SIS in legal battle with Irish bookmaker AlphaBet

AlphaBet has five retail betting shops in Ireland.
AlphaBet has five retail betting shops in Ireland.

SIS is suing the bookmaker over broadcasting rights.

Ireland.- It’s emerged that SIS (Sports Information Services) is suing an independent Irish bookmaker over non-payment for broadcasting rights. SIS Media Ltd, SIS Group’s Irish division, claims that AlphaBet didn’t pay for use of its horse racing content feed services at its retail betting shops.

According to The Irish Times, SIS claims that it provided its content feed services to Alphabet between 2009 and 2017, but terminated its contract after the bookmaker failed to pay €40,000 in fees for broadcast rights. However, it claims that AlphaBet continued to use feeds from its SIS One and SIS Two racing and sports channels at three bookmakers, infringing its copyright.

In September last year, SIS objected to the renewal of AlphaBet’s licence. On Monday, Paul Coughlan BL, for SIS Media, was granted permission to have proceedings dealt with by the Irish High Court’s fast-track commercial division.

AlphaBet is owned by father and daughter John and Laura Celine Patton and has betting shops in Borris, Co Carlow, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, Main Street, Donegal town and Kilkee, Co Clare.

SIS said in a statement: “Bookmakers who engage in signal theft deprive the sports they broadcast of media rights income. It is both illegal and damaging to those sports and our reputation as an industry.

“SIS is thoroughly committed to protecting the future viability of horse racing and will not hesitate to take action to protect its customers and content rights partners when and where necessary.”

However, the Pattons, who are representing themselves in court, say they don’t have the money to pay lawyers or pay any damages or legal costs. They claim that SIS had refused to engage with Laura, who is now the licence holder for AlphaBet.

John Patton said SIS had “refused to engage with my daughter and are effectively shutting us out of business”. He also said that AlphaBet had offered to stop showing SIS One and Two but that SIS had then submitted “a whole fishing list” of additional demands.

Meanwhile, Irish media reported over the weekend that the country’s largest independent betting company, BoyleSports, is believed to be exploring a potential sale that would see a big change in the Irish gambling market, as well as effects in the UK where the company has built up a retail presence

BoyleSports, which is headquartered in Dundalk, County Louth, has 340 betting shops in Ireland and the UK and employs about 2,500 people. As well as making a rapid expansion in its retail presence, it’s also been expanding online, extending its offering to Europe, Africa and Canada.

Anne Marie Caulfield to lead Irish Gambling Regulatory Authority

In September, Anne Marie Caulfield was named as the chief executive officer designate for the Irish Gambling Regulatory Authority. She has been appointed by the minister of state for law reform, James Browne TD.

The Department of Justice has formed a Programme Board to oversee the legislative process, with legislation to create the Gambling Regulatory Authority to be published in the autumn. It said that the early appointment of a chief executive was “aimed at minimising the time between the enactment of the legislation and the date on which the regulator commences operations”.

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