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Nintendo Sued Over Pokemon Gambling Addiction

CmdrTaco posted about 15 years ago | from the you-gotta-be-kidding dept.

Games 261

Brain00666 writes "Two parents and their kids are suing Nintendo, claiming that their Pokemon cards "are turning them into pint-sized gamblers." Apparently they're asserting that they were "forced" to spend thousands of dollars to get rare cards." If they win, I'm totally going after Wizards of the Coast ;)

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Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659810)

Wasnt this suit allready dropped?

Can't wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659812)

I can't wait until they get on Larry King or Rivera or some other talk show and get ripped to shreds. This is dumb enough to get ridiculed heavily by the mainstream press.

Beanie Babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659818)

I'm suprised something like this hasn't popped up over the Beanie Baby craze...

Wizards of the Coast makes the Pokeman cards.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659839)

Going after nintendo probably won't get you very far.....Wizards of the coast are the ones who make them.

Re:Interesting, but probably not quite there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659840)

umm, haven't baseball cards been packaged with randomly more intrinsically valuable cards just like Magic cards and these Pokemon cards? Same thing, publish them en masse, and the value goes down. If the ball player decides to suck, the value goes down. Kids have been gambling like this for decades.

Re:There's more cool stuff about this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659841)

Their clients should sue for incompetence

Re:Nintendo files counter-suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659842)

goomba = mushroom
koopa = turtle/duck things

you've mixed your terms. :)

Re:Uhh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659843)

Wow, what a wonderful parent you would make. I don't approve of what this woman is doing, but the way you put it says "My kid smokes crack, but hell, he buys it with his own money. Let him do what he wants with it."

Re:Similiar suites didn't fly either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659844)

From what I can recall about that suit, it's the same law firm that is currently suing Nintendo. As for me, I'll be calling them on Monday for my Cracker Jack lawsuit. The box *clearly* says "Prize inside!" and all I got was some crummy tattoo.

$20 guaranteed note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659845)

Theoretically a $20 bill is guaranteed by the United States Treasury to be worth $20. If it's badly damaged but still recognizeable as a $20 bill you could exchange it for a new one. Bet you won't get the same deal from Nintendo.

Re:The warnings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659846)

Were not trying to imply that your are stupid. Those warnings are there for those that are...Although I would hope that nobody is really dumb enough to use a hair drier while taking shower.

Re:I think they do have a point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659847)

Are you serious? To accumulate "several thousand dollars" they'd have to save a dollar for every day of their life since they were born.

Re:Parents can stop it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659848)

Kids probably cant, thats why they have parents. There is no reason at all the parents couldnt have stoped all this. As for saving there money, most that money they spent was from the parents. All they have to do is say no.

Re: suing Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659851)

Wow! All I can say is opportunists at their best.

nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659852)

wow cant wait for the kids to win then i can sue the makers of the beanie babies for forcing me to spend hundreds of dollars to collect rare no longer made beanie babies yea right like they forced me i'm a humanbeing with a mind of my own not a robot nobody forces me todo anything i dont WANT todo,next then I'll sue baseball card makers all of them I spent thousands buying rare rookie cards. This is a joke no court in their right mind would rule against nintendo in this so called case.

Time to clean the gene pool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659854)

Why oh why couldn't there be a law allowing us to institutionalize people like this? Or better yet why don't we just create a soviet style labor camp in Alaska for the stupid lawyers and plantifs that make up these cases. *Even better* why don't we swap their assets with the illegal immigrants pooring over the boarder each day that will actually do hard work and make *THEM* work in the fields for slave wages. (I was being mostly sarcastic, but something seriously needs to be done about these people)

Re:Look at Tobacco Lawsuits (0)

MassacrE (763) | about 15 years ago | (#1659864)

Me. I'm still left. I'm cool, dude.

Nah... other way around. WoTC ate TSR. [nt] (0)

theGnome (93737) | about 15 years ago | (#1659865)

:
- dom

there are so many things wrong here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659869)

1) nintendo doesn't make the cards, Wizards of the Coast did.
2) Wizards of the Coast was just bought out by Hasbro
3) RICO isn't a civil tort, it's a federal criminal statute.

If it was an illegal gambling operation wouldn't that be for prosecutors to charge, not civil attorneys?

Re:Yes we get the point. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1659870)

Most of us here get the point. Doing this type of card trading has gone on for ages, I remember as a kid buying baseball cards hoping to get a rare one, and that was a long time ago. That is no difference than these cards. The only reward that they are getting is what there friends give them. The card makers are not giving these kids money or anything for getting a rare card. There friend sare. So the maker of these cards are not gulity of gambling.

"Forced"? (1)

krs (407) | about 15 years ago | (#1659872)

They were not forced to do anything. If the parents felt it may have let to gambling type of behaviour, they should have stopped the kids from participating in such activities. Why are the suing Nintendo? I'll never understand this American mentality.

Re:Intresting.... (1)

William Tanksley (1752) | about 15 years ago | (#1659880)

That's a great idea (and a really cool .sig).

Unfortunately, I *think* signing up with so many would violate most of the firms' contracts... Of course, if you have enough money they'll write new contracts for you.

I do think that it would work, though! Scary. Of course, it doesn't protect you from criminal charges... And anyone can get nailed by Tax Evasion (heck, I evade all the taxes I can! ;-).

-Billy

Re:Similiar suites (same lawyers) didn't flyeither (1)

William Tanksley (1752) | about 15 years ago | (#1659881)

Accrding to the Union Tribune article about this suit, it is the same lawyer firm. So you're not just seeing things.

