United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MIHAJLO RISTIC, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MACHINE ZONE, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge
Mihajlo Ristic (“Ristic”) brings this class
action complaint against Defendant Machine Zone, Inc.
(“Machine Zone”) for alleged violations of the
Illinois Loss Recovery Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud
and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Ristic seeks to recover
gambling losses and damages that he allegedly incurred by
playing the “Casino” in Machine Zone's
“Game of War” videogame app. Currently before the
Court is Machine Zone's motion to dismiss Ristic's
First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim .
For the reasons explained below, the Court grants Machine
Zone's motion  and dismisses the First Amended
Complaint with prejudice and will enter a final judgment
under Rule 58. The Court also denies as moot Ristic's
motion to certify a class  and Machine Zone's motion
to dismiss Ristic's original complaint .
Zone produces a popular videogame titled “Game of
War.” This videogame is played on mobile devices and is
available on both the Apple and Android platforms.  at
¶ 1. Players can download the game at no initial charge.
Players have the option of spending real money in order to
advance through the game at a faster pace and obtain more
in-depth access.  at ¶ 2. This revenue model is
commonly known as “free-to-play” or
“freemium.”  at ¶ 9. Due to the
game's popularity, Machine Zone has generated more than
$600 million in revenue since early 2014.  at ¶ 20.
instant lawsuit focuses on the portion of the game known as
the “Casino.” In this part of the game, players
are initially given a free spin on a virtual wheel.  at
¶ 24. The wheel uses an animated light that circles
around the slots to indicate a spin.  at ¶ 29. Each
“slot” on the wheel includes an in-game resource
(“Prize”) that the player receives if the
animated light lands on a specific slot.
order to spin the wheel, players click the “play”
button. From that moment on, the player has no input on the
outcome of the spin.  at ¶ 34. There is no skill
necessary to acquire more desirable Prizes. Id. The
outcome of the spin depends entirely on the algorithm that
Machine Zone has programmed into the game.  at ¶ 35.
Prizes are of the same importance to the player's
gameplay advancement. Ristic alleges that some Prizes are
worth more than the initial wager of $.60, while some Prizes
are worth less.  at ¶ 30; see also id. at
¶ 26. The awards that are allegedly more valuable than
the minimum wager range from $1.18 for 10, 000
“chips” to $36.59 for 8, 800 units of virtual
“gold.”  at ¶ 34. This valuation is
derived from examining what the Prizes would cost in virtual
“gold” (which can be purchased with real money)
if the player were to purchase those items in the virtual
marketplace versus obtaining them through the Casino.
the initial free spin, each spin costs a minimum of 5, 000
“chips, ” which would cost $.60 to purchase. 
at ¶¶ 25, 32. “Chips” can be acquired
through different methods, including through an exchange for
virtual “gold.” Players can obtain virtual
“gold” by purchasing the virtual
“gold” with real money.  at
¶ 20. Prices for virtual “gold” start at
$4.99 for 1, 200 units and max out at $99.99 for 20, 000
units.  at ¶ 26. The purchase of virtual
“gold”, or any in-game purchase, is completely
optional and voluntary.  at ¶ 20. In addition to the
normal playing mode, players can spin the wheel in a
“High Roller Mode.”  at ¶ 28. This mode
provides players with the potential to win more enticing
Prizes. However, to have access to this mode, players have to
increase their wager. Id.
early 2014, Ristic downloaded Game of War onto his
smartphone.  at ¶ 46. After his initial free spin in
the Casino, Ristic began purchasing Chips to use for
additional spins. In total, between April 9, 2015 and October
9, 2015, Ristic spent more than $50 in Game of War Casino
wagers.  at ¶ 48. Ristic is unable to determine the
exact amount he spent, but claims it is likely more than
Count I of his governing First Amended Complaint , Ristic
alleges that Machine Zone violated the Illinois Loss Recovery
Act (“ILRA”) by operating a gambling device that
caused Ristic and the other members of his proposed class to
lose at least $50. See , ¶ 67. In Count II, Ristic
alleges that Machine Zone violated the Illinois Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act
(“ICFA”) by engaging in unfair conduct-namely,
violating Illinois' gambling laws. Currently before the
Court is Machine Zone's motion to dismiss the First
Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. See .
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint first
must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that
the defendant is given “fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Second,
the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient
to raise the possibility of relief above the
“speculative level.” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra
Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “A
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or a
‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). However, “[s]pecific facts are not necessary;
the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice
of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
93 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555)
(ellipsis in original). Dismissal for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper “when the
allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a
claim of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 558. The Court reads and assesses the plausibility of
a party's complaint as a whole. See Atkins v. City of
Chicago, 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011).
The Illinois ...