RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - A woman who spent real money on virtual gold that she gambled away in the hopes of purely virtual prizes suffered a new defeat, this time in the Fourth Circuit.
Mia Mason had tried to sue for classwide damages after her gaming gaffe. Between 2014 and 2015, the Maryland woman spent about $100 to play in the virtual casino on a mobile app she had downloaded called “Game of War: Fire Age.”
Though players can sell very successful accounts on a secondary market, developer Machine Zone does not promise any real-world prizes to those who spend virtual gold in the “Game of War” casino.
A computer algorithm determines whether each “spin of the wheel” will net a basic resource for the player like wood, or something more coveted, like more virtual gold.
Filing suit for damages, Mason accused Machine Zone of violating a gambling loss recovery statute in Maryland that allows people to recover any money they lost on a prohibited gaming device.
A federal judge dismissed Mason’s case, however, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed on March 17. Unluckily for Mason, the ruling coincided with St. Patrick’s Day.
“If Mason received in the virtual casino ‘resources’ of lesser ‘value’ than virtual gold, as she claims she did, Machine Zone did not win money as a result,” U.S. Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keegan wrote for a three-person panel.
Mason thus did not lose money gambling; she lost it buying fake gold.
“As a result of that action,” the 10-page ruling continues, “she could only receive either virtual gold, which she concedes does not amount to money, or she could receive other virtual resources that likewise are money or redeemable for money."
The court voiced skepticism of Mason’s claims about “Game of War’s” secondary market, but it noted that she fails on this count in any case because she made no allegation that she ever attempted to find a buyer for her account or its assets.
Machine Zone is the same company behind another popular app called "Mobile Strike."
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