Sportsbet is taking a former partner to court alleging trademark infringement, as well as deceptive and misleading behaviour under consumer law. Australia’s largest betting operator claims that ArcNames, and the ‘sportsbet.com’ website it operates, is now directing traffic to Australian competitors, such as Bet365 and PlayUp.
Sportsbet Obtained a Freezing Order against Sportsbet.com URL Owner
Sportsbet and ArcNames got affiliated in April 2008, with the latter agreeing to direct traffic from ‘sportsbet.com,’ the URL it owned, to Sportsbet, the Flutter-owned Australian bookmaker, trading as ‘sportsbet.com.au.’
However, that deal ended in 2018, and ArcNames decided to change bookmaker allegiance despite continuing to use the same domain name. That resulted in a bizarre situation in which a website called ‘sportsbet.com’ directed traffic not to Sportsbet, but to a direct competitor, Bet365.
Things got so bad that Sportsbet had to ask the Supreme Court to issue a freezing order against ArcNames, banning the company from sending visitors to Bet365.
In May this year, Sportsbet got the freezing order. ArcNames tried but failed to get the orders removed. However, the story didn’t end there.
Registered in the Republic of Seychelles
According to the infamous Panama Papers database, it turned out that ArcNames is a company registered in the Republic of Seychelles, located off the coast of East Africa. Interestingly, Supreme Court documents said that the company had a registered address in St John’s Antigua and Barbuda, in the West Indies.
The ‘sportsbet.com’ URL, on the other hand, is registered with Jewella Privacy LLC, a company that makes it possible for domain name holders to stay private. So, it is to be expected that it will be quite complicated for Australian authorities to enforce those freezing orders against ArcNames.
Bet365 Says It Stopped Working with the Website in 2021
According to court documents, Bet365 informed its Australian rival that it terminated its collaboration with the website when Sportsbet first complained in July 2021.
However, despite Bet365 saying it stopped being affiliated with sportsbet.com, the website continued to direct traffic to Bet365, and another Australian bookie, PlayUp.
For now, all signs point to a long legal fight for Sportsbet which might not produce the results the bookmaker wants. After all, Australian authorities can only do so much when it comes to companies located in the West Indies and the Republic of Seychelles.