Massachusetts Becomes Ninth State to Legalize Daily Fantasy Sports

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in the Commonwealth.  Massachusetts is the ninth state to legalize daily fantasy sports, and the eighth to do so this year.  The legalization of daily fantasy sports, or “fantasy contests,” was included in a larger bill—H. 4569—related generally to job creation and workforce development.

Continue Reading

New York Daily Fantasy Law Passed – But Will it Stick?

As previously reported on our blog, New York enacted a law legalizing fantasy sports (subject to certain conditions and licensing). This undoubtedly makes DFS operators and players happy. But consistent with the notion that you cannot please everyone, some anti-gambling groups are not  happy. It has been reported that some are considering litigation to block implementation of the new law. Casinos are also debating potential action. As reported, critics of the new law allege the New York legislature needed to obtain a constitutional amendment process to legalize a new form of gambling, instead of making a statutory change that declared fantasy sports contests to be “games of skill.” Check back for updates as this saga continues to unfold.

Weekly Web Wrap-Up: August 15, 2016

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team.  Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:

The Gaming Industry and Cyber Crime

In the world of video-game-related crime, publishers are pushing pause on piracy concerns as the game-hacking business becomes more lucrative.  TechCruch reports on the recent developments and trends in online gaming platforms that have made the $100B gaming industry an enticing target for cybercriminals.  And it’s not just publishers; the players themselves are at risk.  Industry awareness of the issue is growing; a Panopticon Labs, a startup that quietly helps publishers root out and stop in-game theft and fraud, won a coveted spot at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

The Skin Betting Saga Continues

No, we aren’t talking about Buffalo Bill’s weekly poker night.  Skin betting is a type of online wagering using virtual cosmetic items (i.e., skins), a transaction that blurs the line between gambling and social gaming.  But the lucrative industry’s future is uncertain.  Skin betting sites have been accused of tacitly endorse gambling via secondary skin markets based on the theory that skins are a type of digital currency like bitcoin.  Valve has also clamped down on skin betting sites, sending major industry players a cease-and-desist letter that has garnered varied reactions.  CSOLounge, the world’s largest skin betting website, announced it would seek an online gambling license in response to Valve’s decision.  But whether such licensing will appease Valve—which cited Steam’s prohibition against commercial account use rather than gambling concerns—is questionable.  We’ll continue to bring you updates as this story unfolds.

Ten VR Games to Look Forward To

VR has fallen from the headlines as Pokémon Go AR continues to sweep the nation.  But lest anyone forget the breath-taking possibilities of a well-executed VR game, here’s Techradar’s round up of ten upcoming VR games that have us on the edge of our virtual seats.

This Week in Pokémon Go!

Pushing back against the handwringing and “neo-Luddite contrarianism” of many editorials, Wired brings us a refreshing perspective on the technological revolution that is upon us, and calls for an industry-wide set of ethical standards for augmented reality.  Wired’s chief concerns? Pokéstalking and pursuit of Pokéquality.  Pokéthics is a concern of Ninantic as well.  After temporarily pausing some game features due to server outages caused by GPS spoofing, Niantic has permanently banned hackers from the game.  Niantic is also trialing a new update, and it looks Charizard hot.  The update will include a new tracking system and an XP fix, brings back power-saving mode, and adjusts curveball accuracy.  Having trouble catching those elusive Pokémon?  For a better Chansey, here are some tips for throwing Pokéballs.

AR Continues to Heat Up: Chinese Tech Giant Baidu Rolls out AR Platform for Mass Consumption

If the success of Pokémon Go is any indication, common smartphones—rather than computer headsets—may be the just technology platform needed to move AR into the mainstream.  Chinese search-engine operator Baidu has made that wager.  At its Beijing conference, Baidu debuted DuSee, its new AR platform for smartphones.  DuSee allow users to interact with computer-generated visual via their smart phones.

Compilation of Public Data Can be Trade Secret

A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision confirmed that data derived from a compilation of publicly available information can constitute a protectable trade secret, particularly when a proprietary process is used to compile or search that information.

Continue Reading

LinkedIn Has Beef With Data Scraping Bots

Linkedin has filed a lawsuit to prevent unauthorized use of “bots” that register fake profiles on the social network and steal data about actual users. According to the suit, these acts constitute a breach of Linkedin’s terms of  use and violate federal computer fraud law. LinkedIn alleges that the use of the bots violates the agreement all users of the network must execute, which specifically bars the copying of other users’ profiles and information, and the use of bots or other software add-ons to access the LinkedIn website.

