THE Gauteng High Court has dismissed the urgent application for an interdict brought by certain Gauteng bookmakers and two national bookmakers against the horseracing channel, Tellytrack. The urgent interdict was as a consequence of the expiration of the current agreements that the bookmakers hold to display and utilise the Tellytrack channel to bet upon in their licensed betting outlets.
Tellytrack proposed a new agreement which would recognise and reward the intellectual property of the Local and particularly the International Racing Operators. Despite protracted negotiations with the bookmakers’ associations since last September no resolution or agreement was reached. They consequently advised the Bookmakers that, unless new contracts were agreed, they would be removing the international content from the Tellytrack channel during February. The interdict was brought about to prevent this change in the content of Tellytrack being implemented.
John Stuart: “We wasted time and resources and we need finality by the end of the month.”
The submission of the Tellytrack CEO, John Stuart, on behalf of the Tellytrack Partnership, (which is made up of the country’s three racing operators: Gold Circle; Kenilworth Racing; and, Phumelela) calls for “a solution that gives a fair economic return for the owners of the intellectual property which the bookmakers are commercially exploiting in their betting shops”.
Stuart also refers to “the critical need for the international and local racing operators to be able to gain a fair economic return for the commercial exploitation of their intellectual property in order to be able to re-invest in their respective racing operations”.
He added that “Tellytrack needs to be able to operate on a commercial basis in order to maintain the world-class quality that the viewers have grown to expect over the last ten years. We have to upgrade to an HD and 16X9 format with extensive use of computer graphics to compete with other televised sport. We can only do this if we shift to a licence agreement that ensures a fair economic return. If the bookmakers believe that they have a better idea than what has been tabled, we are listening. We would willingly consider alternative proposals provided that it enables Tellytrack to remain as a world-class racing and betting channel making a fair economic return”.
Stuart concluded: “We do not view today’s outcome as a victory, because we never wanted this matter to be consumed in a legal process which uses precious time and resources. The window for conversation is however a very small one now as the bookmaker associations have all terminated their agreements with Tellytrack. We need to have finality by the end of the month.”