:-)

-Billy

They got to be kidding (1)

suprax (2463) | about 15 years ago | (#1659882)

This _has_ to be a joke, because if it isn't, then thousands of companies are left open to be sued over stuff like this. Nintendo is just doing something to sell their cards, and they are right in doing it.

--
Scott Miga

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

Improv (2467) | about 15 years ago | (#1659884)

Why could it possibly be wrong? If the gambler
chooses to behave suboptimally (i.e. use
bad strategy), then the results are their
responsibility. WRT Nintendo and the kids,
the kids arn't suffering -- it's the parents
money that's being spent, all because they're
giving it to their kids. Where is nintendo doing
wrong?
WRT worth, the pokemon cards arn't worthless
pieces of cardboard any more than a twenty dollar
bill is a worthless piece of green paper. Value
is based on perception.

Yet another proof US courts are a joke (1)

RelliK (4466) | about 15 years ago | (#1659889)

So a couple of kids are suing Nintendo because they were "forced" to buy these cards??? Uhhm, don't you have to be 18 or something? Do they parents know they are doing this?... oh.. wait... they do! Nice going!

Before this story appeared, I thought the funniest lawsuit was the one in which a woman sued the pharmaceutical company because she ate contraceptive jelly and still got pregnant... I guess we have a new winner.

Re:Interesting, but probably not quite there. (1)

Magus311X (5823) | about 15 years ago | (#1659890)

Rarity in trading cards is really not a new thing. A few examples:

WotC's Magic: the Gathering. I believe in the old 15-card boosters at one point there were 11 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare per booster. Rarity is somewhat distributed equally so in a 210-card set you might have 70 rare cards. So, from just the numbers you'd hafta go through 72 packs, like 2 boxes or so, for rare card X that you oh so needed for your deck.

This was like years ago with 4th edition. Before getting rare card X was a true trial and the odds were far worse. Usually I'd go out and buy the single or trade some rather than try to get lucky.

Yet even before this, sports cards were truly notorious for this. I remember some extremely rare inserts having odds as high as 1 in a several thousand packs. Oh I remember spending at one point $20 per pack of Topps Finest to pull a Ripken that at one point was worth $20,000+. I'd prolly spend at least $20,000 before I pulled the card probably. I was probably better off playing the state's daily number drawing.

So why does this surface now somewhat shocks me and somewhat doesn't. I'm surprised because the idea or inserts and rarity of certain cards has existed for 10 years and change now. Yet I'm not that dumbfounded because nowadays you can sue for anything.

Only thing that lingers is supposedly these kids spent thousands of dollars? Where'd they get this munny, and can I have some?

Re:"Forced"? (1)

Magus311X (5823) | about 15 years ago | (#1659891)

I agree. The following is straight from the article:

"... say they were forced to empty their piggy banks to buy endless packs of low-value cards in the hope of buying a rare one. ..."

Unless someone from WotC or NOA was holding a gun to their head or being generally threatening that's not that valid a statement.

In addition, I don't find marked cardbaord to be much of an investment. Notice the emphasis on "low-value cards". If you want value, go invest in a reliable mutual fund or buy some "pillow" stocks and sleep easy.

Re:Nintendo files counter-suit (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1659894)

*cough* Well, I heard Mario and his family were in a detox center after they ate some of the "powerup" mushrooms. 'course word has it they're gonna sue Kooba for that as soon as they recover.

--

Re:Wizards of the Coast makes the Pokeman cards... (1)

deusx (8442) | about 15 years ago | (#1659897)

Yeah, but it's Nintendo's concept, franchise, and brand, and I'll bet you that they make most of the money from it. All the other games, cartoons, and merchandise are all just self-perpetuating sales around that product, which centers around the slogan:

"Gotta catch 'em all!"

WoTC didn't start the fire.

But then again, I don't think there is a fire after all. Just a genius marketing blitz parents should be steering their kids away from.

Re:... (1)

Splat (9175) | about 15 years ago | (#1659898)

Peach should sue for sexual discrimination and libel too. Not only is she always portrayed as the "helpless" Princess who needs rescuing, they had the nerve to call her TOADSTOOL here in America. Ladies and gentleman, this is a clearcut case of our video game mascots not getting the respect they deserve. Peach will be represented by Toad, who has also filed suits on behalf of the Goombas for hate crimes.

And then Hasbro bought them both. (1)

jonask (9394) | about 15 years ago | (#1659900)

http://www.wizards.com/News/pressrelease.asp?19990 909a

Another legal black mark (1)

RayChuang (10181) | about 15 years ago | (#1659902)

It's lawsuits like that make people even like the legal profession even LESS. :-/

I think this case will be tossed out as a frivious lawsuit. Those lawyers need to heed the words of William Shatner and "get a life."

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

loki7 (11496) | about 15 years ago | (#1659909)

That's the whole basis of gambling, actually. The gambler's debt keeps increasing, so they become more and more desperate for the big win. The casino/Nintendo encourages it by ensuring that there are enough mid value prizes awarded to keep the gambler's hopes alive of recovering their investment.

Parental supervision is probably the best answer to this problem, but that doesn't mean that what Nintendo's doing isn't wrong, too.

It's one thing to lure adults into gambling, but kids deserve protection from this. Nintendo has an entire staff of child psychologists -- their business depends on knowing what children like. They know exactly how to manipulate kids into spending all their money on worthless pieces of cardboard. That's just not right.

Are children responsible? (1)

loki7 (11496) | about 15 years ago | (#1659910)

I'm an adult, and I'm responsible for my own behaviour. But you can't apply the same standard to a 9 year old. The point of the lawsuit is that this is a gambling product specifically targeted at children.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

loki7 (11496) | about 15 years ago | (#1659911)

I shouldn't have said worthless. What I meant was inexpensive. The cards cost Nintendo almost nothing to produce, so the profit margin is quite impressive.

