An Open Letter to the U.S. Congress and the Gaming Industry: 'The Hypocrisy of Antigua Regarding Internet Gambling'



    LAS VEGAS, June 8 /CNW/ -- Antigua has threatened to act against U.S.
trademarks, copyrights and intellectual property rights, in response to the
U.S. position in the World Trade Organization dispute regarding internet
gambling. The WTO decision, however, does not reveal the extent of the issues
relevant to cross border wagering.
    Around $100 million has been won from U.S. players through abuse of U.S.
intellectual property rights by most Antigua internet casinos. For example,
the most popular proprietary casino table game is Three Card Poker. The right
to offer Three Card Poker to U.S. players has never been granted to any
Antigua internet casino. Yet most Antigua internet casinos offer Three Card
Poker to U.S. players, and in the process, knowingly infringe U.S. patents
related to Three Card Poker. Ironically, Antigua seeks relief from the WTO,
while contrary to WTO principles Antigua fails to rectify infringement of
patents and other intellectual property rights.
    An independent internet gambler survey conducted in the U.K. in April
2006 revealed the following --

    
    Question  Should internet casinos get permission from the inventors of
              games before using their games?
    Answer    Yes         83%
              No           6%
              Don't Know  11%
    This response is so clear that no comment is needed.
    

    Antigua is proposing to act against U.S. intellectual property rights as
retaliation against the U.S., whilst ignoring that most Antigua internet
casinos already abuse U.S. intellectual property rights to deceptively and
unethically generate revenue from U.S. players.
    As a priority Antigua should compel the internet casinos that have
obtained funds through abuse of U.S. intellectual property rights to disgorge
and repatriate those funds. If a method of funds disbursement to players is
impractical, then funds should be transferred to a U.S. government agency for
the dedicated purpose of addressing problem gambling.
    No WTO action in respect of compensation by the U.S. should be considered
until after this transfer of funds from Antigua to the U.S. has taken place.
While hypocrisy exists in the U.S. position, Antigua is at least equally
inconsistent.
    Any change in U.S. policy towards internet gambling, through either of
the pending Frank or Wexler proposals, should incorporate a solid defense of
U.S. intellectual property rights and protection of players from abuse of
those rights. No entity, whether internet site owner, gaming software
provider, an associated revenue-sharing affiliate or the enabling regulatory
body, should be allowed to profit from legal U.S. internet gambling without
first disgorging and repatriating misappropriated funds.
    Prime Table Games creates and provides casino game content based on a
portfolio of over 30 granted U.S. patents. The first game we created was Three
Card Poker. In a recent U.S. Federal Civil Anti-Trust case against PGIC we won
our first litigation as Plaintiffs. The damage award of $39 million is the
highest award ever in a gambling intellectual property dispute. We are also
claiming legal costs of nearly $5 million that will be adjudicated on at a
future post-trial hearing.

    
    Derek Webb
    Prime Table Games
    derek@primetablegames.net

    




For further information:

For further information: Derek Webb of Prime Table Games, 
derek@primetablegames.net

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