Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) and The Racing Partnership (“TRP”) have today reacted to the findings of the High Court in the case of TRP, ARC & Arena Leisure v Sports Information Services (‘SIS’).
The High Court has today found in favour of ARC/TRP (the claimants) that SIS acted unlawfully by breaching the confidentiality in ARC’s Raceday Data.
The Findings of Today’s Ruling
Judgment was handed down today, and the Court has found that:
Live Raceday Data relating to TRP races is confidential; TRP has the exclusive right to disseminate it, and SIS and The Tote breached duties of confidence owed to TRP by unlawfully taking, supplying and commercially exploiting that data.
The legal proceedings will now continue to determine the amount of damages payable by SIS to TRP.
TRP was set up to exclusively license media rights from horse race meetings at ARC and other independent racecourses, direct to retail bookmakers and other betting operators. Customers including William Hill, Paddy Power and the majority of independent operators contracted directly with TRP to receive a media rights package comprising live data and audio-visual coverage for fixtures from six racecourses (Doncaster, Lingfield Park, Southwell, Royal Windsor, Wolverhampton and Worcester) from the start of 2017.
The retail estates of Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred did not contract with TRP to secure a lawful supply of live data and TV coverage from these racecourses. They were complicit in a plan to compile enough data from other sources to create an unofficial service from the Tote’s presence on-course and other sources to be supplied by SIS, without any of them paying TRP. TRP took immediate legal action and commenced High Court proceedings against them in January 2017.
The Hon Mr Justice Zacaroli, in a 96 page judgment, in essence, found that SIS knew:
1. that Arena imposed restrictions on the use of Raceday Data upon all attendees;
2. that Arena had granted exclusive rights to exploit Raceday Data for fixed-odds betting purposes to TRP;
3. that there was considerable commercial value in being able to disseminate Raceday Data to off-course bookmakers as soon as possible, and that the exclusivity given to TRP was in order that TRP and Arena could exploit that value;
4. that the Tote had no contractual arrangement with Arena regulating its entitlement to collect, or sub-licence to others, Raceday Data; and
5. while the Tote had the right to be on the Arena Racecourses, that had only ever in fact been exercised for the purposes of pool betting
Accordingly, that a reasonable person in the position of SIS would have appreciated that the Tote acquired the information in circumstances imposing obligations of confidence, which would be breached by use of that information otherwise than by the Tote for the limited purpose of pool betting.
While the judge found ARC/TRP had not made good their other claims in conspiracy through unlawful means, he did conclude:
‘As I have already found, SIS is liable to the claimants under a separate direct claim for breach of confidence. In these circumstances, and given that SIS is the only remaining defendant in the action, it is difficult to see what a finding that SIS was also liable in conspiracy would add’.
During the course of the proceedings and the trial, SIS also admitted that:
- SIS was not entitled to take and commercially exploit Raceday Data from third-party websites carrying the official data from TRP’s media rights package, and its practice of doing so infringed TRP’s database rights and was unlawful;
- SIS was not entitled to use data taken from betting exchanges to create and commercially exploit betting prices without express authorisation from the betting exchanges, and its practice of doing so was unlawful; and
- SIS had breached the terms of a data licence with TRP by supplying data to certain bookmakers not licensed by TRP to receive it.
Martin Cruddace CEO of Arena Racing commented:
“We would like to thank the Hon. Mr Justice Zacaroli for the diligence and work with which he has clearly approached his judgment in a complex case. We are pleased that the High Court has unequivocally recognised the validity and enforceability of our exclusive rights in the Raceday Data created and collected on racecourses and therefore owned by them.We welcome the fact that the judgment gives a ruling on the rights in and protection of Raceday Data which is important to all of British Horse Racing.
It is clear and, in our view, beyond any reasonable dispute that Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred were only able to not enter into media rights agreements with TRP, on proper commercial terms (between Jan 1st and late July 2017), because of their access to Raceday data unlawfully supplied by SIS, and it follows that SIS is responsible for the very significant damages to which TRP is entitled.
We will now expeditiously commence the proceedings to determine the quantum of damages and will continue to monitor any infringements of our rights and take appropriate action wherever such infringements are found.”