Re: you comparison to Malibu Barbie. There is a bit of a difference. Every Malibu Barbie package contains exactly the same items. No matter how many of them you buy, you'll never find the rare hermaphroditic Barbie doll. So there's no element of gambling involved.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

loki7 (11496) | about 15 years ago | (#1659912)

>Why could it possibly be wrong?

Because the gambler in this case is 9 years old. If the target audience were older I'd have no problem with this. Encouraging kids to gamble is just plain wrong.

You have GOT to be kidding me. (1)

FallLine (12211) | about 15 years ago | (#1659915)


This is a frivolous law suit, if I've ever seen one. And RICO, wtf. This is a law designed for the mafia. It also allows those injured by the crimes to sue for treble (3x) damages. Hmmm, I wonder what the motivation here is.

Even if you assume it was Nintendo's objective to get these kids 'hooked', whatever happened to parental responsibility? And what I really want to know is, why do kids in 4th grade have "thousands" of dollars to blow. When I was a kid I certainly had nothing near this, and it certainly wasn't for want of money.

I think they do have a point. (1)

choo (14599) | about 15 years ago | (#1659916)

I think they do have a point. Kids can't be expected to make rational calculations about expected loss or profit. Lotteries that target kids are wrong, if not outright illegal. As for why the parents didn't know or couldn't stop their kids from spending thousands of dollars on these cards, I think that's possible;I remember as a child, kids in class would scrimp and save their pocket money for the craze of the time, or gamble with other kids etc.. There were even cases of outright theft.

Let me get this straight... (1)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1659921)

They spent thousands of dollars trying to get a card "that could be sold for up to $100".
Obviously I'd never refer to someone I don't know as a "moron", but...

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1659922)

I'm not sure about your definition of 'worthless'. I'd consider a signed first edition of American Psycho to be worthless, but someone who owned a copy would probably think the same of my signed first edition of Maps in a Mirror.
If the kids want it, it has worth.

Of course, that's not to say I disagree with you. But neither do I think Nintendo are doing anything that no other toy company is doing; the only difference is that a booster pack of Pokemon cards is a lot cheaper than a Malibu Stacy house, and therefore the kids can usually pay for it without requests for additional funding.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1659923)

Worthless or inexpensive, it amounts to the same thing. The world is filled with crap that costs nothing to make but sells for ridiculous amounts. Take Nike. Neither to I think that gambling is really an issue. For a start, it's not just accepted, it's expected. I used to work in a comic shop that also sold every type of trading card imaginable, and we sold fewer of the ones that didn't have some ridiculous card that was signed, kissed, hollow, embossed or covered in chronotron particles.
So the real issue is: should these be sold to kids? I don't see anything wrong with this; the solution, as others have pointed out, is parental control. Kids will always want more stuff than they have; it's up to the parents to decide which worthless piece of crap will make them happiest, or to let them decided for themselves on a fixed budget.

Re:Yet another proof US courts are a joke (1)

m_vand (18198) | about 15 years ago | (#1659925)

Do you have a cite for this?

Re:... (1)

the_tsi (19767) | about 15 years ago | (#1659927)

> the phone company is trying to get an injunction against me

I'd imagine that of all those mentioned, the phone company *loves* you. Especially if you're on a metered phone plan or are paying them for DSL.

I know they love me and my addiction to /.. :)

-Chris

WoTC and TSR? (1)

Levine (22596) | about 15 years ago | (#1659928)

Wasn't WoTC bought by TSR a little while back? If so, I'm sure they've got plenty of money to go around. $29.95 for a 60 page D&D guide? Somewhere, the magic left.

Levine

Re:Addiction is fine; this is about gambling (1)

That Bajan Guy (25703) | about 15 years ago | (#1659929)

In which case, WoTC should have had this suit against them ages ago when MtG came out. You would buy a booster pack, and there was a chance that you got a nice rare card. You didn't have to sell it, the market didn't have to make it expensive. Same applies here. There is nothing that says you must sell a rare card for $xx, it is entirely your choice. And as others have pointed out, the parents could have easily realised that their children were spending an excessive amount of money on game cards. Also, what happened to "I'll give you 4 Creeps for a Sacred"? (FF8 anyone?)

capitalism gone mad... (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | about 15 years ago | (#1659945)

I remember once hearing that one of the American mottoes came down to strive for money... please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, this lawsuit just shows how this kind of view is open to exploitation...

If I do something wrong then I am willing to take the full blame for it. I'm only 17 so that's happened a fair bit so far ;). However why is it that in America it seems so difficult to be accountable for ones actions ? Seen the South Park movie ? Funny but the point of the "Blame Canada" campaign rings so true.

I live in England and I have been to the United States twice now. I did quite like it there apart from the constant implication that I was stupid... in the bathroom of my hotel there's a hairdryer with the warning "WARNING ! Do not use in shower". No shit Sherlock, I though it was the hairdryers that wern't working...
... I carried on to a local supermarket where I took a look at the microwave foods - "WARNING ! May be hot after cooking". Huh ? Is that not really the defnintion in the first place.

Recently I saw a program with various MPs on it talking about how the Tobacco companies are now being sued... despite the fact that we've all known for the last twenty-five years that smoking is not good for you... be honest, we have. So when I smoke I know it is doing me damage *but* that is my choice and if in twenty years time I get cancer I will accept full responsibility - it was my fault.

So, the moral to this long and winding post ? Get your laws sorted out and make money-grabbing stupidity punishable by death.

