Bird Marella principal Mitch Kamin spoke with The Recorder regarding the California Supreme Court’s recent ruling that classifies computer sweepstakes games as illegal slot machines.
The ruling resolves several cases brought by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office against Internet cafes that rewarded customers sweepstakes points that could be used to play computer games offering cash prizes. Defendants argued that the computer games were not gambling because they were not interactive, and results were chosen by the software beforehand, thereby eliminating the element of chance.
Justice Ming Chin, however, reaffirmed the Fifth District Court of Appeal and rejected the argument, stating that the chance element is satisfied because players can’t use skill or judgement to influence the outcome of the game.
Mr. Kamin believes that Chin’s deliberate focus on the Internet cafes could mean the decision will not have a broader impact, stating “I don’t think large companies that are interested in sweepstakes or gamification have much to worry about because of this.”
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