BUSINESS

Judge says Game of War app maker not liable for player’s ‘gambling losses’

TAGs: game of war, Illinois

game-of-war-gambling-losses-lawsuit-tossedA US federal court in Illinois has dismissed yet another class action suit by individuals claiming to have suffered losses at the hands of online gaming operators.

On Sept. 19, Judge Robert Dow Jr. issued an opinion dismissing with prejudice a lawsuit brought by Mihajlo Ristic against Machine Zone, the developers behind the Game of War app. Ristic had accused Machine Zone of illegally operating a gambling device and engaging in unfair conduct in defiance of state gambling laws.

Game of War features an in-app casino, in which players spin a virtual wheel to win virtual goods that can be used within the game. The game offers players one free spin, with subsequent spins available at the cost of 5k virtual chips.

Ristic claimed that this virtual outlay equated to 60¢ a spin, while the prizes on offer could be worth more or less than this sum. Between April 19 and Oct. 9, 2015, Risitc claims to have spent around $500 buying chips to spin the virtual wheel.

Illinois is ground zero for this type of nuisance lawsuit thanks to the Illinois Loss Recovery Act, which has allowed idjits to sue real-money gambling operators like PokerStars and social casinos like DoubleDown Interactive for “illegal gambling losses,” even if those losses were suffered by people other than the complainant.

Machine Zone offered a threefold rebuttal to Ristic’s claims, but Judge Dow’s ruling addressed only one of these defenses – that Machine Zone was not the ‘winner’ of Ristic’s losses – because it rendered the other two defenses superfluous.

As with the DoubleDown case, Dow ruled that Ristic was gambling with virtual chips, for which Machine Zone had already been paid, and thus the company had no stake in the outcome of Ristic’s spins of the wheel.

Dow also heaped scorn on Ristic’s claims to have been defrauded, saying Machine Zone hadn’t imposed “a lack of meaningful choice or an unreasonable burden” on Ristic, let alone causing him significant, unavoidable harm. Unlike us, who had to waste our time reporting this instead of playing Game of War.

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