Continue Reading

NJ Gets Shut-out on Sports Betting

New Jersey’s sports betting law was struck down by an Appellate court decision. The court held that PASPA (the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act) prohibits states from authorizing by law sports gambling, and that the NJ law violates the federal law for purporting to do so. The court also ruled against a constitutional challenge to PASPA. This is a setback for NJ in connection with its efforts to revitalize its beleaguered casino and racetrack industries via sports betting. Ironically, this decision comes just days after New York passed a law legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports.

For now, if you want sports action in the tri-state area, you can bet on fantasy sports, but not real ones.

New York Legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in New York. This is the eighth state to legalize daily fantasy sports, and the seventh to do so this year.  With the start of the NFL season just around the corner, the timing of this development is especially fortuitous, as daily fantasy sports operators who had run contests in New York prior to November of 2015 may receive temporary permits to continue doing so.

Continue Reading

Pokémon Go…es To Court!

Hugely successful games attract lawsuits. Pokémon Go has been hugely successful and, predictably, has attracted a lawsuit.

In a recently filed class action, a plaintiff has alleged that a number of the GPS coordinates that Defendants had designated as Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms were, in fact, on or directly adjacent to private property, and that Defendants had placed these Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms without the consent of the properties’ owners.

Continue Reading

Weekly Web Wrap-Up: July 11, 2016

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team.  Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:

Rise of the (Helpful) Machines

This week in robot news we bring you helper-bots!  Check out all the new ways robots and AI helped out this week.  They’re brewing your beer, delivering your takeout, diagnosing eye disease, and helping you out with parking tickets.  If that wasn’t enough, they’re interested in your emotional needs, too.  We’ve come a long way from the helper-bots of yesteryear.

BIO-DOME: The Amazon Experience

Amazon’s new HQ in downtown Seattle is part office space part conservation project.  While chief executive Jeff Bezos is famously adverse to the perks offered by other tech companies, he responded in style to research finding a key thing missing from typical work environments is a link to the natural world.  The company is building three 100-foot tall spheres to be filled with more than 300 endangered plants where employees can take a breath of fresh air.  The spheres, designed by architecture firm NBBJ, are already an architectural focal point in the city—Bud and Doyle not included.  Although the spheres are set to be completed until 2018, tours are already open to the public.

Spotlight on Nintendo: Go! Pokemon Go!

Nintendo is having its moment in the mobile-game-market sun.  Stock prices surged 36 percent after the Wednesday launch of Pokemon Go.  The mobile game quickly jumped to the number one spot in Apple’s iOS store, with $1.6M in daily revenue.   Rumors are that Trainers might even get real Pokeball controllers to use in the game. Nintendo has partnered with Tokyo-based gaming developer DeNa to develop its mobile games.  Fans are still waiting on the fabled Super Mario Bros. mobile game, but Nintendo’s next two games set to hit smartphones this fall.  For now, Pokemon Go is catching us all—often in unexpected ways.

You Oughta Be Encrypted

Facebook is rolling out a beta version of a new feature it calls “Secret Conversations.”  Facebook will use the Open Whisper Systems protocol, which is already used in WhatsApp, Allo, and Signal’s standalone app to offer end-to-end encrypted messages.  Facebook’s approach will have some key differences, such as the opt-in requisite and a single-device implementation.

Immune System Boost for War on Cyberattacks

Darktrace, a cybersecurity firm based in Cambridge and San Francisco, has raised $65 million in Series C funding, now valuing the company at more than $400 million.  Darktrace operates from the assumption that all major company networks are likely already compromised or are wide open to compromise.  Its hardware appliance—the Enterprise Immune System—doesn’t rely on stopping cyberthreats by building bigger and better “walls.”  Darktrace claims to mimic the human immune system by accepting malicious attacks will get through and stopping harm via touted machine-learning techniques.

Begin at the Beginning, Go on until You Reboot, and then… (Silicon Valley – Season 3 Finale)

Summarizing the week Jared writes, “Lewis Carroll famously said, ‘Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop.’ But that is hard advice to follow when one’s head is spinning…”  It would have been just as apt if Jared had added that “here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”  Because, at the end of Season 3 Pied Piper is in pretty much the same place as at the end of Season 2, and about to begin at the beginning all over again.  (But at least it’s a promising place to start!)

Continue Reading