Free-to-play casino games land four gaming companies with online gambling lawsuits

Legal action follows a similar ruling that found Big Fish Games’ casino experiences to have violated Washington state law

Free-to-play casino games land four gaming companies with online gambling lawsuits

Lawsuits have been filed against four online games companies that allege their digital casino offerings constitute illegal gambling under Washington state law.

As reported by GeekWire, the legal action specifically target “free-to-play” casino games from Huuuge Games, DoubleDown Interactive, High 5 Games and Playtika.

The suits allege that while the chips that are purchasable in these are not worth any money on their own, they do represent “something of value” as they are necessary to play the game. In theory, that means the casino titles can be legally viewed as breaching a clause within Washington state law that governs gambling.

Big Fish

The lawsuits follow a similar ruling from last month in which the Ninth Circuit of US Court of Appeals ruled that Big Fish Games’ casino games violated Washington state law in relation to online gambling and in-turn sent a case previously thrown out back into the courts.

That legal dispute began back in 2015 when a woman named Cheryl Kater sued then-Big Fish Games owner Churchill Downs after she spent $1,000 on virtual chips.

While these cases have some way to go before they conclude they offer the potential for significant implications for the casual games market as a majority of games companies favour free-to-play titles with in-app purchases as a prime source of revenue.

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Staff Writer

Iain is a freelance writer based in Scotland with a penchant for indies and all things Nintendo. Alongside PocketGamer.Biz, he has also appeared in Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, PCGamesN and VG24/7.