Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Horseracing and gambling have gone hand-in-hand for many years. It is a lucrative market for those who provide odds, information, and bookmakers. Indeed, in 2020, the turnover for off-course horse betting was roughly 4 billion pounds. It is no wonder, therefore, that those who handle and distribute this data guard it jealously, as the case of Racing Partnership Ltd and others v Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 1156 (Ch) perfectly exemplifies.

The factual background of Racing Partnership Ltd and others v Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd & ors

The Racing Partnership, the first Claimants (‘C1’), produced live betting and horseracing data collated at racecourses owned by the second Claimants (‘C2’), Arena Leisure Limited. The data comprised two elements. The first was betting prices, calculated by an algorithm fed by fixed odds being offered by on-course bookmakers. This information is, of course, vital for off-course bookmakers. These prices are produced 8-10 minutes before the start of each race. The second type of data was raceday data: information specific to the racecourse on the day of the race (weather, jockeys, stewards’ inquiries, results, etc.)

The claim

One of the Defendants, SIS also supplied information to off-course bookmakers, and had an agreement with the Tote (another of the Defendants), under which the Tote delivered raceday data to SIS. C1 and C2 brought proceedings in the High Court against the defendants for infringements of their rights in respect of horseracing data and conspiracy to injure by unlawful means. According to the claimants, SIS had conspired with LC, Betfred and the Tote to injure C1 by unlawful means

The unlawful means were:

  • Copyright infringement;
  • Breach of C1’s database right;
  • Breach of contract; and
  • Breach of confidence.

The claimants also brought a direct claim for breach of confidence by the Tote (and by SIS) arising out of the Tote’s collection and distribution to SIS of the raceday data.

Copyright infringement

In order for a claim of copyright infringement to succeed, there must first be established a copyright. For this to exist, there must be work of sufficient skill, labour, or judgment as to justify it. In this case, Mr Justice Zacaroli arrived at the conclusion that, although copyright might exist in the list of names of on-course bookmakers selected for the algorithm, the actual process of arriving at betting prices was “pure routine work”, incapable of being of sufficient skill, labour, or judgment for a copyright to subsist.

Sui generis database rights

A database right subsists in a database “if there has been a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the database”. SIS accepted that C1 was the owner of a database right, but denied infringing it. However, Zacaroli J agreed with SIS in this case that they merely consulted the database, and didn’t extract or re-utilise the data contained therein. “Extraction” means the “permanent or temporary transfer of [the] contents [of the database] to another medium”, and “Re-utilisation” means “making those contents available to the public by any means”, and as SIS had done neither, the claim for database right infringement failed.

Breach of contract

This claim related to C2 and the Tote. C2 contended that it allowed the Tote on-course solely for the purposes of collecting and distributing data for pool betting, and not for any other purposes. The breach of contract claim was based on two allegations:

  1. That the Tote collected data which was not required for pool betting; and
  2. That it distributed the data it was permitted to collect to SIS for non-pool betting purposes.

However, the Tote’s presence on racecourses was originally pursuant to a statutory right and there was no evidence of any agreement which regulated its activities in respect of pool betting on C2’s racecourses. The Tote was therefore not contractually bound to comply with C2’s terms and conditions of entry to its racecourses, which prohibited media attendees from exploiting data coverage of races on their own behalf. Accordingly, there was no contractual restriction on the Tote feeding raceday data to SIS.

Breach of confidence

The test for breach of confidence is a three-part test:

  1. The information must have the necessary quality of confidence;
  2. The information must have been imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence; and
  3. There must be an unauthorised use by the confidant to the detriment of the rights holder.

Zacaroli J came to the conclusion that, due to the significant commercial value of the information, even though it was only for a short period of time, there was commercial confidentiality. He also concluded that a reasonable person in the Tote’s position, appreciating that the information was acquired by it for the purposes of pool betting only, would also have appreciated that it was acquired in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence, so the second limb was met. However, he also concluded that SIS neither actually knew that, nor turned a blind eye to whether, the Tote was unable lawfully to provide Raceday Data.

In terms of the unauthorised use, Zacaroli J held that the data provided by the Tote to SIS did extend beyond that which it collected for pool betting purposes.


Having established the breach of confidence, the crucial element to the conspiracy claim overall became liability under the tort of unlawful means conspiracy, where the unlawful means consisted of breach of confidence, depended upon knowledge (or blind-eye knowledge) that the claimant’s rights of confidence were infringed. As mentioned above, Although a reasonable person in SIS’s position would have appreciated that the Tote acquired the information in circumstances of confidence that precluded its use for fixed-odds betting, it neither actually knew that, nor turned a blind eye to whether, the Tote was unable lawfully to provide it with raceday data. Therefore, it did not have the requisite knowledge of unlawfulness consisting of breach of confidence for the purposes of the claim in conspiracy.

As such, overall, the claim failed.

Link to judgment: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2019/1156.html#para49

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry


    4.80 Average

    320 Reviews


    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 1 hour ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 3 days ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 5 days ago


    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago


    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 month ago


    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 1 month ago


    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 month ago


    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 1 month ago


    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 months ago


    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago