18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail

The mission and purpose of the new restricted .bet gTLD is to benefit internet users by ensuring increased trust and confidence through the elimination of user confusion and assurance of brand authenticity.

The new .bet gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Ladbrokes International plc (ʺApplicantʺ) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand’s identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .bet will be used by Ladbrokes plc (Ladbrokes), being the ultimate holding company of the Applicant, its group companies, its affiliates and partners to provide authoritative information, services and resources to consumers regarding the group’s betting and online gaming products in a way that promotes trust, confidence and simplicity. Second and third level domains can then be utilised for specific betting and gaming products and services, as well as communication and marketing purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.

Ladbrokes is a leading international betting and gaming company. Ladbrokes, officially founded in 1902, is the market leader in retail bookmaking in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Spain with over 2,700 betting shops. Ladbrokes, listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1967, has a current market capitalisation of approximately GBP 1.4 billion, 2011 group revenue of GBP 980 million and 16,000 employees worldwide. In addition to its extensive retail presence, Ladbrokes offers thousands of innovative betting markets on a daily basis through the internet, mobile and telephone betting. The group’s principal online betting and gaming service, ladbrokes.com, has nearly 800,000 active customers. Ladbrokes offers a wide range of betting and gaming products to customers internationally via 13 tailored websites in nine different languages, supporting 17 different currencies. The site incorporates the highest levels of security, which underpin an integrated array of sports betting and gaming services available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. In this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all Ladbrokes’ group’s activities. The new .bet gTLD will offer customers a secure, authentic and unparalleled betting and gaming experience online, strengthen Ladbrokes’ online presence and reputation and help to realise its vision of becoming a fully e-enabled international betting and gaming business.

Since the inception of the current domain name system, business activities conducted on the internet are constantly changing and evolving with increased complexity. The volume of commercial transactions over the internet is constantly growing and bringing benefits of simplicity and lowered transaction costs to businesses and consumers. The.bet gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with Ladbrokes online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.

The Applicant’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. The Applicant is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
-consumer trust: the .bet gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to Ladbrokes and its group entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .bet domain names are trustworthy. As .bet domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under the Applicant’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .bet domain space;
-competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest through its operation focused on promoting consumer trust. Increased trust in the .bet gTLD will drive existing and new top level domain (TLD) registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs; and
-consumer choice: the proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting the Applicant’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with Ladbrokes. As the Applicant has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .bet domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.

Given the restricted nature of the .bet gTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that about 100 domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 200 domain names as Ladbrokes implements new betting products and services and marketing campaigns.

As the new .bet gTLD expands and evolves, the Applicant will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. The Applicant will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .bet gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.

The Applicant intends to create relevant domain names including betting and gaming products, services or geographic names at the second or third level domain names. In accordance with registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, the Applicant will use geographic names to localise its websites in countries in which it operates. The use of geographic names is intended to:
-connect internet users with relevant information as applicable to the territory; and
-comply with required rules and regulations in the national territory.

The Applicant will also utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level, initially including Latin Script, Chinese and Russian. The use of IDNs will allow internet users to engage with .bet in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity. As the use of the .bet gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that the use of IDNs, including additional languages, will increase within the .bet domain space.

Ladbrokes is a well-recognised international brand with its trademarks (held by affiliate, Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited) containing the term “Bet”, including “Safety Net Bet” and “Ladbrokes Bet Direct”, registered in the European Community and Ireland respectively for categories including: Entertainment including internet betting, gaming and gambling services (Class 41).
Ladbrokes has an existing domain name with an exact match to the applied-for .bet string in the bet.co.uk space. Further, Ladbrokes has over 150 existing domain names containing the term “bet”, including in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: bet24-7.net, bet-gameon.com, betcast.net, betshow.net and bettoday.net
- ccTLDS: bet24-7.co.uk, bet-gameon.co.uk, bet-gameon.ie, bet-gameon.tv, bet-gameon.co.za, betcast.co.uk, bettoday.co.uk and bet-tv.co.uk

The Applicant believes that the .bet gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. Ladbrokes trademarks are a leading international brand with significant reputation in countries around the world. Ladbrokes has used the term Bet in conjunction with its betting and gaming businesses for almost 110 years. As such, the Ladbrokes brand is synonymous with online betting.

Similar gTLD applications: (1)

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