Midway Poker Tour Founder Daniel Bekavac Booted From PokerBROS App, Faces Other Legal Issues8 months ago
Daniel Bekavac, the founder of the Illinois-based Midway Poker Tour that staggered through a disastrous debut event last weekend, has become increasingly besieged in the days following the event. Bekavac has promised to make good “if he can” on the tens of thousands of dollars he still owes cashing players who were paid mostly in overvalued silver at Sunday’s finale, yet several new aspects of the story have emerged that cast shadows on Bekavac’s ability to pay what’s owed to as many as 31 players.
One of the more intriguing developments includes the PokerBROS poker app, an officially free-to-play “club poker” app similar to PPPoker and other apps that often serves as a proxy platform for online, semi-private games played for real money. After Midway Poker Tour participants complained that they were forced to sign up under Bekavac’s Poker Bros. affiliate code in order to play -- a condition of entry not disclosed prior to play -- PokerBROS issued a statement disavowing any connection with Bekavac’s actions and banning him from the company’s platform.
“PokerBROS would like it to be made clear that they did not have prior knowledge of this event, did not endorse it, and the use of its trademarked name/logo without prior authorization is strictly against PokerBROS Terms of Service. As a result of this breach by the Midway Club, their Club has been banned from the PokerBROS platform,” read part of a statement issued by the company. Midway Club was the name of the club created and fronted by Bekavac on PokerBROS, to create an association with his likely-to-collapse Midway Poker Tour.
As news of the Midway Poker Tour’s farcical payout spread through the poker world, so did anecdotal tales about Bekavac’s questionable past, including some suspect business dealings. Social media and poker forums alike offered long threads on Bekavac. Among the most curious was a posting on the 2+2 forum by a new account claiming to be one of Bekavac’s prior significant others, including numerous and detailed claims about Bekavac’s off-the-books business activities that are likely to further the interests of state investigators interested in the workings of the failed MPT event.
Separately, PokerTube has learned of other previous and current legal difficulties for Bekavac. He and his father’s company, Bekavac Trading Company, Inc., were sued in August by George & Co., LLC, an established and award-winning board game publisher. The junior Bekavac has been alleged to be the company’s financier, while the senior Bekavac serves as CEO and frontman. The lawsuit, which does not differentiate between “Junior” or “Senior”, accuses a Bekavac and the company of counterfeiting 20,000 copies of a dice game made by George & Co., “LCR LEFT! CENTER! RIGHT!®”, and attempting to sell the games as authentic merchandise, while also having entered into a reseller deal with the New York-based George & Co.
The lawsuit, in which a court summons was only recently served, accuses one of the Bekavacs and the firm of trademark infringement, federal false designation of origin, passing off, a Lanham Act violation (unfair competition), copyright infringement, and violation of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The lawsuit also names a second, related company, Bek Brands, which sells novelties through major platforms such as Amazon and WalMart.
George & Co’s lawsuit asks for orders barring the company from selling or advertising the impacted properties, turning over all profits generated from the infringements, and the assessment of a trebled-damages, punitive penalty due to the willful nature of the violations against George and Co’s registered trademarks. The games maker also suggests an alternative remedy, a $2,000,000 penalty to be levied against Bekavac and his company for each “willful” trademark violation, and the lawsuit involves numerous trademarks. The copyright infringements result in a parallel set of claimed damages, with George & Co. seeking the verified destruction of all counterfeit games and/or a cash settlement of up to $150,000 per infringement.
The potential impact adds another element to the junior Bekavac’s murky financial status, if he indeed bears financial responsibility for Bekavac Trading’s fortunes. That in turn indicates that getting the jilted MPT players fully paid may be a complicated endeavor. A further search of Bekavac’s past turns up other curiosities, such as a 2011 federal bankruptcy filing. Bekavac was also arrested in November 2015 and found guilty in March 2016 on a charge of domestic battery/assault.
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