Re:Yet another proof US courts are a joke (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | about 15 years ago | (#1659946)

That's definatly number one... I personally like the one about the man who got so drunk in a bar that he fell off his stoll and broke the bottom of his spine thus being paralysed from the waist down... he sued the bar landlord for serving him in the first place... and won.

Then there's the one about the old lady who had taken her dog for a walk when they were suddenly rained upon. Getting home, she felt so sorry for the darling animal she did what any self-respecting animal lover would do - microwaved it... she won...

Re:Yet another proof US courts are a joke (1)

The_Jazzman (45650) | about 15 years ago | (#1659947)

Yep and she won... I can kind of see why because as I remember she was really old and so you know what old people are like with technology ;)

etrade (1)

Speef (48687) | about 15 years ago | (#1659948)

well hey, I should sue etrade for my daytrading addiction which forced me to loose thousands of dollars! [:

This is new? Sports Cards? (1)

Rix (54095) | about 15 years ago | (#1659951)

This is exactly how trading cards work, you have a vast amount of "common" cards worth almost nothing. Packs contain mostly common cards, but you might get lucky and get a rair one worth something. If you want a complete collection, you can either buy, or trade your way there. It gives many children their first experience in an economic system, and is a valuable experience.
Cheers,

Rick Kirkland

Re:... (1)

vectro (54263) | about 15 years ago | (#1659952)

Well, no, not really. If you're not on a metered plan, they'd just assume you _don't_ use it. Particularly on something like DSL, which is packet switched - The less you use it, the less traffic on their networks.

Re:Suing for Addiction? Ha! (1)

vectro (54263) | about 15 years ago | (#1659953)

It's important to note that you have always been able to sue anyone, for any reason.

"I sue you because I don't like your haircut!" - dosen't mean you'll win. In many cases, though, tho companies will settle rather than pay expensive attorney's fees. :\

Re:Ummm... (1)

DAVEO (61670) | about 15 years ago | (#1659962)

daveo believes you are talking of the recent baseball card suits, which have been dismissed. nintendo has been citing these as justification, and has quite a legal precedent.

Re:Yet another proof US courts are a joke (1)

DAVEO (61670) | about 15 years ago | (#1659963)

but who did she sue? the microwave company perhaps?

Re:capitalism gone mad... (1)

DAVEO (61670) | about 15 years ago | (#1659964)

the companies did not believe you are stupid, it is only that, unfortunately, they must put these warnings on because otherwise similar lawsuits will be won, however ridiculous it is. daveo thinks that people who knowingly file lawsuits like this, with no damages taken, just to gain exposure and profit, should be prosecuted or pay for legal fees.

Uhh yeah (1)

toast0 (63707) | about 15 years ago | (#1659968)

if the kids have the money, they can do what they want w/ it, if the kids don't have the money, the parents shouldn't spend theirs instead.

sad thing is, they'll probably get a chunk of money out of this, enough to get all the pokemon cards they want


Re:Uhh yeah (1)

toast0 (63707) | about 15 years ago | (#1659970)

well hey, it would be _her(gender neutral)_ life, and i'd try to influence her to think in generally the same way as i do about those kinds of things, and i doubt she'd have the kind of money for drugs, but if she can get over all that adversity in such a way as to do crack, but hide it from me, then she's showing a lot of skills needed for the real world (she had to get the money somewhere, she found a suplier, and she avoided the feds(err her parents), and probably can fend for herself anyhow, so why not?

that being said, if i found out, i'm sure i'd try to get her to stop, but, if i can't then should i sue the crack grower?

(and no, i'm not expecting to be a parent for a long time yet)

Re:WoTC and TSR? (1)

norton_I (64015) | about 15 years ago | (#1659971)

Other way around. WoTC bought TSR

Get the Laywers (1)

banfield (68678) | about 15 years ago | (#1659973)

File a class action after every laywer that has ever filed a class action suit. Your Honor, because of my fear as being named as a defendent in a call action suit, I couldn't leave my house. It is not the fault of these people the law suits get filed they are just the clinically stupid bait for swarms of these lawyers. pretty soon we will have to sign a waiver for everything.


Banfield

Pavlov's Dog vs. Schrodinger's Cat

Re:I think they do have a point. (1)

InSaNe ASyLuM (70500) | about 15 years ago | (#1659974)

And we wonder why these kind of lawsuits so often succeed. I just pray that the courts have a bit more sense in this matter. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can rationalize the most ridiculous things.

No kidding. (1)

G-Man (79561) | about 15 years ago | (#1659976)

And what "addict" poses for a picture happily clutching the object of their obsession? I don't remember any of the tobacco victims cheerily taking a drag off a Marlboro. C'mon folks, at least go for the forlorn Look-what-they've-done-to-me sympathy shot.

What I want to know is who can I sue? All this rampant stupidity and greed is causing me great mental anguish...

Re:And then Hasbro bought them both. (1)

Rax Morgant (81660) | about 15 years ago | (#1659978)

the hideousness of this situation is as follows:

Magic The Gathering, up until 4th edition, was a wonderful concept and game. I enjoyed it very much. Then abilities such as shadow, flanking, phasing etc were added to make it about money. Holographic cards made it about money. Preconstructed decks made4 it about money. Magic is now a waste (Ok, not a waste, but still....)

AD&D. 1st edition (found the books at a yard sale $1 a piece) was insane. Good stuff. 2nd edition, while smacking of commercialism, still good stuff. 3rd edition.... do you realize how many books you need to play??? ::sigh:: thus dies another RPG...

