Straight Talk

The spat between TellyTrack and the Bookies becomes livelier

The Independent Newspaper group (what’s in a name?) published a poorly researched article in the business section of several of its titles on Monday 21 July, relating to the ongoing differences between TellyTrack and the bookmakers.

TellyTrack responded with a press release on Thursday, followed by a response from Hollywoodbets on Monday.

The latter two are published below.

Things certainly are hotting up!

Tellytrack Sets The Record Straight

On 21st July an article by Wiseman Khuzwayo entitled ‘Hollywoodbets to defend R350m Tellytrack lawsuit’ appeared in a number of online and traditional media publications. The article contained a number of factual inaccuracies which requires both correction and clarification, according to Tellytrack CEO, John Stuart.

The facts are:

  1. The Tellytrack court case against Hollywood is in respect of the flagrant beach of the Tellytrack copyrighted local service by Hollywood and does not, as stated in the article, ”arise out of the desire by Phumelela to ‘level the playing fields’ with bookmakers”.
  2. Tellytrack ascertained that its local service (as broadcast on Multichoice’s DSTV channel 239) was being displayed at the betting outlets of the Hollywood Group.
  3. The agreement between Tellytrack’s partners and MultiChoice permits the display of the Tellytrack local service only in private homes, hotels, hospitals and prisons and NOT in betting outlets. In turn, the subscription agreement between MultiChoice and its subscribers does not permit the display of the Tellytrack channel 239 in betting outlets.
  4. Tellytrack has instituted civil proceedings for breach of its copyright and is claiming unpaid license fees PLUS punitive damages to the amount of R 315 million (not R 350 million as quoted in the article).
  5. Whilst 156 bookmaker betting outlets have been licensed and are legally displaying the Tellytrack local service, the service is being displayed in a number of other bookmakers’ betting outlets without being licensed to do so. Further civil proceedings have been or are in the process of being instituted against all bookmakers who have been or are found doing so.
  6. In addition to the civil proceedings, Tellytrack has lodged and will lodge criminal complaints with the S.A. Police against the contravening bookmakers.

Hollywood Sets The Record Straight

On 24th of July Tellytrack put out a press release “Tellytrack puts the record straight”. The content of this press release does not reflect the real issue underlying the dispute between bookmakers, including Hollywoodbets, and Tellytrack, an entity controlled by Phumelela Gaming and Leisure (Phumelela). The real issue that forms the basis of the dispute between the parties is the disregard, by Phumelela, of the licensing condition in terms whereof they operate horseracing in Gauteng.

The Gauteng Gambling Board (GGB), in their licensing condition, has determined that bookmakers must be given access to horse racing telecast and commentary on a cost recovery basis and that any payment set by Phumelela for this service must be sanctioned by the Board. The Eastern Cape Gambling Board has imposed a similar condition.

This payment has never before been an issue between the parties and Hollywoodbets has over many years diligently made such payments and has no intention to cease making these payments. Phumelela on the other hand, in flagrant disregard of the licensing condition, has attempted to unilaterally impose on all bookmakers payments which are three or more times the last amount properly determined and sanctioned by the GGB. The payment required is unrelated to their costs in providing this service and is not sanctioned by the GGB. This is the real basis of the dispute between the parties.

Hollywoodbets and many other bookmakers have laid a complaint with the GGB in regard to the contravention of the aforesaid licensing condition and are currently awaiting a decision in this matter. If disciplinary steps are taken against Phumelela and they are found to have contravened their licensing condition, they may be fined R10 million and have their licence revoked in terms of s 37 of the Gauteng Gambling Act.

This matter is also currently pending before the Competition Commission where complaints of an abuse of their dominant position against Phumelela, laid by the bookmakers, are currently under investigation. If Phumelela is found to have abused their dominant position, it may be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover.

In addition, the claims by Tellytrack that it enjoys copyright in relation to certain material broadcast on DStv channel 239 operated by MultiChoice, are presently the subject of an action instituted in the High Court by Tellytrack. Tellytrack, in their press statement, is also quite disingenuous in relation to the detail it provides regarding this High Court action. In the first place, it fails to inform that their claims in this matter are based on the vastly increased and unsanctioned payment demands. In the second place, it is incorrect for Tellytrack to state that they have instituted damages claims in the amount of R315 million. Two days prior to the current press release Tellytrack amended their claim for R315 million by deleting any reference to the R315 million or indeed any other amount. This amendment was resorted to when Tellytrack was required to provide particulars as to how the amount of R315 million was arrived at. Instead of providing the requisite particulars Tellytrack elected to remove any reference to the amount of the damages claimed. It is clear that the amount claimed bears no resemblance to reality and was no more than an attempt to intimidate Hollywoodbets and other bookmakers.

