Posted on: November 29, 2023, 09:35h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 09:35h.
Mobile gaming developer Skillz contends in a federal court that a competitor, AviaGames, copied its products and engaged in deceptive practices by using non-human “bots” in its gambling games. The case has been extended to allow Avia to prepare its defense.
US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in California’s Northern District Court delayed the case against Avia until February 2, 2024. She reasoned in her order that Avia has only been aware of Skillz’s fraud allegations since August 2023.
Freeman in September ordered that confidential communications between AviaGames executives and their counsel be turned over to Skillz attorneys. That ruling came after Freeman determined that there appears to be sufficient evidence that Avia utilized bots in its Pocket7Games mobile app suite of games.
AviaGames last week was named in a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that the company cheated its players by using bots. That case was also filed in the US Northern California District Court.
Skillz and AviaGames both develop and distribute skill-based mobile gaming apps. The games can be played for free and for real money.
In cash games, the apps pair players against one another. Skillz and the plaintiffs in the proposed class-action lawsuit claim Avia has regularly used automated software to play against players. Those bots, the plaintiffs say, are much harder to beat and therefore reduce players’ ability to win money.
AviaGames in court filings rejected claims that its games use bots and that its games are rigged. The company added that Skillz “engages in the exact conduct it falsely accuses AviaGames of carrying out.”
Skillz first sued AviaGames in 2021 on allegations of patent infringement. The company claims Avia copied its games, most evidentially with the Pocket7Games app. The Pocket7Games app includes numerous games such as Bingo Clash, 21 Gold, and Solitaire. Pocket7Games maintains a 4.5/5-star rating on the Apple App Store.
Legality of Bots
Bots are an essential part of many video games and are present in almost every multiplayer game, including leading titles like Halo and League of Legends. However, the secret use of bots in games advertised as peer-to-peer contests involving money is where Skillz says Avia runs afoul of the law.
“Play with others of similar skill levels in entertaining cash games,” the Pocket7Games app description reads. “We’re committed to providing a fair and secure social competition gaming platform for all of our players.”
Avia says players must be 18 years or older to play cash games. Money games are prohibited in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Puerto Rico.