Motion for Class Certification in Minor Gambling Suit Against Online Gaming Company

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On September 28, 2021, a motion for class certification was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington by the plaintiffs in a proposed class suit against video gaming company, Valve Corp. (“Valve”), alleging that the defendant took advantage of minor children by failing to disclose that its virtual “loot boxes” simulate online gambling.

In the complaint, originally filed on December 20, 2016, named plaintiffs Grace Galway and Brenda Shoss describe how in an effort to capitalize on the online gaming market, comprised mainly of minors, Valve started selling “loot boxes” in association with its popular games Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defense of the Ancients 2 and Team Fortress 2. The loot boxes contained “skins” which are cosmetic virtual items that hold an undisclosed and varying actual cash value.

The complaint goes on to describe how in order to obtain a skin, players must purchase a virtual “key” to open a loot box. The plaintiffs argue that because the skin that the player receives after purchasing a key is determined entirely by chance, the process simulates online gambling. The complaint further describes how loot boxes have been banned in some countries as a form of online gambling.

The plaintiffs seek to represent a class made up of all persons in the U.S. who are parents/guardians of a minor child and who provided funds to their minor children for the purchase of keys in the games Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defense of the Ancients 2 or Team Fortress 2. The suit alleges that the defendant’s omissions and misrepresentations are in violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

The case is: G.G. et al. v. Valve Corp., case number 2:16-cv-01941, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.

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