eSports competitions have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade.

Prizes in the top eSports tournaments have reached tens of millions of dollars. The major tournaments sell out arenas and are streamed for more than a million viewers.

Ultimately eSports means “competitive video gaming”. Therefore, it is essential that in Canada, if players or teams are playing video games against each other for prizes, those video games must be games of skill to legally offer a platform for players to compete for prizes. 

In the United States, each state has its own rules about what is considered a game of skill, including the predominance test (i.e., does the game have predominantly more chance or more skill), and the material element test (i.e., does chance play a material role in determining a game’s outcome). 

In Canada, because gaming is federally regulated, we have one set of rules that all provinces must follow. The test was first set out in the 1968 Supreme Court case Ross, Banks and Dyson v. The Queen, [1968] SCR 786 and built on through subsequent cases. Essentially, we must examine the type of chance present in a game. Does the video game rely on a systematic resort to chance or the unpredictables that may occasionally defeat skill?   

If you’re offering a platform for players to play video games against each other, you should chat with Jack. He will learn about your business model and review how it fits in with Canadian gaming laws.

Looking for documentation to provide to potential investors? Jack will provide you with a risk analysis setting out the legal and practical risks of your eSports platform. Need a letter for payment processors or advertisers? He’s happy to help. Looking for assistance in other jurisdictions? Jack will leverage his network to help you find the right person.

Representative Work in eSports

Advised a start-up eSports platform to ensure that its business model complied with the Canadian Criminal Code
Provided a high-level overview of states in which eSports are legal
Provided an overview of key jurisdictions on behalf of a start-up eSports platform

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Gaming is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. Jack will help you navigate the Canadian landscape and leverage his experience and connections in other jurisdictions.