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EA hit with class action lawsuit in Canada over loot box usage

EA hit with class action lawsuit in Canada over loot box usage

October 22, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

A class action lawsuit has been filed against EA in Canada accusing the publisher of breaching the country's Criminal Code by including loot boxes in its games. 

As spotted by gaming and esports law blog The Patch Notes, the lawsuit was filed on September 30, 2020 by Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore -- residents based in Ontario and British Columbia, respectively -- who claim that EA has been operating an illegal gambling system by selling loot boxes in franchises like Madden, FIFA, NHL, NBA Live, Mass Effect, Battlefield, and more. 

The fact the lawsuit is a class action is notable, as it means the plaintiffs aren't just suing on their own behalf, but on behalf of everybody in Canada who had purchased a loot box in an EA title since 2008. 

"By offering loot boxes through its games, the plaintiffs are essentially claiming that EA is operating an unlicensed gambling business, in breach of the aforementioned Criminal Code and other statutes. They are also claiming EA is liable to them at common law, including in unjust enrichment," reads the blog post, written by tech and video game lawyer Marius Adomnica. 

"The plaintiffs are also alleging the way in which EA has implemented loot boxes, including not publishing the odds of winning prizes, and making using them semi-necessary for progression, breached various consumer protection statutes, including the BC Consumer Protection Act."

Adomnica notes that the lawsuit is "legit," and is being handled by a well-respected law firm in British Columbia. "This is not a self-represented litigant filing a nuisance lawsuit," they continue, "but a well-pled claim brought by an experienced legal team who specializes in going after large corporations for stuff like this."

They also point out that EA could be forced to pay "a lot" in damages if the lawsuit succeeds, and could even be told to pay back everything its made from loot box sales since 2008. For more details and insights on the lawsuit, be sure to check out the full blog post.

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