HELP! Need Some Legal Assistance for Running Fighting Game Tournament


#1

SK- i honestly believed that this a fighting game discussion so if you don’t believe so just move it or please just inform on where is best to put this type of topic.

I am trying to do a Tournament in S.FLA and right now the place that i used to do it at, Broward Community College is afraid of any legal reprecussions that they may be subject to by letting me do the tournament there. For the rental price, us of pc and projector screne there is no better place that i know in the south to hold this tournament and it’s why i am trying so hard to get this place back. I have been researching gambling statues in Florida and they all make refrence to a game of chance in comparision to a game of skill. IMO, i believe all fighting games (no matter how much i believe that some of them may be hot garbage (JOJOS) :rofl: J/K ) are games of skill.

  1. Has anyone ran into this problem before and are you aware of any federal laws or local florida laws that may allow me to be able to present a decent argument about running this tournament?

Please keep in mind i need recent information ex. within 5 years.

  1. How does MLG or other major promoters do this legally?

  2. Statue stating the video games are a games of skill and not chance. Or atleast can be interpreted this way.

  3. Most importantly the general setup for our tournament. Top three getting a 100% of the purse and participants paying funds to compete. Is this in it self gambling?

  4. Finally should i just consider the a lost and just find some hotel or club house to run it at. This place though is dope and one of the best places i have ever done a tournament or seen one done at.

Please only serious responses please.

Please discuss with utter seriousness i am not one for the flames if you don’t mind.

Sites i have been researching:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfm
relevant statues:
849.08-- gambling
849.03-- Renting a place for 'gambling’
849.12-- Money and Prizes

http://myfloridalegal.com
For readings of the atty gen interpretations of the law.


#2

<i>I have been researching gambling statues in Florida and they all make refrence to a game of chance in comparision to a game of skill. IMO, i believe all fighting games (no matter how much i believe that some of them may be hot garbage (JOJOS) J/K ) are games of skill.
</i>

are you saying that they’re saying that a fighting game would be considered game of chance? or are you saying that it doesn’t say anything specifically towards a game of skill, but refers to it in a different manner?

as far as i’m concerned, a tournament wouldn’t be any different than going to a carnival and playing one of those cash winning games instead of winning a stuffed animal (yes, i’ve seen these at local feasts they got around brooklyn)… you make more baskets than persons b and c, and you win 1/2 of what the cost for all 3 players…

idk

i’m bumping this cuz i want to know the answer too…


#3

edit: Nevermind, saw that you did post there linking to this one.

Some places consider those types of tournaments gambling, some don’t. It’s up who you talk to, but if anyone would say videogame tournaments are gambling and say something else like hm…a chess tournament isn’t, then they’re out of their mind.


#4

The deal is this: in some states, it is considered gambling (ie: game of chance) to give away CASH as a prize for any type of video game tournament. I would assume Florida might be one of these.

If you AREN’T giving away cash, then there are NO legal ramifications.

If you ARE giving away cash, then you can either:

(a) give prizes or gift certificates instead - this bypasses the tax problem, which is why there would be legal ramifications in the first place.

(b) give away prizes with cash hidden in them - as long as you don’t advertise that you are giving away cash as a prize, this is also legal (believe it or not). Like say the grand prize is a copy of Capcom Classics or a big ass teddy bear or something and then stuff money in (of course, you don’t want to tell anybody, but even if someone finds out there is no legal action that can be taken).

I’ve been running tournaments in South Carolina and Georgia for over 10 years now and have never had a problem as long as these rules were followed.

Hope this helps!


#5

I can’t really help but I think the game of skill/game of chance dichotomy is kind of stupid, unless it’s explained further. It’s not really something thats easily quantified. Like say, poker. On the surface it’s a game of chance, but a large part of the game is mind games, which take skill. Presumably this is classified as gambling (don’t really know much about US laws), but you could argue that there’s enough of a skill factor present to warrant it not being so.


#6

Of relevance, I’m absolutely certain I remember hearing about a legal case in which a pinball manufacturer had to put one of their games on display in the courtroom and play it, proving that human skill was the primary factor involved in playing pinball.

Of course, the line blurs when you note there are a few pinball games that give out prizes, but still.

I don’t know what the case name is, I imagine you’d have to do some Google searching for it. But it should be relevant to this, as fighting games are regulated (god, I hate that word) under the same sections of law that pinball is, being coin-op games.

The fact you’re having to jump through all these legal hoops and cautions just to host a gaming competition is just another large part of why I’m disgusted with our “we know what’s best for you, citizen” government, but that’s a political rant for another day.


#7

Crazy libertarians. :confused:


#8

Basically, you shoulda not told them that there was gonna be money involved to start with. Then they wouldn’t even be worried.

Legally you’re in the clear. There have been tons of collectable card game and fighting game and halo and whatever else tournaments in Florida. What you can’t do is be giving odds on games and having a spread and taking bets.

Calm Warrior runs tournaments in central and south florida a lot. Might want to PM him.

I suggest you change it to a “free WINK WINK” tournament.


#9

Sup - Seerd. Gonna write back in a few to everyone just wanted let you know i was busy at work…

I am Calm Man.


#10

lol That would work if UH and CW weren’t the same person…

EDIT:

To hell with you for beating me!

EDIT2: Here’s the site I was talking about David. I haven’t done much more than peruse it, but it doesn’t look good. http://www.gambling-law-us.com/State-Laws/Florida/


#11

FSU does not allow it either, TCC however does not care

both of these are in Tallahassee FL

just goes on what the campus decides in FLA


#12

almost no campus is going to allow money games, our arcade almost didn’t let us run tournaments because of ‘gambling’. It’s not the law so much as the perception of the law, and to many, money games = gambling.


