“Deal or No Deal?” It’s a Deal – At Least for SMS!

When NBC Universal broadcasts “Deal or No Deal,” viewers are invited to play a “Lucky Case Game.” The game allows viewers to pick one of six cases and submit their entry via premium text message ($.99) or online. If you pick the right case, you are entered in a random drawing for a prize of up to $100,000. Well, wouldn’t you know. Someone lost and sued NBC under Georgia’s gambling laws, which make gambling contracts void and states that any “money paid…upon a gambling consideration may be recovered from the winner by the loser” (Hardin v. NBC Universal). There are also actions pending before the California courts. Just a few weeks ago, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the $.99 was not a bet or wager, and there was no “gambling contract” between the plaintiffs and NBC. For now, and at least in Georgia, a premium text message game is permissible.