Montel Accused of Fraud by Online Gaming Operator

23rd December 2009 8:50 am GMT

U.S talk show host Montel Williams has been hit with a lawsuit in the U.S State of Nevada, alleging that he accepted $300,000 pre-payment from a Maltese online gaming company as part of a binding agreement to operate an international poker league, only to renege on the deal without refunding the investment.

The lawsuit was filed by Attorneys representing Guardian Gaming Limited, an online gaming company licensed by the Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority and operator of the now defunct Shuffle Master Live Casino, the online offering of international gaming supplier Shuffle Master Inc.

The suit alleges that on July 30th 2008, Guardian Gaming Ltd and the International Poker League (IPL), described as an alter ego of Williams, entered into a binding agreement to set up a Nevada limited liability corporation for the purposes of promoting, operating and hosting an international poker league.

Under the terms of the agreement, Guardian Gaming was to own a 25% stake in IPL Nevada in exchange for an upfront payment , setting up and operating an online gaming site for IPL and additional payments based on a revenue share agreement of the site's proceeds.

The suit states that on August 14th 2008, Guardian Gaming and IPL/Williams agreed to an initial payment of $300,000 from Guardian in order to further the venture, with a second payment scheduled for payment on execution of a definitive agreement. However IPL failed to pursue the venture with Guardian Gaming and announced its intention to terminate the agreement in September 2008.

Despite admitting that Guardian Gaming was entitled to a refund of the initial investment under the terms of the agreement, IPL has failed to return the money.

IPL has continued with the venture, however instead of Guardian Gaming, IPL has selected Playtech's iPoker network as the league's online poker partner.

Guardian Gaming has itself been a Playtech licensee following a June 2007 agreement which saw Guardian sublicence certain Shuffle Master games to Playtech for use on the internet, while Playtech agreed to provide Guardian with an online casino platform for the Shuffle Master site. (more)

iPoker now runs online qualifiers for the IPL across a host of network sites including Titan Poker, Paddy Power, William Hill, Bet365 and ChiliPoker.

Guardian Gaming is seeking judgement for the return of $300,000 plus damages, interest and legal costs.

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