Pokemon. About $$ from the beginning. Bad from the beginning (and I have tried.)

that's all....
rax morgant

Re:WoTC and TSR? (1)

Maul (83993) | about 15 years ago | (#1659984)

No, it was the other way around. WoTC bought out TSR, and they also bought a bunch of other, smaller gaming companies. These smaller companies still act independently, however.

Suing for Addiction? Ha! (1)

tsellat (90150) | about 15 years ago | (#1659991)

Suing over addiction in one form or another has gotten pretty old 'bout now.
Sure, the lawsuit for cigarette (sp?) addiction was nice but in this case, these guys voluntarily go out and buy tons of cards for their personal enjoyment.
If this keeps up, don't be surprised to see lawsuits over E-bay addition, or TV addiction (for some reason, I can imagine a pretty good argument for that).
These days, you can sue pretty much anybody.
Oh well...

Are you responsible? (1)

KDan (90353) | about 15 years ago | (#1659994)

Well, this kinda relaunches the ages-old debate, doesn't it? Are you responsible for your passion or not? I believe you are responsible for everything you do - excepting the case of being drug-forced to tell something. If you are weak-willed enough to go and spend all your money on game cards, well tough luck. Why should somebody else have to pay for your own weaknesses?

If someone digs a hole and you willingly jump in it, are you going to sue the guy who dug the hole because you broke your leg?

Daniel

Re:Are children responsible? (1)

KDan (90353) | about 15 years ago | (#1659995)

Aha... but where do the children get their money? If they're smart enough to make thousands of dollars, they're smart enough to be responsible for their acts. If they're not, and their parents gave them the money, then the parents are actually buying the cards. And the parents are totally responsible for their acts, aren't they?

Daniel

No hermaphroditic Barbie? (1)

theGnome (93737) | about 15 years ago | (#1660000)

Damn... there's a bunch of time and money wasted. *stomps off in disgust* - dom
- dom

Re:Look at Tobacco Lawsuits (1)

Daemen (93796) | about 15 years ago | (#1660001)

I'd like to belive that nintendo will win simply because its a ridiculous case... but i've lost all faith in the american legal system... and most of it citizens... and its government... humm whats left?

Re:Interesting, but probably not quite there. (1)

Mister Attack (95347) | about 15 years ago | (#1660004)

Yes, the cards could drop in value if the company started printing rare cards en masse. But if this happened, people would be suing the company left and right on the pretext that the company knew that they would be devaluing the cards. In fact, wasn't a lawsuit threatened when the Postal Service dicided to start reprinting certain rare commemorative stamps? Not that this is a good ground for a lawsuit, but then, neither is the idea that these kids are "addicted" to pokemon cards. That makes $0.04 on this topic

Where do grade 4 kids get 'several thousands...' (1)

DarkSyd (95361) | about 15 years ago | (#1660006)

Cripes, I remember having a rough time coming up with cash for comic books on a regular basis. Maybe they shouldn't have had access to their education fund until they were old enough to figure crap like this out...or at least be legally responsible for it.

Just say no! (2)

talks_to_birds (2488) | about 15 years ago | (#1660021)

What? These kids have spent "..thousands of dollars.." Where did the money come from? Their folks, of course. And did their parents not know that any of this was happening? Oh, of course not!

Not!

The ear-to-ear grins on the mothers and the kids says it all: "We know exactly what we're doing, and we're gonna make a bundle and get famous too!"

And of course you can always get some idiot attorney to buy in to this kinda deal...

t_t_b [finchhaven.com]
--

In a related story.... (2)

Accipiter (8228) | about 15 years ago | (#1660023)

OAKLAND, CA-- In a shocking move following the Nintendo Pokemon scandal, Margaret Smith sued Dreyer's, Inc., manufacturer of the famous Edy's Grand® Ice Cream. Smith, 43, claims the frozen treat is too addictive, and is turning her son Jimmy into "a lazy, fat, Ice Cream eating slob."

"No matter what he's doing, he always has a tub of that ice cream in front of him." claims Smith. Reportedly, the 'Mint Chocolate Chips!®' flavor is the preferred flavor of 17 year-old Jimmy, who added: "I just like it. I don't see what the big deal is." The addictive properties on this particular flavor of ice cream have yet to be studied, as this is the first documented case. Smith insists, however, that it's far too addicting, and warrants a lawsuit.

Anne Johnson, spokesperson for Dreyer's, declined an interview, but issued a press release stating "We at Dreyer's are comitted to making the finest Ice Cream available, and we want our customers to be delighted with our products. A situation like this makes us particularly sympathetic, however we have not heard any similar complaints regarding any of our products."

"Horsesh--" says Smith. "They make this stuff addictive on purpose, so people will like it and buy more." When asked if she thought that was the point, Smith simply stated "Absolutely not." She continued: "My son comes home from school, goes to the freezer, and grabs the container. Then he sits down at the computer and spoons it into his mouth while programming. He's lazy!"

Dreyer's executives were not available for comment.

-- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

If not, the parents are! (2)

deusx (8442) | about 15 years ago | (#1660024)

Children should be responsible, to the extent that they are able. But I recognize that, at certain stages of development children are not quite yet mature enough to handle it.

In that case, the PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE.

Read the story, which mentions the kids are around 9 years old. Where in the hell do kids get the "thousands of dollars" they were "forced" to spend? The story says they "emptied their piggy banks" but I think that's just a euphemism-- given child labor laws, I doubt these piggy banks could have contained much, and thus I bet their money came from adults.

So, why weren't the parents saying no? If the kids were turned into gambling addicts, its the parents who did it. The money burning characteristics of collectable card games notwithstanding, no one FORCES one to buy them.

And no one certainly forced the parents to allow their children so much money to do so!

