UK-listed online gambling operator GVC Holdings is facing a potential class action lawsuit in Canada stemming from the collapse of an alleged joint venture involving its Sportingbet brand.
Ontario-based law firm Findlay McCarthy PC recently launched a website seeking submissions from Canadian sports bettors who registered with Sportingbet between 2005 and 2015.
The firm says it is considering a class action “seeking reimbursement on behalf of betters [sic] of all bets placed by Canadian residents” with Sportingbet during the period in question. The law firm said it also intends to seek “substantial punitive damages” against GVC should the allegations against the company prove correct.
The action is related to a suit filed last August by Doug Honeger, a Montreal-based sports and entertainment consultant, who claims his 37 Entertainment Inc (37E) entered into a joint venture with GVC to launch two Sportingbet-branded websites serving Canadian sports bettors.
Honeger claims that he and his partner Barry Alter effectively ran Sportingbet’s Canada-facing business between 2014 and 2015, during which time he had full access to Sportingbet customers’ betting histories, personal data and banking details.
GVC has publicly insisted that no formal agreement was ever reached between itself and 37E. Findlay McCarthy says that if GVC’s claim is true, and Honeger’s company was found to have had access to the Sportingbet customer data, then GVC would have broken Canadian law for not informing customers that their data would be shared with a third party.
Findlay McCarthy is also believed to be looking into whether GVC ever conducted any background checks on 37E, Honeger or Alter.
Honeger claimed the JV was aborted by GVC’s pursuit of rival Bwin.party digital entertainment, which GVC paid around £1.1b to acquire last September. GVC and 37E are believed to have a rendezvous with an arbitration hearing in London this July. The news didn’t exactly shake GVC shareholders, who saw their shares improve 1.5% to 532.5p on Tuesday.