Details of the Case

High 5 Casino and High 5 Vegas are social gaming apps that provide players with free virtual coins upon registration. Once the virtual coins are used, players can purchase more with real money. Larsen reportedly spent $7,470.50 while playing games via the apps.
In the filing, Larsen claimed the applications promoted illegal gambling because players used real money to purchase more coins. The operator, High 5 Games, argued that players do not have to spend real money to play since free coins are provided upon signup and periodically via promotions.

In her ruling, Cartright referred to previous arguments that the technicality pointed out by High 5 Games does not matter because players can only play regularly if they pay for more coins. The law in Washington is different from that in other states in that it considers virtual currency a thing of value, even if it cannot be redeemed for cash.

High 5 Games offers free gaming, but users can pay for more chips. The lawsuit states that consumers bet to earn more chips than they would otherwise need to purchase.

RMLG Applies

The judge ruled that RMLGA applies, as it says that persons losing money or anything of value on any illegal gambling games shall have a cause of action to recover from the proprietor who benefited from the loss.

Because the filing is a class action lawsuit, anyone who purchased virtual currency for one of the High 5 apps in the state of Washington after April 9, 2014, may qualify for damage. Information provided by associated companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google showed that from 2014 to 2023, over $21 million was spent on the apps in Washington.

The judge stated that the figure is not definitive and wants damages to be determined by a jury after further discovery. High 5 Games has stated that it has tried to stop offering services in Washington by blocking players with geolocation software and asking for confirmation of a physical home address.