Wizards of the Coast (2)

rangek (16645) | about 15 years ago | (#1660025)

If they win, I'm totally going after Wizards of the Coast ;)

If they win Wizards of the Coast won't have any money left for you to get.

From the article:

Court papers said Nintendo, along with U.S. distributor Wizards of the Coast....

This is getting nuts (2)

D_Nice (18143) | about 15 years ago | (#1660026)

I think that I am really sick and tired of reading about people who are suing for things that they should by no right have the ability to even have a say over. Suing Nintendo for including special cards in the packs with regular cards is obserd. Putting the special cards into the packs is what making buying the cards so much fun. I grew up collecting baseball cards and eventually basketball and football cards. In addition to the regular series or cards, there would be at least one special series. These cards were generally worth more money then the rest of the cards were, and yes they were randomly included in the packs with the regular cards. This was what made the whole experience fun. I couldn't wait to open up the and see if I got alittle something special in there, but I also couldn't wait to see if I got another Don Mattingly card in there. I hardly think that it would be right for me to sue Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, and Don Mattingly for that matter. I really do hope that the American leage system doesn't do something wrong and even give these people the time of day, but of course this is just my opinion and why would we really want to bring logic into American leage matters. We never have in the past.


This lawsuit stuff is getting RIDICULOUS. (2)

Surak (18578) | about 15 years ago | (#1660027)

This just furthers my case for the need in the U.S. for torte reform. Stupid lawsuits like this just tie up the legal system and cost taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars a year.

while we're at it, lets sue the sports card manufacturers. They do the same thing.

Hell, lets sue McDonalds. Those happy meals are probably just as addictive.

How about Ty? Didn't they retire beanie babies to make them more valuable?

Maybe I should sue my ISP while I'm at it. I spend more than 5 hours a day on the Internet, which according to a recent story on Slashdot qualifies me as an addict too.

Games companies = petty (2)

Hobbex (41473) | about 15 years ago | (#1660031)


Are you kidding, I'm going after my Postal company, they make the stamps and sell them after all, even releasing limited series stamps sometimes.

Or how about the government, they make all those soon to be rare coins, right?

-
/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

/. idea (2)

hellish (41773) | about 15 years ago | (#1660032)

slashdot needs a 'stupid lawsuits' topic.

If they win... (2)

ffatTony (63354) | about 15 years ago | (#1660036)

I'm gonna sue Nintendo for the pain in my thumb from 11 straight hours of Zelda-64.

Re:Interesting, but probably not quite there. (2)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1660037)

Is that gambling any more than crossing a street is? I've personally come a few feet from being run down, after carelessly expecting that a driver would *not* run a red light. {shrug} Or, I occasionally buy goods online -- and to an extent, I could be said to be gambling on trust in the other party, in the shipping / supply-chain, and so forth. Whatever we do is, to a degree, gambling. The question is where to draw the line.

Is purchasing any form of collectibles gambling? Or, for that matter, shares in, say, AT&T?

One facet that might be looked at is whether there is any intrinsic value besides resale. If Mr. Gates were to speculate in cars by randomly buying luxury vehicles only to sell them like new an hour later, does that mean that buying cars should be treated as gambling since it *could* be used as such? On the other hand, there's not that much use for, say, a round at video poker other than the mathematical expectation of a (negative) reward...

Not being into Pokemon, MtG or any other card game (well, except those that involve poker decks and jokers), I'm not able to claim either way: that they're useless except as commodities to trade/sell (and thus become a variation on currency, but one that's a lot less liquid or reliable), or no. If it's the former case, then it's not that much different than buying envelopes for, say, $10 ea that each may or may not have a larger amount of money in them. Now *that* would be more clearly gambling.

Re:there are so many things wrong here (2)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1660038)

Depends. If you're out to get somebody; want a lower standard of proof and fewer protections for the defendant; and wouldn't mind sharing in the proceeds, then civil suits aren't that unusual.

I remember there was a case (tossed out, methinks -- or at least hopes) where somebody tried to sue an off-shore 'Net gambling site, to annull her (considerable) losses, on the grounds that the gambling was illegal under US law. Talk about chutzpah... That's almost as good as the fellow who sued his own company for on-the-job injuries (and hired two lawyers, and so forth...)...

Re:Interesting, but probably not quite there. (2)

synthe (86919) | about 15 years ago | (#1660039)

the cards could drop in value if the company started printing rare cards en masse. But if this happened, people would be suing the company left and right on the pretext that the company knew that they would be devaluing the cards.

It was something like this that got me out of the M:TG market a few years ago. If I remember correctly, WotC released a new expansion that reprinted tons of the old cards from previous expansions, and the value of those old cards dropped like a stone. My previously $2000 collection of M:TG was instantly worth about $500. I got out while the getting was good, as I think WotC continued reprinting and instituting tournament rules that made the old cards useless for most players (who play based on tourney rules).

I don't recall any lawsuits over this, just lots of grumbling, and lots of people getting out of the game. I think that it was one of the worst decisions WotC made, and led to the general reduction of interest in M:TG nowadays.

