There are times where I would be anywhere from ok to thrilled with my likeness being used without my consent for something that will make someone else money. For instance, I have been a zombie on The Walking Dead and if I saw my zombie face on a shirt, I think I would be pretty excited (at the same time, I’m sure when I filled out the paperwork to get paid, I signed away the rights to my likeness, anyway). If my face was used under the name “Mario” on an ad for STD awareness at a New York City subway station, then, well, I would be less than enthused.
King’s Resort owner Leon Tsoukernik falls somewhere toward the Mario end of the scale. Last week, his casino announced that he is suing social media giant Facebook 500 million Czech crowns ($23.1m) for permitting a fake gambling app to use photos of King’s Resort in their advertisements.
First reported by Czech newspaper Hospodářské noviny (HN), the lawsuit was filed in Pilsen Regional Court in early April.
And it’s not just that the fake casino app uses exterior photos of King’s Resort. It also hypes its “app” as “The best Czech casino is now online!”
Considering King’s Resort is a major casino destination and has the largest poker room in Europe (and it is obviously King’s Resort in the picture, familiar to anyone who has been there), it is pretty obvious that the fake casino is trying to make people think it is Tsoukernik’s venture.
It appears Tsoukernik’s main concern is that his and his casino’s reputations could be harmed by the ads’ continued existence. If people hand over money to the app and it is either junk or worse, a complete scam, they will think it is King’s Casino that is providing a bad service or stealing their money. And even if it becomes widely known that King’s Casino has nothing to do with it, once bad word is out there, it is out there.
Tsoukernik is also upset because the offender is clearly not licensed and only licensing gaming operators can advertise in the Czech Republic.
“In other media, if we want to advertise, they require us to prove the license, trademarks for the logo, and the like,” Tsoukernik told HN. “Even two years ago, Facebook demanded it from us, so I don’t understand how they can release such fraudulent advertising.”
Facebook has apparently not told Czech regulators who the advertiser actually is. The company has also not returned Tsoukernik’s calls.
King’s Resort, as mentioned, has the largest poker room in Europe, with over 160 tables. It has been home to the World Series of Poker Europe since 2017.
Photo credit: WPT via Flickr