Judge’s Ruling on Virtual Casinos Could Impact iGaming’s Future
Can virtual casinos cause real world problems? That’s the question that was recently put to a US federal judge by a woman who says the virtual casinos in the mega-popular mobile game Game of War are rigged.
The lawsuit was filed by Mia Mason, a Maryland resident and avid Game of War player.
Mason says that Machine Works, the company behind Game of War, has adjusted the algorithm in the game’s in-game casino functions to hand out low value prizes. In her deposition, Mason claims to have lost over $100 on the games which she says act as unlicensed, unregulated slot machines.
That argument was met with something considerably less than sympathy by U.S. District Judge James Bredar. According to ArsTechnica.com, Judge Bredar suggested, quite firmly, that virtual casinos like the ones in Game of War are incapable of causing real world damage saying:
Perceived unfairness in the operation and outcome of a game, where there are no real-world losses, harms, or injuries, does not and cannot give rise to the award of a private monetary remedy by a real-world court.
He went on to say that the virtual chips and prizes Mason was playing for had no equivalent real world value and that judging in her favor would cause him to be put in the:
…unenviable position of pricing the conversion from virtual gold and chips to virtual wood and rock.
While Judge Bedar’s ruling is bad news for anyone who’s spinning wheels for virtual wood, it’s great news for the igaming industry. This case, seemingly, frees virtual casinos that don’t offer cash payouts from a lot of the headaches faced by traditional online and land-based casinos.
Could this case even offer a workaround for the beleaguered daily fantasy sports industry? It’s not too tough to picture a scenario in which DFS players compete for virtual and non-cash prizes.
It will be interesting to see what impact this ruling has on the industry in the months to come.