Swedish arguments


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Online gambling firm Unibet and Swedish horse racing monopoly clash

The Swedish news publication Travnet reports that Sweden's horse racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has launched litigation against the Malta licensed Unibet online gambling group on allegations of illegally obtaining information on horse racing from the ATG database.

The ATG accusation is centred on claims that Unibet has been using information from the company's database without permission since 2000, and that despite protests by ATG in 2004 there has been no agreement on the issue.

Consequently, the Swedish horse racing monopoly is seeking relief from the courts, suing Unibet for a reported $36 million. This sum is said to be 10 percent of the money that Unibet has made on horse betting since the company started to use the information from the ATG database.

The claim alleges that ATG invested more than $30 million in building the database, and that Unibet would not have been able to provide horse race betting without the information it contains.

A spokesperson for ATG told Travnet that the company believes it has a good chance to win in court in accordance with rulings in similar cases both in Sweden and the European Union.


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001


Lawyer points to Svenska Spel and other precedents

In a sequel to our earlier story on AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) launching litigation against the Unibet online gambling group, the Travnet site reports that Unibet lawyers do not seem unduly worried about the lawsuit.

Lawyer Monique Wadsted, who acts as Unibet's legal adviser made the following comment:

"It is correct that Unibet uses horse race information that originates from STC (the Swedish horse racing association, which is one of the ATG owners). To put these together is an ongoing task undertaken by STC in order to be capable of arranging the horse races and it's not a type of investment that one would protect through database protection law - the information should be freely available to anyone. This is pointed out in several [previous] cases.

"A couple of years ago a similar case went before a Swedish Judge. The issue was whether Svenska Spel [another Swedish gambling monopoly] had permission to offer betting on English soccer games and to use [third party] game result lists without paying for the use of these. According to the judge they did not have to pay.

"The case before the Swedish Supreme Court was similar [to] Svenska Spel, that used similar information from the company Fixture Marketing, which in the end also lost the case.

"There is also the case from the EU-Court between British Horse Racing Board and the gaming company William Hill, which is almost identical with our [Unibet] case, and which the British Horse Racing Board lost.

"Unibet is therefore not specifically worried about the lawsuit".

However, an executive at ATG, Benno Eliasson told the online gambling information portal Online-Casinos.com that he disagreed with the Unibet lawyer's assessment of the case. He asserted that the Svenska Spel case is not comparable with the ATG claims against Unibet.

"That case was not about the use of the database without a license; that is the main difference between the two cases," he said.

The case against Unibet surfaced this week when Swedish press reports revealed that the Swedish horse racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp was suing online gambling group Unibet for 240 million Swedish kronor (about $36 million) on claims that Unibet has been using its racing information database "Sportdatabasen" without authority since 2 000, despite several protests from ATG.

It is understood that the content for the database comes from the STC, a racing association that is one of the owners of ATG, which is charged with administering the database.

The database is a collation of all available information about horse racing, and allegedly cost 200 million Swedish kronor to set up and build. Without the database, operating any Swedish horse racing betting is impossible, Eliasson claims. Although some 300 media outlets use the database in a non-commercial sense, these are licensed by ATG as the owner. Unibet is not among these or among the several other gambling companies that use the database with the permission of ATG.

Eliasson stressed that "Sportdatabasen" is the property of ATG and may not be used for commercial gain by foreign gambling companies and the like, which do not have any signed agreement.

ATG is claiming 240 million Swedish kronor, together with the removal of all data collected by Unibet thus far. ATG's contention is that the amount of the claim translates to a theoretical license fee of 10 percent of Unibet's gross revenue in Sweden since the year 2000, when Unibet first started using the database.

ATG claims that on several occasions Unibet management has been warned that they were not entitled to use the database.

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