Hasta La Vista, Arnold

Published August 14, 2003 by OCR Editor

Hasta La Vista, Arnold

How does the run for governor of California interfere with Arnold Schwarzenegger promise to provide his name, image and voice for promoting a new International Game Technology nickel slot machine.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is now running for governor of California, and it seems like he has a problem. The actor-turned-politician agreed to the use of his name, image and voice on a new International Game Technology nickel slot machine in April before he announced his bid to replace California Gov. Gray Davis. Now he's not so happy about having his face plastered all over talking slot machines spitting out "Hasta la vista, nickels.".

It is probably the first time the name and image of a candidate for major political office has been used to promote gambling, and several industry officials suggested Schwarzenegger could have a conflict of interest if elected governor. Officials agreed he could be vulnerable to the conflict-of-interest charge if he wins the governorship since he would be responsible for enforcing and negotiating gaming compacts with California's Indian tribes. A bigger question is how Schwarzenegger would handle the continuing debate over how many slot machines each casino should be allowed.

Terminator slot machines are set to make their debut at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas Sept. 16-18, said Rick Sorensen, spokesman for Reno-based International Game Technology. IGT's new Terminator nickel slot machine has been years in preparation, but was stalled in 2001 when the actor sued the company for $20 million alleging the slot-machine maker was using his likeness and voice without permission or fair compensation.

Schwarzenegger claimed, not only had he not approved of the slot machine, but he disapproved of being linked to gambling at all. According to his lawsuit, the actor was "particularly circumspect to avoid using his name, likeness or image for certain industries such as gambling." Schwarzenegger has been adamant about protecting his image, and he reportedly once had his lawyers challenge a Web site that streamed video of his goofy Japanese commercial.

For its part, IGT claimed the Terminator slots were part of a licensing deal with French TV's Canal Plus, which belongs to media giant Vivendi, and Creative Licensing Corp., the two companies that hold the rights to the film series. IGT claimed none of the slot machines was ever distributed, although reports in 2001 claimed at least one had turned up on eBay, an Internet auction site.

Schwarzenegger said in the lawsuit that even if IGT got permission from the Terminator rights-holders, he still had ultimate control over how his likeness is used. The lawsuit recently was settled with Schwarzenegger having a change of heart about the use of his image, but Sorensen declined to disclosed the details of the settlement.

Whether or not Schwarzenegger received a lump sum payment or a fee based on the number of machines bearing his image, he has an interest in promoting the Terminator slots, industry officials said. At stake will be possible fees from the development of additional devices featuring Schwarzenegger characters and future use agreements with IGT.

See also

Is Schwarzenegger Good or Bad for Casinos?

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