Players Sue to Enjoin WPTE’s Illegal Business Practices and Seek Damage for WPTE’s Wrongful Conduct
LAS VEGAS, July 19 LAWFUEL – Press Release Network — Today, seven of the world’s top
poker players filed an antitrust Complaint against WPT Enterprises, Inc.
(“WPTE”) in federal district court in Los Angeles. By this lawsuit,
Plaintiffs Chris Ferguson, Andrew Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joseph
Hachem, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer seek to enjoin – and seek treble
and punitive damages for – WPTE’s continuing violations of federal and
state antitrust laws.
WPTE operates the World Poker Tour (“WPT”), a series of televised, high stakes poker tournaments that are run by various casinos located throughout the United States and in parts of Canada and Europe.
The Complaint alleges that WPTE and the casinos have unlawfully
conspired to eliminate competition for the services and intellectual
property rights of top, high stakes professional poker players. In
particular, the Complaint alleges that the casinos have agreed with WPTE
that they will not host any non-WPT televised poker tournaments. The
Complaint also alleges that WPTE and the casinos have conspired to fix the price and other terms and conditions under which Plaintiffs and other
professional poker players are forced to give up their valuable services
and intellectual property rights in order to participate in WPT
Plaintiff Chris Ferguson stated as follows: “WPTE has stacked the deck against all poker players who wish to compete in its tournaments. They are using our names and images to sell their products without our prior consent and without any compensation. We cannot let these wrongful actions stand.
We will prosecute this lawsuit for as long as it takes to change WPTE’s
Plaintiff Annie Duke stated that: “We are bringing this action to
change the way WPTE treats players. Our goal is not just to win for
ourselves, but to set a precedent so that all players can be dealt a fair
Plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Dewey Ballantine LLP,
whose lead counsel, Jeffrey Kessler, has successfully represented NFL, NBA, and other players in similar antitrust suits. Mr. Kessler stated the
following: “It is now well established that the antitrust laws protect
professional athletes and other players when agreements are entered into
that restrain competition for their services. This is as true for the
business of professional poker tournaments as it is for professional
football, basketball, and other sports. Professional poker players are
entitled to a free market for their services, which will also benefit
consumers since the result will be more and higher quality poker
Plaintiff Greg Raymer stated that: “Our success in this lawsuit will
benefit all current and future poker players. I am proud to be part of it.”
Plaintiffs are seven of the most widely recognized and successful
professional poker players in the world. Plaintiffs Howard Lederer and Phil Gordon, for example, are two poker superstars who have won three WPT
tournaments between them. Plaintiff Chris Ferguson, perhaps the most widely recognized poker player in the world, and Plaintiffs Joseph Hachem and Greg Raymer, have each won the World Series of Poker (“WSOP”) Main Event.
Plaintiff Annie Duke has also won a WSOP event, and is regarded as the best and most accomplished female professional poker player in the history of poker. Plaintiff Andrew Bloch has two WPT “Final Table” appearances.
About Dewey Ballantine LLP
Dewey Ballantine LLP, founded in 1909, is an international law firm
with more than 550 attorneys and locations in New York, Washington, D.C.,
Los Angeles, East Palo Alto, Houston, Austin, London, Warsaw, Frankfurt,
Milan, Beijing, and Rome. Through its network of offices, the firm handles some of the largest, most complex corporate transactions, litigation and