Ahh, you forget... (2)

theGnome (93737) | about 15 years ago | (#1660042)

Just 'cos the cards *can* sell for $x doesn't mean they will. Many rares in MtG were/are useless unless someone found a new use for them in a fad deck of the month. {g} And of course unless the kids know the market they're going to be burned regardless. (I let Autumn Willow go for a song, way back when... baka...) Ahem. In any case, store owners aren't obligated to fork over any money at all for rare cards, unless it's to turn around and sell them for even higher prices. Now, since this is WotC, I assume this is the Pokemon CCG. This begs the question, why are the kids buying scads of cards to get rares to *sell* them when they could just be trying to better their decks? I wouldn't blame this on Nintendo, or WotC, since they made a game and not something static like a baseball card set. I don't know who to blame. *Someone* has impressed on these kids that the cards are pure money and have diverted the focus away from playing the game to viewing it as a way to get rich by selling rares... =\ Certainly different from what happened in MtG. (Well, at least in my case and in that of most of the people I met playing it.) - dom
- dom

Nine-year olds have that much power? (2)

Mister Attack (95347) | about 15 years ago | (#1660043)

I definitely agree with theGnome on this one: the idea that these kids were "forced" to spend thousands of dollars on these cards is absurd. How, exactly, does a nine-year-old force his parents to do ANYTHING? I once tried threatening to run away, and my parents helped me pack until I caved in. Nine-year-olds, in general are not capable of manipulating their parents to that extent. It seems to me that the parents are more at fault than Nintendo, because the parents are providing their nine-year-old children with huge amounts of money with which to buy these cards. I remember being obsessed with Magic: The Gathering when I was in 7th grade, but my parents didn't give me thousands of dollars in hopes that I would buy a pack of cards containing a black lotus, or another similarly rare card. The point, my friends, is that Nintendo can hardly be held resopnsible for the bad parenting practices of these parents. Just my $0.02

Missing the Point (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1660044)

A lot of people commenting here are missing the point. I am a parent and my children pressure me to allow them to buy and trade Pokemon. I don't let them. But the issue is not one about parents and responsibility.

IN MOST STATES MOST FORMS OF GAMBLING ARE ILLEGAL. THOSE THAT ARE LEGAL ARE REGULATED AND STATE FRANCHISED.

IN ALL STATES IT IS ILLEGAL TO ENCOURAGE A CHILD TO COMMIT A CRIME.

Why do you think you have to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket? Why do you think you have to be 18 to win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (void where prohibited)? Why do you think you have to be 18 to win a Corvettee in a drawing at the mall?

The lawyers may be slimeballs, but buying Pokemon trading cards is little different from buying lottery tickets. You buy a card without knowing it's value, exactly like 'scratch and win' lottery tickets.

Arguing that the case has no merit because lawyers are slimy is a non-ingeniuous argument ad hominem. We might as well argue that the makers of Pokemon, Barney, and the Teletubbies all deserve the death penalty because they make ridiculous children's products and because they cause endless pain and suffering to parents everywhere.

Now you may argue that gambling shouldn't be illegal, and that the government shouldn't interfere in people's sex, social, or recreational habits, but as long as gambling is regulated, anyone who promotes a non-licensed game of chance is breaking the law, just like someone who tries to illegally sell a controlled drug is breaking the law. People who push gambling on kids are no better than people who push drugs on children.

(Editor's note: The above contains unmarked sarcasm and humor. The views represented above are not necessarily those of Anonymous Coward or AC Inc.)

Apparently, same *firm* is involved in other CCG.. (3)

Masem (1171) | about 15 years ago | (#1660045)

I heard this story elsewhere, and someone commented that the law firm that is representing
these kids has also filed similar suits against
Magic and other CCG (collectable card games),
and in the case of the Pokemon CCG, they found
two likely kids among several 'applicants'.


I compare this to the suit that the woman that
sued her credit card companies because she
lost $75,000 on her cards because she was
gambling illegally on the net, and they (the
credit card companies) didn't stop her.
Law suits are not supposed to make up for
human stupidity.

Look at Tobacco Lawsuits (3)

David Ziegler (5030) | about 15 years ago | (#1660047)

In recent history, suits against the tobacco industry have been successful, as it has been proven that there was a physiological addiction to the nicotine. However, before it was ever shown that

  • Nicotine is addictive
  • Tobacco companies know it
  • Tobacco companies hid that fact

suits against tobacco companies were, for the most part, unsuccessful. The argument of the tobacco companies was that you bought the product, it was your choice to continue using it. However, once shown that there were physiological reasons for continued use, suits against the companies won.

These kids are addicted simply because it's fun. From the article, it looks like one of the claims of the parents/kids is that schoolmates created an environment with such peer pressure that the kids felt like they had to play, or they would be ostracized. They might as well sue the friends!

The argument of this case is entirely ridiculous. The kids could have stopped at any time. No "addiction," besides that which was artificially created by the kids' friends. Nintendo will win this one on precedent alone. It's a ridiculous case.


-David Ziegler
-dziegler@hotmail.com

... (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1660048)

Nintendo's legal woes will never end. This week Mario sued over unsafe working conditions this week, citing having to work in lava pits, falling down pipes, eating "powerup mushrooms", and dodging fireballs. Mario is also seeking legal compensation after his brother, Luigi, was eaten by a giant fish on level 3.

--

Responsibility (3)

elflord (9269) | about 15 years ago | (#1660049)

Thus, the lawsuit says, kids are forced to empty their pockets to get the rare cards, which can be resold for $30 to $100.

Huh ? they aren't forced to do a damn thing. This to me looks like a case where incompetent parents are unwilling and/or unable to regulate their kid's behaviour. If they really spent thousands on these cards, what on earth were their parents doing blindly handing out small fortunes to such irresponsible children ? Geesh, they could buy a gun on the black market with that money.

Surely, if the parents think it looks like gambling, they should regulate their kid's behaviour. It doesn't appear to be unambiguously a "gambling issue" though.

