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International casino machine dispute reaches Las Vegas court

A new lawsuit alleging fraud and unfair competition in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas involves two baccarat machine makers involves a local company and a Canadian competitor who got into a dispute at a trade show in China. In this international legal dispute, Las Vegas-based Shuffle Master Inc. is accused of spreading misinformation about LT Game International Ltd. to local casinos to hurt the latter company's sales after the confrontation.

The machines in question allow gamblers to make bets electronically on baccarat hands dealt by a live dealer. The issue between the companies goes back to at least 2009, when customs officials at the G2E Asia Gaming Show in Macau seized a baccarat machine being displayed by Shuffle Master after LT Game accused the machine of being a copy of one of its own patents. At this year's convention, customs officials ordered Shuffle Master's representatives to cover their baccarat machine with sheets. Litigation about the alleged patent violation is pending in Macau.

According to the Las Vegas suit, Shuffle Master has misrepresented facts about LT Game to companies like Las Vegas Sands Corp., the parent company of casinos like the Venetian. The misrepresentations are part of a "campaign of disparagement" to hurt LT Game's sales in Las Vegas, the lawsuit says. It asks the court to stop Shuffle Master from continuing its alleged "campaign" and pay LT Game triple what it earned due to the conduct.

Through a spokeswoman, Shuffle Master vowed "to vigorously defend against this matter" as well as the international lawsuit.

Source: VEGAS INC, "Heated Asian baccarat patent dispute boils over into U.S. lawsuit," Steve Green, July 12, 2012

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