Sunday, June 17, 2012

Could casino slot machine or game names raise trademark questions?

Today, on the way back from Baltimore Gay Pride, I stopped at the new Maryland Live! casino, south of BWI airport at the Arundel Mills Mall, about 12 miles SE of Baltimore, off the old Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

It looked like small stuff compared to Las Vegas (where I was four weeks ago), and even the one floor operation looks smaller than Mystic Lake, SW of Minneapolis, which the Libertarian Party often used as a site for conventions 15 years ago.

I noticed, when walking around and looking at slot machines, that many of them have game names based on movies (such as "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"), or other board games, or TV game shows, books, or famous fictional characters (like Tarzan).  Do casino games raise trademark and licensing issues?  From games (like Monopoly) they certainly would, but would movies be viewed as separate businesses?  What about the reverse, if a movie happened to mimic a casino game in a title?

I haven't seen any slot machines with the name of my book "Do Ask Do Tell".  Would the name make sense?  But in Las Vegas, there is a casino called "Bill's Gamblin' Hall", which I not have time to visit.

(If you do go there, look at the weird monorail at Whiskey Pete's in Primm, on the Cal. border; missed getting a picture.)

Notice also the entrance ceiling lights at Live!, based on a visual concept that opens the sci-fi movie "Skyline" -- the falling UFO flares.

Maryland will probably have a larger casino (MGM Grande) at National Harbor  in PG county, on the Potomac, in a couple years. The GOP can hardly object.

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