Volume: 17 Issue: 5
For several years, social gaming has been seen as a way to offer online gaming products to players in various United States jurisdictions that do not allow pay-to-play gaming. However, a new decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has put the ability to offer such games in doubt in several states. The case, Cheryl Kater v. Churchill Downs, takes on the question of whether free-to-play online casino games with in-play purchases violate state gambling laws. While the Trial Court decisively concluded that such a system is permitted, the Appeals Court concluded the Big Fish free-to-play casino app (originally offered by Churchill Downs) was illegal gambling under Washington state law. Now, online gaming operators must decide what this case means for them in Washington state and elsewhere, as Jessica A. Feil, Associate at Ifrah Law, explains.