Skill-Based Gaming & eSports

Although “eSports” is a recent buzzword in gaming and legal circles, these contests have been around for over 20 years. Our Interactive Gaming Law Attorneys have been on the forefront of this sector since the beginning when users first starting challenging friends on the Internet in friendly competitions to the latest driving to introduce skill-based gaming/eSports into regulated casinos.

What is Skill-Based Gaming/eSports

In eSports, or competitive gaming, contestants compete against live opponents in video games, either online or in person. Players test their skills against friends and strangers alike to win prizes, but also for prestige and bragging rights. These games are carefully designed to avoid the application of gambling prohibitions by removing the chance elements. The leading sectors of skill-based gaming include fantasy sports, puzzle or strategy games, and “hardcore” games such as first‐person shooter and role-playing games.

Why Legal Guidance Is Important

The legality of pay-to-play eSports competitions that award prizes typically depends on them being classified as skill games by removing the element of chance. This determination is typically based on the relative degrees of skill and chance present in the game. Under the prevailing theory—the predominance test—one must envision a continuum with pure skill on one end and pure chance on the other. Unfortunately, although prevailing, the predominance test is not universal as states use a handful of tests when evaluating a game on the basis of skill vs. chance. Operators must therefore not only recognize that several types of chance exist but fully understand the various tests used by states to analyze chance or risk their services being found to constitute prohibited games of chance.

What We Can Do for You

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie’s Interactive Gaming Law Attorneys are continually monitoring eSports developments to ensure our clients are current with the legislative and regulatory landscape skill gaming. Our attorneys are therefore able to efficiently and timely assist clients with the design, review and implementation of skill-based offerings in order to successfully navigate potential pitfalls while maximizing the offering’s availability.

Business Analysis

To test the general viability of your eSports business model, we start by analyzing it against federal gambling laws and general state gambling prohibitions. You’ll receive a report that catalogs our legal findings, flags potential issues, and assesses the overall strength of your business model. If this analysis reveals that your eSports model faces a heightened risk of illegality, our attorneys can work with you to transform your business idea into a lawful activity.

Comprehensive Risk Analysis

If you’re serious about entering the Internet gaming world, a 50-state survey is a critical investment. In this comprehensive evaluation, we thoroughly examine the regulatory landscape and risks associated with each state by analyzing your business model against the specific gambling laws and regulations of each state so you can make educated decisions regarding your business model. You then receive a comprehensive written report that analyzes the tests each state uses to determine the lawfulness of a gaming activity and assesses in detail how your business model holds up under scrutiny.

Advocate on Your Behalf 

Once we complete your 50-state survey, we are in a position to advocate on your behalf to the legal counsel of payment processors, app stores and best present your position as to why your eSports model is lawful. 

Ongoing Gaming Representation

Our Interactive Gaming Law Attorneys can provide you with quarterly updates on state gambling laws to help make sure you continue to operate lawfully in your chosen jurisdictions. As you develop ideas for new games, we help you assess the legality of your ideas. We also work with gaming regulators to help clients pursue new games and offerings such as bringing skill games into casinos.

Gaming

Glenn J. Light
Glenn J. Light
Partner
Las Vegas
glight@​lrrc.com
702.949.8276 / vCard
Jason Bacigalupi
Jason Bacigalupi
Associate
Las Vegas
jbacigalupi@​lrrc.com
702.474.2641 / vCard
Mary Tran
Mary Tran
Associate
Las Vegas
MTran@​lrrc.com
702.474.2666 / vCard
Karl F. Rutledge
Karl F. Rutledge
Partner, Chair - Commercial Gaming Group
Las Vegas
krutledge@​lrrc.com
702.949.8317 / vCard

Related Industries

Gaming & Hospitality

Related News

09/27/2017
ABA Business Law Section Appoints Rutledge Chair of Gaming Law Committee
Business and gaming law intersect as a driver of nationwide economic impact
04/21/2017
Cabot earns international recognition for gaming law
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorney named one of world's leading gaming lawyers by Chambers Global

Related Events

Past Events
02/13/2014

Blog

PDF Print

Blog(s)

Primary Services

Gaming

Key Contacts

Karl F. Rutledge
Karl F. Rutledge
Partner, Chair - Commercial Gaming Group
702.949.8317
Glenn J. Light
Glenn J. Light
Partner
702.949.8276