Friday, February 03, 2006
Legal battles ahead in Australia over controversial exchange betting

Media reports suggest that Betfair, the betting exchange that was allowed a gaming license in Australia’s province of Tasmania, will legally challenge the laws of other Australian states that ban the use of their racing data for exchange betting.

Betfair’s main target is the Victoria province, which introduced legislation late last year that prevent any betting exchange or interstate corporate bookmaker from using Victorian race fields and betting on them without authorisation.

In Australia, racing data is collected, elaborated and marketed from a central organisation, Racing Information Services Australia Ltd, which is owned by the racing organisations. However, recent moves have ensured that the intellectual property rights of racing data remains with the provincial racing bodies.

Regarding Intellectual Property Rights, the international racing community is of the opinion that racing data is the ownership of the race organisers. Only those organisations can run a business on the basis of this data if it has the agreement of the organiser of the race or its rights holder.

Racing is an expensive activity, and so is the composition of race fields. It is unthinkable that someone makes profit out of the use of race fields and other racing data without the explicit agreement of the racing organiser. The organiser needs to agree on the level of compensation in order to be able to finance the races and maintain a healthy racing economy.

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities believes that unauthorised use is a form of piracy and should be rejected forcefully.