The Lawyer’s Daily quotes Vancouver and Montréal lawyers Karam Bayrakal and Michael Shortt in an article on the legal and commercial implications of a recently-launched class action over "loot boxes" in the gaming industry.
Karam Bayrakal, co-leader of the technology, media and telecommunications group at Fasken LLP, noted loot boxes are not homogeneous and there are different processes by which a person can get them.
“Items might be randomly awarded for achievements and milestones, and then some might be kind of randomly assigned as purchasable but you actually have to purchase them so you might achieve something and then unlock a box that you might obtain,” he said. “And then sometimes you can just buy the loot box itself.”
Michael Shortt, a litigator at Fasken LLP who practices in the videogame and artificial intelligence industries, said the gambling provisions in the Criminal Code were largely written over a hundred years ago and prohibit things like three-card monte.
“The laws are vague and meant to capture as many games of chance as they could think of, but you then run into problems of how far they were supposed to go and you don’t necessarily know the answer to that,” he said. “The Criminal Code was meant to capture serious incidences of criminality — is this such an instance? Maybe yes, maybe no, but you have laws of general application and how they apply to loot boxes is not going to be obvious, which is why these issues end up in front of the courts.”