World Poker Tour Enterprises, Inc. (WPTE) filed its answer Thursday in the United States District Court, Central District, in response to a case filed on July 19, 2006, by seven top pros who accused the WPTE of price fixing and group boycotting.
The seven pros named in the suit are Joseph Hachem, Howard Lederer and Greg Raymer. They're arguing that before they could enter WPT poker tournaments, the WPTE required them to waive rights to use their images and names to promote products and video games. They also allege that WPTE colluded with member casinos to prevent players from entering their tournaments unless they forfeited their rights.
WPTE said in its answer: "WPTE denies that it has violated the antitrust laws or engaged in any unlawful conduct whatsoever. As will be shown in the course of this litigation, Plaintiffs' Complaint misstates the facts regarding WPTE and its relationships with the casinos that host World Poker Tour events and mischaracterizes the state of the poker industry."
WPTE has hired Makan Delrahim of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt and Farber to work in conjunction with the firm of Gibson Dunn and Crutcher in responding to this action. Mr. Delrahim previously served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the United States Department of Justice and is currently a commissioner on the U.S. Antitrust Modernization Commission.
"We believe that our answer illustrates why we believe the allegations in the suit are misleading and without merit," said WPTE's general counsel, Adam Pliska. "While we are disappointed that this action was ever filed, our company is pleased to be represented by such a distinguished legal team and deeply appreciates the support we have received throughout the poker community."
A complete copy of the WPT answer can be found at www.media.worldpokertour.com. Please see Poker Pros To Sue WPTE and WPTE Responds To Poker Pros' Complaint for further details.