Sports bettor Walters sues to shut down websites using his name
30 August 2012
VEGAS INC coverage
Las Vegas sports betting giant Bill Walters is suing companies and individuals he says have put up phony websites to trick gamblers into thinking they’re buying betting tips from him.
Attorneys for Walters filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Nevada and are seeking a temporary restraining order to have the sites shut down.
They are identified in the lawsuit as billywalterssportspicks.com, which was not online as of Thursday, Aug. 30, and billywalterssportsbettingpicks.com.
Walters says in the lawsuit he’s earned hundreds of millions of dollars from his sports betting and gaming investments and that he does not share his betting picks with the public or others in the sports betting industry.
"Doing so would undoubtedly change the odds on the very bets he is making," his lawsuit says.
The suit says the defendants’ websites are using his name and image and at least one even posted his 2011 interview with "60 Minutes" to falsely suggest an association with Walters.
"Members of the public have lost considerable sums of money through using defendants’ services claiming affiliation with Walters and the public is blaming Mr. Walters for their losses," the suit says. "Mr. Walters has received threatening phone calls, including death threats from persons who may have been tricked by such sports betting services believing those services were being offered by Mr. Walters."
A request for comment was placed with two of the defendants, Brad Greenberg and Michael Cooper. The other defendants couldn’t immediately be located for comment.
The defendants have not yet responded to the lawsuit.
It alleges infringements under the U.S. trademark law including "false designation of origin" and cybersquatting.
Cybersquatting involves the unauthorized use of a famous name in a website domain name in order to earn a profit.
The suit also asserts violations of Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practices law.
The other defendants are Cooper’s firm Coopers Picks LLC, Richart Ruddie, Ryan Holzman, JM Picks, John Mack, Rich Garafola, Glen Petrelli, Sal DeCarlo, William ''Bill'' Conti, DI Global Marketing LLC, Danial Itahov and Chris Hatton.
The suit says the defendants work out of California, Florida, Maryland, New York and Virginia.
Walters is represented in the lawsuit by attorneys at the Las Vegas office of the law firm Greenberg Traurig.
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