Ultra Internet Media (UIM), owner of the Everest Poker brand of internet gambling sites, has filed a lawsuit in a Las Vegas federal court against Harrah’s Entertainment, owner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand. UIM holds a $22.5 million sponsorship with WSOP, and they want out.
UIM, which operates out of the island of Nevis in the West Indies, entered into a deal with WSOP in 2008. The group agreed to sponsor the tournament series to the amount of $6.2 million in 2008, $7.9 million in 2009, and $8.4 in 2010. The contract states that the Everest Poker logo should be displayed prominently on the felt of all tables used in the competition, as well as on the inner rung of the WSOP feature table during the finals.
The 2010 tournament kicks off on May 27 at Harrah’s Rio hotel-casino in Las Vegas, and UIM wants to pull out. They are claiming that in previous years, Harrah’s violated the sponsorship agreement when ESPN broadcasts of the event shown in France failed to show the Everest Poker logo on the tables, instead replacing it with competitor Full Tilt Poker. The lawsuit hopes to use this breach to render the contract invalid.
According to the lawsuit, “Every material breach of the agreement represents lost potential future profits, erosion of goodwill and compromise of UIM’s international business reputation.”
The complaint is serious because UIM and its subsidiary Everest Poker claim to generate the majority of their profits by offering online poker in France. When broadcasts of past WSOP events play on France’s RTL9 television channel bearing Full Tilt’s logo, UIM does not get their money’s worth.
UIM was also careful to point out in the lawsuit that they do not generate revenue from players in the US “by way of the Internet or telephone.” Because the lawsuit is being filed against Harrah’s, a US-based company, UIM must be clear that its services are offered in compliance with American gambling laws.