Everest Poker Fires Second Bullet with New Harrah’s Lawsuit

Current WSOP felt dispute cause of streaming final table delay?

by , Jun 13, 2010 | 10:48 am

Former and/or current WSOP table sponsor Everest Poker has filed another lawsuit against Harrah’s … claiming the American gaming giant is infringing on trademark rights by playing the 2010 WSOP (and filming some of it) with Everest logos on and around all the tables.

This suit, filed in Las Vegas federal court, is the latest strike in a legal tit-for-tat between that adds to a list of matters on the table and off making 2010 arguably the most challenging WSOP year since Harrah’s took over.

Everest first sued Harrah’s on April 1, claiming breach of contract after the French ESPN affiliate electronically replaced Everest logos during 2008-09 WSOP broadcasts with “virtual signage” from Full Tilt, an Everest competitor. On those grounds, Everest refused to pay the final $8.4 million on a three-year contract, money the WSOP was expecting before this spring. That suit came, of course, shortly after the WSOP announced its $1 million “TOC” freeroll.

Buffering: So far the only live-streaming WSOP action has been from the WSOP-Academy sponsor’s exemption TOC sit-n-go, which took place on a single table with their own felt, not one bearing the marks of Everest Poker.

Harrah’s denied those claims, and followed with a suit of its own against Everest, alleging breach of contract and other infractions while seeking the promised Everest funds. And now, as mentioned, Everest has added further litigation to the Everest vs. Harrah’s docket, all of which is pending.

* * *

I haven’t had time to check much of this more than cursorily — and Harrah’s generally won’t comment on active litigation — but I’ve got to wonder if this lawsuit, which presumably came with the prerequisite cease-and-desists, had anything to do with why there has been virtually no streaming video coverage of final tables this year.

I’ve also got to wonder how long before Everest is back in Las Vegas court seeking an injunction to prevent their logos from appearing in further WSOP action … particularly televised and streaming-video final tables.

[pvt to @kevmath: i don’t know this, but just guessing this might-coulda had something to do with those felts being cut out by police.]

What I’m referring to is something yours truly got tipped off to as happening, but didn’t see it, nor any remnants of it. But @happyfreaked was tweeting:

Three policeman are using scissors to cut something under all the table in the Amazon Room. #wtfisthisshit #nocluewhatsgoingon
12:35 PM Jun 3rd via TweetDeck

The policeman are replaced by maintenance man. Looks like there are loose threads under the table. LOL!
12:47 PM Jun 3rd via TweetDeck

Maybe the felt on the tables has to be replaced because of some sponsor issues? Looks like they are cutting loose the rail. #wsop9
12:50 PM Jun 3rd via TweetDeck

At the time when Everest filed the first lawsuit, commenters were saying no biggie, Full Tilt or Stars would happily step up to take their spot … No way, I first thought, but with Stars.net surprisingly on Venetian felts during and after the NAPT, I did begin to reconsider the possibility. However, we would soon learn there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Carson City of that ever happening …

Now not surprisingly, you’ll notice there is not a logo from Full Tilt, PokerStars, Doyles Room or any online site anywhere on or near the Rio this year — not even set up on any signs in the hallway — except for what individual players wear.

On the WSOP Media Conference call in early May, officials confirmed they were NOT looking for a new on-the-table sponsor, saying that they were still under contract with Everest and planned to honor it despite the lawsuit.

The cynical among us believed, wow, that’s a lot of tables … it’s probably pretty expensive to get some 400 new ones … especially when you’ve got no one to pay for it for just a year or maybe two … you know, depending on how things in Washington DC go.

Interestingly, ESPN has finally announced plans to live-stream five final tables, but not beginning until June 26.

Earlier this past week, Everest was one of 17 companies approved for online gambling licenses in France.

3 Comments to “Everest Poker Fires Second Bullet with New Harrah’s Lawsuit”

  1. MattWaldron

    …the remaining 8.4 million…

    They can afford new felt. I feel no sorrow for them on having to replace felt.

  2. Luke Thomas

    I might be a little slow on the uptake here but correct me if I am wrong but Everest doesn’t want their logo’s shown because they feel they shouldn’t have to pay $8 milli to Harrah’s because of some euro t.v. stations electronically putting full tilt ads over the Everest ads…..right???

  3. DanM

    That’s pretty much the case. But you have to realize with any legal pissing match, as is going on here, there’re always more issues in play. You may be making the basic defense for Harrah’s … and they could well win, but it really doesn’t mean legally that they can just put up someone else’s brand.

    Do you think Coca-Cola would be happy if the WSOP put their logo all over their tables? Would be good for poker, probably, and actually might help them sell some other sponsorships, but I’m pretty sure their legal department would advise them they do not have the right to use Coca-Cola’s protected imagework that way.

    In fact, the WSOP itself has protected their own logo that way, even though it may or may not be good for them to have any ole content ganker out there putting it up on a website.

    In fact, if I’m Everest’s attorneys, that’s how I make my case to a judge or jury … I subpoena cease-and-desist letters sent out BY harrah’s wanting to protect their own logo … then I ask them, “why should this apply to you, not Everest?”