ccording to the Times, GVC is being sued by sports and entertainment consultancy 37 Entertainment over a 50-50 joint venture to launch two websites aimed at Canadian punters.
In its petition for a "declaratory judgment" from the London Court of International Arbitration, Montreal-based 37E alleges the companies agreed to work together on the launch of two Sportingbet websites, one for Quebec and one for the rest of Canada.
Under the agreement, GVC, which is currently fighting 888 Holdings for control of Bwin, would have provided all gambling products and services, while its Canadian partner would provide the marketing services. Revenues and data ownership would be split 50-50.
37E claims that although the final contract was not formally signed, GVC had agreed to "all essential terms" and provided an "overwhelming number of written and verbal commitments" that it would sign.
The Times said that according to the lawsuit, the signing was regarded as "a mere formality" and 37E started managing the Canadian website set up for the joint venture and received all trading reports, financial statements and internal information relating to Sportingbet's operations in Canada.
37E said that in February, GVC kept delaying the signing of the contract. By May, despite the "umpteenth confirmation" from GVC that everything had been finalised, "new excuses were coming fast and furious".
The Canadian company said although it was not given a reason by GVC for the refusal to sign, it was probably related to its entry into the bidding battle for Bwin.party.
In a statement on Monday night, 37E said it believed that, as a result of the claim, GVC could face "potential shareholder and customer lawsuits, along with regulatory and licensing queries".
A spokesman for GVC said: "This is a claim without merit. No formal agreement was reached with the company. GVC is continuously exploring new relationships... and not all opportunities reach maturity." At 0840 BST, GVC shares were down 1% at 426.50p.