Re:Uhh yeah (3)

Thagg (9904) | about 15 years ago | (#1660050)

I think that the mother says it all, when she says "A 9-year-old shouldn't be gambling to get a rare card". Probably not, but she is the kids mother! If she thinks that the kids are gambling, she's in a position to stop it. In fact, this could be a relatively inexpensive way to learn the hard facts of probability.

What's more interesting, to me, is that it's really the parents that are gambling, and with much bigger stakes (and longer odds). The civil justice system in the US has devolved into a lottery; people file lawsuits over the most inane things, in hopes that they win big. This is the true outrage here; that people would exploit their children to try to win a legal jackpot.

thad

Intresting.... (3)

delmoi (26744) | about 15 years ago | (#1660052)

I wonder if this means that a large company, such as Microsoft could simply have all the major law firms under constant retainer. It wouldn't cost *that* much compared to the billions of dolars rolling in, and it would insure that only crappy law firms could go up against them.

If I ever get to be a billionare mogal, I'll have to remember to do this :)
"Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"

Obligitory MS crack... (3)

JoeShmoe (90109) | about 15 years ago | (#1660054)

News flash!

Business managers sue Microsoft, claiming that they "were forced to spend thousands of dollars searching through box after box of products searching for the rare, bug-free programs Microsoft claims to have produced."

Abuse is common as contractors may dupe unsuspecting IT management into trading their stable, proven *nix technology for what the contractors swear are "newer, cooler" versions.

- JoeShmoe

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Interesting, but probably not quite there. (4)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1660055)

Without making any judgement on the kids'-show-turned-empire, or the trading card frenzies in general:

If the substance of the charges is true (that the company randomly places rarer cards in packs, that turn into commodities due to this practice), it *is* pretty close to gambling. The factor that in my mind separates it is that Nintendo is most likely making no promises whatsoever about any intrinsic value of these cards; that is determined by market economics. Unlike, say, a raffle or lottery (which promises that a winning ticket *will* be worth a specific prize, or a share of a monetary jackpot), these cards could drop in value if the company said, "You don't like rare cards? Fine. We'll publish 'em en masse, for cheap.", or if the craze simply died out.

Ya buy, what, marked cardboard? And no promises about the value of such. On the other hand, a casino had better honor its chips...

Whether or not the government should be in the business of regulating gambling -- as it does --- is somewhat of a side issue, unless Nintendo is specifically trying to challenge that doctrine.

Similiar suites didn't fly either (4)

ecampbel (89842) | about 15 years ago | (#1660056)

I saw this report on a Los Angeles evening news, and at the end of the report, they added that a while back similar lawsuits were attempted on Baseball card manufactures citing the same reasoning. Those suits were thrown out, and most likely this one will to.

There's more cool stuff about this! (5)

William Tanksley (1752) | about 15 years ago | (#1660057)

When I submitted this story, I included some more cool details:

First of all, the lawyers doing the suing are the same folks who sue corparations when their stock goes down.

Second, it turns out that one of the corparations being sued here, 4kids, was dropped from the lawsuit because -- guess what -- their defence firm turned out to be the same firm that was doing the suing!

Those lawyers were evidently unable to check to see that the corporation that they were suing was one of their clients.

Source: Union Tribune, "Law firm sues own client." [uniontribune.com]

-Billy

... (5)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1660058)

Hey, I'm gonna sue Rob for making slashdot! I spend hours and hours hitting reload.. it's costing me friends. My dog left me! The milkman won't come near my house anymore.. the phone company is trying to get an injunction against me... and my employer is upset that I've missed four deadlines.

Mark my words, Malda... I'm gonna make you pay for this! *g*

Seems silly? No more so than a bunch of parents suing because their kids are "addicted" to a game. Yeesh. These parents need to take responsibility - if they think there kids are addicted.. maybe they should enroll them in a Pokeamon 12 Step Program. "Hi, my name is fubar, and I'm a pokeaholic"...

--

Nintendo files counter-suit (5)

198348726583297634 (14535) | about 15 years ago | (#1660059)

Nintendo of America filed a class-action countersuit against all bad parents today, citing the lack of intervention in their kids' lives. P. Toadstool, spokesprincess for the NOA legal dept, cited "poor parenting, bad role-modelling, and short battery life" as prominent points in the NOA countersuit.

Parents could not be reached at work or in their brand-new Volvos for comment.

Huh. (5)

theGnome (93737) | about 15 years ago | (#1660061)

Hey, parents! Wanna know how to stop your kids from buying so many Pokemon cards? It's an absolutely amazing, simple and effective solution... Don't give them all that money! 'I was forced to buy all these packs to get rare cards!' It must be those strobes. Nintendo's putting subliminal messaging technology to great effect. Way to go, boys! *sigh* I have to say this lawsuit really surprises me. If I was going to predict something like this I would have pegged it to come in the middle of the MtG craze. But it's a few years later, times have changed... and now my ten year old cousin usually has more pocket money than I do. - dom
- dom

Addiction is fine; this is about gambling (5)

Argy (95352) | about 15 years ago | (#1660062)

I think a lot of respondants are missing the point of the suit, ridiculing it for the wrong reasons. I'm not saying the suit isn't ridiculous, but they're not suing simply because the card frenzy is addictive, but because it's an addictive form of *gambling*. Consider the analogy of Pokemon cards to lottery tickets, which isn't a stretch, but at least worthy of consideration. Even when state governments bleed suckers dry with lotteries, they draw the line at selling them to minors. The article mentions Pokemon cards meet the three tests of gambling: "you pay to play ... there is the element of chance, and you've got a prize." Cracker Jack boxes certainly match the same criteria, although when you've got prizes with established and predictable market values of $100 or more, there is a question of where to draw the line. "Contests" like in "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," in reality, are typically limited to adult participants.
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