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Jeff Ifrah and Jessica Feil Point Out Weak Points in Esports Skins Lawsuit Against Valve

A recently-filed lawsuit that targets game developer Valve over the company’s alleged involvement in the skin gambling market may struggle to gain traction, according to legal experts.

The suit was first reported by Polygon. You can read the complaint here.

Read a brief primer on the market for skin gambling here.

Suit ‘likely to be dismissed’

“I’d call this lawsuit frivolous and say it is likely to be dismissed,” Jeff Ifrah of Ifrah Law, a firm with a specialist practice in online gambling, told ESBR.

“Whether or not skin betting is legal, this suit claims the consumer — who entered into a wager with his eyes open — was injured by Valve.”

“Valve created a platform for play,” Ifrah continued, “and on this platform, virtual items were played in a virtual world for virtual rewards. First, this doesn’t meet the standard for a RICO violation. Second, based on the recent Mason V. Machine Zone ruling in the Maryland courts, virtual gambling under those conditions is not illegal.”

Where responsibility for a virtual item ends

Another issue likely in play: How much responsibility does a product creator bear for the secondary usage of said product?

“It’s pretty easy to illustrate why Valve is unlikely to be held complicit in the sale and trading of skins,” said Jessica Feil of Ifrah Law.

“It’s the same as the government releasing currency – just because you release something legally doesn’t mean that you have to anticipate and expect to be held liable for all illegal uses that might flow from it.”

 

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