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UMass looks to shut down poker info site
According to an Associated Press report, school officials at the University of Massachusetts are demanding that a Web site using the university's name and logo to promote campus gambling and linking to online poker sites be taken down.
The site is UMasspoker.com, and it is thought to be run by students and recent graduates of the university. It promotes itself as an information exchange site about poker strategy as well as cash games and tournaments on and off campus.
However, the site also uses the trademarked UMass-Amherst lettering and the Minuteman athletic logo. Perhaps the graphic of the Minuteman peering over stacks of cash, dice, cards and poker chips was taking use of the school's mascot a little too far.
According to the Associated Press, school officials are planning to send a cease-and-desist demand to the Web site's operators.
Ed Blaguszewski, the school spokesman, told the Associated Press that the school will take the matter to court if the site doesn't comply.
"The UMass name and logo are university property, and they cannot be used without the university's permission," he says in the article. "This Web site is not an appropriate use."
Currently the Web site is offline, but the forums for the site are still up and running. There, forum members have been discussing the predicament and the options they could consider.
As one forum poster pointed out, the university only has a problem with this site using the trademarked UMass logo and name.
"There's nothing indicating that the University is trying to shut down games on campus or anything like that, at least not yet. Renaming the site to amherstpoker.com or something like that would take care of this."
Brett Burdick, a UMass-Amherst graduate, has been the site's moderator for the past year, and he told the Associated Press that the site, which has been up for a few years now, has never got any grief over the use of the UMass name before.
Poker, Texas Hold'em in particular, has been growing in popularity for years now including among college students who often can earn a few extra bucks for spending money playing online.
That rise in popularity also prompted the Massachusetts attorney general's office to issue an advisory two years ago clarifying the legality of the game in the state.
It said it is illegal to promote, operate or play in a poker tourney if players pay an extra fee or place bets, and if cash or prizes are awarded to winning players.
Some of the live tournaments listed on the UMass poker site could, technically, be illegal under the state law.
Even so, Blaguszewski told the AP that UMass isn't looking to prosecute people; it just wants the site taken down.