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Author Topic: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.  (Read 4075 times)

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JTchinoy

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Sorry, but I need to get that spam out of the tournament thread.

For all of those who think that making people pay for tournaments illegal, and all of those who want to voice their opinion on the subject, post here.

According to the US federal law, gambling is legal in the US but is under the discretion of each state.

According to California state law, as of 1999, it is explicitly stated that competitions of "sport, skill, power or endurance" don't constitute a "contest".  The definition of a "contest" or "sweepstake" in the article are what are allowed. 

Also looking around the same page/ article that was linked in the tournament thread, there is actually no explicit statement against a tournament with entrance fees that is a competition of "sport, skill, power, or endurance".

Explicitly within the California law, it only refers to gambling games of the sort that require chance of a degree as illegal.  This is the genre of poker, bingo, and slot machines.  Essentially "casino" games.  These games within California must be for charity causes, non-profit, or cleared by the state to be held.

By the definition I got from wikipedia (don't give me that wikipedia isn't reliable BS, it's just a definition), gambling is, however, defined as placing any money on a given event with unknown outcomes with the general goal of making more money.  There's nothing in the definition about gambling being a bet on random chance.

By this definition, yes tournament entrance fees are gambling.   They are, however, not explicitly planned in the wording of California gambling laws.  It only states that tournaments of "sport, skill, power and endurance" don't constitute a competition/ sweepstakes.

Given all of this information, make your decision if tournament fees are illegal.  Even if they are illegal, however, should we care?  I grew up entering tournaments, be it for magic cards or DDR or Tekken, and I'm pretty sure that nobody ever considers a tournament with entrance fees as gambling.  All of the tournaments I've entered had tangible.

DON'T POST IN THE TOURNAMENT THREAD ANYMORE ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.
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otakuya

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 12:21:46 PM »

Tournaments on games are merely organized competitions. Even if there wasn't a physical prize to the top finishers, I'm sure gamer pride is worth much more.

Tournament fees are used for the company's, owner's, governing body's, (or in this case) the convention's fees to rent the machines, power them up, have a place to play, and maintain the machines until it's time to return them. It's completely optional to charge entrance fees, but the organizers have to consider their budget. FanimeCon isn't exactly a billion dollar industry (at least, not that I know of) and does have a limited budget, as do most (if not all) of us.
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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 01:05:49 PM »

Paying a Tornament entry fee is not gambling. If it was, then MLG would be gambling. You're not really gambling anything. You pay, you play, and you might win, getting you a prize. The entry fee is for more or less to pay for expenses  such as electricity, equipment, and the like, and for the people running the tournament. Simply put, if paying to enter a tournament is gambling, then paying to play a game at Chunky Cheese for tickets is GAMBLING.
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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 01:07:04 PM »

Even if there wasn't a physical prize to the top finishers, I'm sure gamer pride is worth much more.
And yes, Gamer pride is worth far more...
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MPLe

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 05:14:00 PM »

I'm not sure what the exact law quotes are, but it's pretty much if you're entering a competition that is based on skill, it's legal; if it's random, it's illegal. It's still gambling.

And MLG is gambling; however, it's not illegal gambling. Your team (or whoever their sponsors are) are paying money in order to win money and prizes. The bragging rights does come with that though. ;)

You guys are assuming that 'gambling' itself is a legal act, when it's not.
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Chewie

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2008, 06:35:51 PM »

You aren't betting on who will win if you take money for entry fees. You are taking money to offset the out of pocket expenses you incur. Whether it be the system rentals, replacing something broken, paying staff or for prizes. It's not gambling.

It's common sense and something that shouldn't even have been brought up.

If you take entry fees, it's legal. Period.
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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2008, 06:39:21 PM »

...
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 03:03:56 AM by Chewie »
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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2008, 10:48:02 PM »

You aren't betting on who will win if you take money for entry fees. You are taking money to offset the out of pocket expenses you incur. Whether it be the system rentals, replacing something broken, paying staff or for prizes. It's not gambling.

It's common sense and something that shouldn't even have been brought up.

If you take entry fees, it's legal. Period.
Exactly
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JTchinoy

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2008, 12:29:35 AM »

Surprised nobody is going for tournament fees is illegal.  Oh well. :D
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Chewie

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2008, 03:03:22 AM »

Uhm, dunno how I posted and quoted myself at the same exact time.

Not my doing. Lol
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JTchinoy

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2008, 10:25:23 AM »

hacks!!!
*banned*
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HentaiTentacleDemon

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 10:26:41 AM »

i actually want an entry fee, but i'm just worried that if u guys get busted, that everyone is gonna be pointing the figure at me.
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JTchinoy

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2008, 11:07:43 AM »

It would've been the responsibility of me, as the tournament coordinator, if that happened as it would've been of my own choice that we had fees.

This is, however, a Fanime E-gaming tournament.  I don't expect many pro players and want as many people (pro, amateur, noob, whatever) as possible to enter.  Even if we had entrance fees, that would do nothing more than segregate prospective entrants into those who feel they can seriously win and the amateurs who are doubtful.  If it's free, it doesn't do any harm for amateur players to enter as they don't lose any money.  So I am expecting most of these tournaments to have novice-amateur players who just want to have some fun and attempt to win. :)
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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2008, 12:40:49 PM »

u could always do a $1 tourney or $2.
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MPLe

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2008, 12:48:51 PM »

It would've been the responsibility of me, as the tournament coordinator, if that happened as it would've been of my own choice that we had fees.

This is, however, a Fanime E-gaming tournament.  I don't expect many pro players and want as many people (pro, amateur, noob, whatever) as possible to enter.  Even if we had entrance fees, that would do nothing more than segregate prospective entrants into those who feel they can seriously win and the amateurs who are doubtful.  If it's free, it doesn't do any harm for amateur players to enter as they don't lose any money.  So I am expecting most of these tournaments to have novice-amateur players who just want to have some fun and attempt to win. :)
Regardless of price, you will always get the people that don't want to pay to enter a tournament (for various reasons). It's also that most people (that I've talked about 'paid entry tournaments' to in the past) have stated that they wouldn't want to pay a fee because they're already paying to get into FanimeCon.

BTW, I'm sure that Legal and Finance wants to talk to you if you are planning to have paid-entry tournaments. ;)
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JTchinoy

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Re: Are Entrance Fees for tournaments illegal? Does it matter? Discuss.
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2008, 01:10:18 PM »

u could always do a $1 tourney or $2.

Like I said, it's for fanime.

If I wanted to do a paid tournament, it wouldn't be at fanime.
A tournament where I pay is normally a tournament where entrance fees go to the winner prize.  Since fanime will be giving sponsored prizes (which is awesome), there's no point in making entrants pay more.  Just enter one of the import games and claim that sexy $70 credit to japan gaming. ;)
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