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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Disorderly houses, gaming and betting

Thursday, September 26, 2019 @ 8:19 AM  

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Appeal by the Registrar from a declaration that the GotSkill gaming system was not a game as defined under s. 197(1) of the Criminal Code. The respondent owner of GotSkill applied for the declaration. The application judge concluded that GotSkill was not a game of mixed chance and skill. The application judge noted the fact that some elements of the game were out of the player’s control did not necessarily make GotSkill a game of mixed chance and skill. He further found that while how much a player was able to win over the next few plays were a matter of chance, a very skilled player would always be able to come out ahead if she played long enough.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The application judge lost sight of the principle that for a game to be one of mixed chance and skill, any degree of chance that was part of the game would suffice. The application judge recognized that chance was present in GotSkill when he said that the incentive in continuing to play was to gain an opportunity to win a greater prize which might or might not be available, depending on chance. These findings should have led the application judge to conclude that there was a systematic resort to chance in GotSkill and it was a game of mixed chance and skill.

Play for Fun Studios Inc. v. Ontario (Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing), [2019] O.J. No. 4089, Ontario Court of Appeal, R.G. Juriansz, K.M. van Rensburg and B. Miller JJ.A., August 8, 2019. Digest No. TLD-September232019010