#13

You could try to show them them clips of matches and explain some of the finer points involved in the games. So as to protray to them that this is skill based and not based on luck/gambling.


#14

Yo who are you?!!!:wow: I go to BCC (North campus) what fighting games do you play?:smile:

I’m impressed that you’re willing to host a tourney there.:tup: I’m usually in the Rec Room playing SSB64 morning or mid-day so you’ll know who I am. lol :pleased:


#15

How are you going to come in a thread and ask questions without reading it?
shakes head


#16

Sigh…

Owned?

That’s Calm B…

Yo… Best thing to do is to make it a fund raiser tournament.

I just talked my dean about this and he said FAU doesn’t allow it…

O wellz…:rolleyes:


#17

To some degree this what i am saying except for one money or something of value is given for winning the competition this is where legality come into play and the man wants his cut(taxes).

Money doesn’t equal stuffed animal.

Unfortunately the tournament cash handling format falls under that of the laws defining ‘gambling’. Game of Skill/Game of Chance i believe would be the deciding factor in me winning this argument then making it a tournament of skill where the top three winners in a sense earned their winnings.

OK, WHAT THE…

Response to;

A- How did you go about doing that while not know the amount of heads that you would have showing up for each individual tournament. I though about this too in the past and i let it go because there was a possibility for too many loop holes, could you go into more detail about how you gave out a certificate equivalent to the amount of heads that came for that tournament please?

b- is messing with my head a little. I do believe it by the way. and i am assuming the amount of cash would just happen to be a regular pot split. Ok obvious problem pops up, not everyone in florida is sharp to the ‘game’ how did you get the crowd to come while thinking the where gonna in a copy of a game they already own?

Thanks Bob. Holla Back.

Polarity- Dammit man stay on topic, although that was a good argument.:confused:

Cybuster- Good point i will look that up sometime this week. Damn did he really bring a pinball machine in the court room? that’s funny. Damn i really do which that gaming was taking a little be more serious. Wait a minute, How DIIIIIIIIII hELLLLLLLLL do they get to legally have halo tournaments. Are they free?

Seerd- I don’t make it a point to lie about small shit. Besides i am an alumni of the college and the people i am dealing with know me personally and would immediately know if i was lying and laugh me to scorn. Knowledge right now is what i am seeking in order to never have to face this problem ever again.

AW- Dog. Man i read through the same shit that you showed me the only difference is that i went to the ‘official’ site to find the info. Thanks again. The wording of law has always being obviously vague to me it’s not even funny.

Guile- Man S.FLA is worst than anywhere i have every been. People are ignorant to what the laws are unless it affects their everyday. and if the don’t know they ain’t touching it.

FMJ.- so true, i believe once they here game and money in the same sentence ‘awww hell nah i ain’t gambling’ is the common response:arazz: damn i ignorance

Gohan- That would be like trying to explain algebra to my son and he’s three. They would look at it see and not understand what going on other than ken says ‘SHORYUKEN.’ and say oh i have heard of that. My peers at the school know it’s the dean that the problem

White Shadow- :shake:


#18

Sandalwood HS allowed it, want me to PM the contact info so your campus can confirm its legal?


#19

Basically, just advertise it as “very large gift certificate” or something - you can either get someone to run down to the local Gamestop or EB or whatever and pick it up during the tournament or get a pre-reg page up (or even better, get people to pay in advance) so that you have some type of idea. That way, there’s a 50% chance extra money might be left over, meaning you can boost the prizes a little or use it for expenses or what have you. There’s no real way of knowing until it happens. If you’re planning on giving cash, I would recommend not advertising it as a cash tournament so that you can get it rolling, then just telling the players in secrecy.

Yeah - depending on the number of people. 70/20/10 usually works for larger events (16 and higher). I usually do cash prizes on an “adjusted scale” - for example:

Say there’s 20 people @ 5 bucks a piece - then you have nice round numbers (1st gets 70, 2nd 20, 3rd 10). No questions asked.

Say there’s 19 people @ 5 bucks a piece - then you get 66.5, 19, and 9.5. In this case, I would make the prizes 65, 20, and 10 so everyone gets a good return.

A good rule of thumb to remember is to always give 3rd AT LEAST their money back, give 2nd AT LEAST double 3rd, and give 1st the rest. Never had any complaints with that one.

In my own experience, most people are going to come regardless of the prize if they think they have the chance to show out. Also, most people that come to tournaments on a semi-pro level (ie: most SRK’rs) are usually aware of what goes down. If its someone walking in off the street and asking, “a gift certificate to XXXX” is usually a good answer. If they follow up, simply tell them its based on the number of players that enter.

Also keep this in mind: if you’re throwing a tournament, its almost obvious from the start depending on who shows up who is going to be in the top 3 (or at least the top few). Chances are, they’re going to know the deal. Do a little PR work during the tournament to keep people informed on the status and you should be straight. Its a good bet that if you announce a Street Fighter tournament to enough people, the winner is going to be someone that posts on here or is familiar with the tournament scene enough to know the types of things that go on.

No prob, and dun.


#20

A tournament of any kind, in which the players contribute a certain ‘buy-in’ in order for a ‘chance’ to win a POOL of money is NOT considered gambling. Not one state considers this gambling. If they did, then we wouldn’t see Texas Hold Em’, Euchre, Pinochle, Chess, Cornhole (if you live in Ohio and surrounding areas) tournaments being run in states that normally do not allow gambling of ANY kind.

Secondly, Federal law states that any ‘winnings’ gained over $600 must have a form W2-G attached to it. You don’t have to PAY any taxes, it just has to be recorded. Otherwise, it doesn’t have anything to do with taxes, unless any prize is over $600.

Take it from me, I play poker for a living, I know all the rules.