Australian betting operator Sportsbet has been accused of thieving business secrets from a site that hosts ‘punters club’ betting syndicates.
Jason Neave, CEO of the Adelaide-based Punt Club, has filed legal papers accusing top execs of Paddy Power’s Aussie offshoot Sportsbet of joining his site in order to pick up pointers before starting a similar service on Sportsbet.
Last month, Sportsbet launched the beta version of its Punters Club, in which groups of friends of acquaintances can form their own joint betting group. Each member contributes a certain amount of money to the pool, after which members take turns placing wagers on behalf of the group. There are also social components, allowing you to publicly rag on your mate after he loses all your money.
Neave’s Punt Club launched in 2011 and grew to host hundreds of betting syndicates, including some fronted by prominent AFL players. Neave claims he was approached by Sportsbet’s bosses about striking a deal to give Sportsbet “exclusivity” to Neave’s website, a deal Neave says he declined but counter-offered a link-sharing deal that would have benefited both companies.
Instead, Neave says multiple top execs at Sportsbet – including the CEO, COO, CMO, CFO, CIO and the head of legal and regulatory affairs – signed up with Punt Club in what Neave alleges was a ploy to gather research on how the system worked.
Neave has accused Sportsbet of “inducing” employees to sign up with Punt Club and breach the site’s terms and conditions by conducting their illicit research. Neave believes Sportsbet infringed on his copyrights and has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the matter so he can determine whether he should seek a compensation claim.
Adelaide Now reported that Sportsbet filed a response to the Court rejecting Neave’s right to claim ownership to the “generic and commonplace concept” of a punters club, noting that variations on this theme were prevalent in Australia. Sportsbet also said it’s unclear how getting to know Punt Club’s rules breached the site’s T&C’s. The Court has yet to weigh in with its opinion.