Google was slapped with a class action lawsuit in the state of California which alleged that the tech giant was offering gambling via video games that were being downloaded on the Google Playstore.
The allegations claimed that these video games have loot boxes in them and allows unsuspecting users to start gambling via these loot boxes and exposed them to problem gambling.
Loot boxes have caused a lot of controversy over the last few years and has debated in multiple countries around the world. Some countries like Belgium, the Netherlands and China consider loot boxes to be similar to gambling and have banned video gaming developers from using loot boxes in their games.
However, some countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have yet to classify loot boxes as gambling. Loot boxes allow video game players to purchase unknown items in these loot boxes for real money and use these items to progress to the next level of the video game.
Players have no idea what each loot box contains and are enticed to keep buying more loot boxes in an attempt to get special items that will allow them to quickly proceed to the next level. The lawyers who filed the class action lawsuit wanted Google to be held responsible for offering video games with loot boxes and facilitating gambling activities in children and adults, this isn’t the first time a lawsuit has been issued with Apple also receiving one last year.
Court Grants Motion To Dismiss Google Play Lawsuit
Google filed a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit claiming that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 gave it exemption from being liable to prosecution for offering video games with loot boxes from the Google Playstore.
Google stated that they did not develop these video games in question or the controversial loot boxes. They only provided a platform for these games to be downloaded. Judge Beth Labson Freeman who presided over the hearing in the Northern District of California issued a motion to dismiss the lawsuit after hearing the arguments.
The Judge said that exemption could be granted to Google based on Section 230 but also ruled that it may refer to loot boxes at a later stage and check whether they can be categorized as illegal gambling offerings.
The plaintiffs were not happy with the ruling and claim that Google cannot be granted exemption under Section 230.