Hollywoodbets will vigorously defend all actions brought by Tellytrack and will pursue all courses of actions against Phumelela until they are resolved. Hollywoodbets wishes, however, to assure all concerned, in particular the betting public, that it will make every effort to bring the aforesaid dispute to a fair and speedy resolution

6 comments on “Straight Talk

  1. It must be remembered that Tellytrack was founded when IGN collapsed.Basil Thomas who consults to Hollywood will remember when the new company called Tellytrack was formed.The meeting was held between the Bookmakers and Phumelela to jointly put on a show for the benefit of racing.In terms of the old agreement between the provinces and the racecourse operators the cost of getting the commentary to the various bookmaker outlets was paid for by the operator.The operator then received a share of the tax generated to the province which is currently set at 3%.When the commentary lines were done away with due to continual cable theft etc and ithe massive increase in the cost of analog telephone lines etc,the picture was then substituted.This cost of Tellytrack was divided by roughly 200 bookmakers,400 TAB outlets and the first subscription agreed at R2500.00 per outlet.There was an agreement that Tellytrack would be funded by the outlets on a cost only basis for the benefit of racing to try and grow the customer base.The only increases that were accepted were CPI plus an adjustment every year on the rand/dollar exchange rate which went on without any problems.Only once i believe Tellytrack asked for a larger increase which was approved as the cost was of benefit to the whole industry.Once Attenborough left for greener pastures and du Plessis was installed then the knives came out and at the end of the day it became a Shareholder fight to grow Phumelela.When you are told in a meeting attended by 6/7 of the senior bookmakers how to resolve the issue of funding and his lordship states” if i get what I want, Phumelela shares will hit R100.00 very shortly and i suggest you sell all your licences and buy shares as you will be able to retire on the proceeds”Then everyone should have woken up to fact that the money was not for racing but for shareholders,such as Kantor,Jooste,van Niekerk and du Plessis himself sitting on massive share options.M Rishworth who wrote letters confirming that Tellytrack was a cost only product,was shunted away and has since left Tellytrack and Phumelela.Get him on the stand under oath and lets hear his story.As a point of interest overseas bookmakers pay about 1000 pounds a month for the picture they get which includes 70 pounds for the South African feed.Phumelela want over 30,000 rand per month per shop here.How can you compare the cost there at say R18000 and why should the local pay 30,000 for the same thing and Phumelela get 3% of the taxes generated which amounted to R105 million last year between Phumelela and Gold Circle.Guys if that happens sell everything you own and get the shares quick.If it doesn’t don’t rush in you might get burnt.

  2. WATCH what publications you read …..

    .. Quote .. ‘As reported’

    The Sunday Times reported that Madonsela’s provisional report found there was collusive tendering and/or bid rigging by the Sekunjalo consortium.

    Independent Newspapers, which owns The Star and IOL, was recently bought by Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media.

    Publications include
    Cape argus
    Cape times
    Mercury
    Sunday independent
    Independent on Sunday ….

    And more ….
    Cape Times editor fired after Joemat-Pettersson report…
    Front page of Madonsela findings
    However, her removal from office coincides with the newspaper publishing a front-page article on public protector Thuli Madonsela’s finding that Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was guilty of maladministration, as well as improper and unethical conduct in the irregular awarding of an R800-million tender to a Sekunjalo subsidiary to manage the state’s fishery vessels.

    You are what you read…

  3. Remind me what Tellytrack is – oh now I remember – it’s that horse-racing channel that I used to watch extensively whilst the content was so entertaining. It’s been so long now since I last tuned in I can’t even remember the Channel number. Come to think of it, since I stopped watching the rubbish that we is now dished up on the channel, I haven’t even had a single bet on the horses. Makes you think doesn’t it?

  4. John Carroll:
    The time has come the walrus said;
    After 40 years of enjoyable punting this childish vendetta between Phumelea and the bookmakers has been good enough reason for me to finally turn it up; Both groups are a bunch of schmucks pushing their own selfish agendas;
    What these moegoes don’t realize is that they are killing the goose which lays the golden egg: i.e.by continuing with their ongoing saga they are chasing the genuine punter away and he has been the source over the years that has provided their fat income.
    The studious punter is getting a raw deal and the bookmakers and Phumelela don’t give a stitch;
    Mugs money is attracted by the Moodley- Gardner combination of lotto styled lucky dip bets like the quickmix jackpot including as 1 of the 4 legs an 18 horse French race with no betting or form available as well as a pick 6 without couplings;these 2 assholes think carry overs are signs of a good betting format but the contrary applies-the studious punter works on percentages and will ignore bets which have a low strike rate percentage;
    It appears that bookmakers can also live without the serious punter as they are lining their bucket shop pockets with very large sums of suckers money derived from the exploding football betting scene;where the betting options are a win,loss or draw and no rocket science ability is needed here to make selections with the odds obviously favouring the bookies.
    Prospective football punters are advised not to listen to the tips of the gap toothed geriatric geezer on the Telly Track morning shows as he is a Paine in the Ass and is probably sponsored by the bookies to stick the punters away.
    Why our T.V. has to be saddled with these useless ex-pat Poms and Aussies probably only Neil Andrews will know – to his credit, besides being a soutie, Neil is an outstanding presenter;
    Little known is that in his day Neil was a tough tackling centre back and represented W.P.Schools at soccer when he was a scholar at Settlers High in Bellville – so he does know a bit about the game of football!
    Time to move on from the sport of kings which was not designed for the faint hearted.

  5. So glad to hear that Neil was a footballer and played the position of centre back, just a pity I never had the opportunity to play against him as I was a prolific centre forward that took many centre backs and goal keepers to the cleaners. Gary Baily, Big Ben Anderson, Mark Byrne and Andre Arendse to name a few. Neil I take back what I said a few weeks ago about you knowing nothing about the game of football. Great presenter may I also add.

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