Social Gaming Class Action Shaping Up Against 'machine Zone'

"Freeplay" casino component generated over $600 million

Social video game players who engaged with the freeplay casino component of Machine Zone's popular mobile-device app "Game of War" lost millions of dollars, and have launched a class action, reports Courthouse News.
Although the app is an Android and Apple freeplay product, it has generated in-game revenues of over $600 million dollars for the Delaware-based company, lead plaintiff Mia Mason of Maryland claims.
The "casino" component is a game of chance in which players can wager "gold" and "chips" that are purchased at a starting price of $4.99, Mason says, adding that although players can "…use gold tokens to improve their virtual towns and hasten their advancement in the game, these benign uses of gold merely obfuscate the unlawful game of chance Machine Zone operates."
"Free-to-play" games of chance allow app developers like Machine Zone to exploit "the same psychological triggers as casino operators," the complaint alleges, quoting reports that claim "games may influence 'feelings of pleasure and reward' … similar to those that could develop in casinos and betting shops."
The lead plaintiff also quotes from a Belgian Gaming Commission statement which "…recently decried 'Game of War's' Casino as illegal gambling, stating that Machine Zone was targeting underage consumers and encouraging them to gamble due to the 'casino elements' within the game."
Mason notes that "free-to-play games" encourage consumers to download and play games for free while selling many low-cost items within the game itself.
"In 2012, free-to-play games of chance generated over $1.6 billion in worldwide revenue and are expected to grow to over $2.4 billion by the end of 2015," Mason claims.
Alleging unfair competition, unjust enrichment and other claims, the class seeks to recover ill-gotten gains, damages and losses.

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