athletes by posting images and using their names on its social media channels between February 21st, 2019, and March 11th, 2021.
Bet365 argued that using the images and names should have been regarded as editorial content as part of its social media output. However, the court deemed it to be marketing and awarded each athlete DKK50,000 per notice of remuneration and compensation, according to the country's Marketing Act.
Danish football star Christian Eriksen, currently with Manchester United in the English Premier League, was the athlete most affected by the case, with his name or image having appeared on Bet365's social media 29 times during the period. He was awarded DKK1.5m in compensation.
Other impacted athletes include Danish national team goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who had his rights violated ten times and was awarded DKK500,000. National football team captain Simon Kjær was subject to six breaches and awarded a compensation package worth DKK350,000, while women's football star Pernille Harder was issued DKK350,000 for seven incidences of rights infringement.
Danish football legend Peter Schmeichel, now retired but working as a pundit, was awarded DKK350,000 after his name and image was used seven times. In addition to compensation, the court ordered Bet365 to pay a further DKK311,500 in legal costs incurred by the Danish Players' Association, Danish Elite Sports Athletes' Association, and Danish Handball Players' Association for bringing the case to court.