In a landmark move, seven players filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Federal District Court against the World Poker Tour Enterprises. The players allege that the World Poker Tour as well as its partner casinos have been conspiring unlawfully in order to get rid of competition. They also claim that they are violating the intellectual property rights of the players.According to the lead attorney in the case, Jeffrey Kessler, the case is the anti-trust equivalent of identity theft.
The seven plaintiffs in the landmark case are Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Howard Lederer, current WSOP Champ Joe Hachem, 2004 Champ Greg Raymer, Phil Gordon, and Annie Duke. The seven players recently held a press conference to announce that they are filing the lawsuit as well as show that they are united in the goal of “leveling the playing field for all players” when it comes to player rights at the World Poker Tour events.
According to the plaintiffs, what is stopping them from playing the World Poker tour events is the release all players must sign in order to play in the said events. The players say the release violates other endorsement agreements that are in place, and that the language of the WPT release, which all of the players must sign, in effect violates their right to their own image and likeness. The players feel that these are aspects where they should have control.
The lawsuit seeks to get injunctive relief to change the language of the WPT release in order for the players’ rights to not be violated when they sign the agreement.