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Anne Lindner
 

Poker.com Loses Its Greatest Asset

10 December 2002

Poker.com Inc. is going through what has to be the ultimate nightmare for an online business: Overnight, without its control, it lost use of its domain name.

The Vancouver-based company signed an agreement with AlaCorp Inc. in 1999 to own the rights to the domain name "poker.com" until 2098. Poker.com President Michael Jackson told IGN today that AlaCorp seems to have resold those rights to another company, Aztec Riches Casino.com, without telling him.


"... Ostensibly, they transferred the URL without telling us."
- Michael Jackson
Poker.com

Jackson said that on Friday night, one of Poker.com's licensees went to the company's Web site and discovered that it was now taking bets for Aztec Riches Casino instead of under the name Poker.com. He said it took him until Sunday morning to confirm that AlaCorp had transferred the URL to a different company.

"So, ostensibly, they transferred the URL without telling us," Jackson said.

Jackson said his company had been paying AlaCorp a monthly fee for use of the "poker.com" domain name. He said his understanding of AlaCorp's motives is that it wanted to get a higher royalty fee for the URL.

"The fee structure was actually contracted in July 1999, and they've been getting payments every month since, and I believe they feel, because it's got more value today, that they want more revenue," he said.

Poker.com is in the process of reorganizing as a private company, and Jackson said part of that was the renegotiation of the monthly fee paid to AlaCorp so that it would earn more from the name.

"We actually drafted up the contracts to change some of the terms, so that when we went private, they would have been getting a better deal," Jackson said. "In principal, that was all agreed upon."

Jackson said the situation has been made increasingly frustrating by the fact that no one from AlaCorp is answering his calls or returning his e-mails. A customer service representative at Aztec Riches Casino told IGN that a manager would be available for an interview, but at the time of publication, that person had not contacted IGN.

In the meantime, the Poker.com licensee that was operating at the "poker.com" URL has transferred its business to thepokerclub.com. Issues with Poker.com's e-mail, however, have not been resolved.

"The problem we have, obviously, is that we've lost all of our contact through the e-mail because we haven't got the mail server poker.com," he said. "Consequently, we've lost all our e-mail; we've lost anybody typing in "poker.com" and going to Aztec. We're just trying to find out the level of liability. It's outrageous."

Jackson said he does not know who runs Aztec Riches Casino. The operator indicates on the site that it's licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and uses Microgaming software. Its credit card transactions, as indicated on the site, are process through Mentone Investments Ltd. of Cyprus. Jackson acknowledges that Aztec could have come by the "poker.com" URL legitimately by being contacted by AlaCorp.

Poker.com's lawyers are charting a course for legal action, Jackson said. He said the company will pursue the matter in Canada and other jurisdictions.

"We don't know what's going to happen and how long it will take," he said. "Obviously, there are serious damages here. People can't go into the card room; they're going to Aztec. ... We're just hoping that once we start an action, AlaCorp will come back to the table and decide, 'We'll just use this as a method of negotiating.'"

Poker.com Loses Its Greatest Asset is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner