Las Vegas Sun

February 1, 2015

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Appeals court ruling a partial victory for professional poker player

A professional poker player won a partial victory from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week in a case that could provide another blow to the battered online poker industry.

The court held that U.S. District Judge Robert Clive Jones of Las Vegas erred by dismissing Cycalona Gowen's breach of contract claim against Tiltware, a California company that provides software to players' website Full Tilt Poker.

The 9th Circuit also ruled that the district court erred in dismissing Gowen's fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims against co-defendants Raymond Bitar and Howard Lederer, a fellow poker pro.

Bitar, an equities trader in Los Angeles when he helped found both Tiltware and Full Tilt Poker, was one of 11 individuals named in April in a federal indictment against individuals linked to the online poker industry. The charges included bank fraud and illegal gambling. Bitar has said he isn't guilty.

Lederer was also one of Tiltware's founders.

Gowen, who lives in Texas, alleged that Tiltware violated a promise to give her a 1 percent ownership stake in the company once it became profitable in exchange for use of her celebrity status to promote the Full Tilt brand. The 9th Circuit's ruling means she can proceed on her breach of contract and misrepresentation claims.

But the 9th Circuit sided with Jones in dismissing Gowen's claims against other poker companies and other high-profile poker professionals tied to Full Tilt.

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