On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department sued an online poker operator over the use of a virtual table of cards to promote a virtual poker game.
The lawsuit alleges that PokerStars and the poker operator, PokerStars Inc., violated federal laws by making the online poker site and the operators poker game more accessible to children, while at the same time making the game more appealing to adults.
“PokerStars was using a virtual gaming room for its online poker business,” the lawsuit said.
The suit says PokerStars also “gained access to an online database of players who used a virtual slot machine.””
The virtual world was designed and advertised as a place where adults could play poker.”
The suit says PokerStars also “gained access to an online database of players who used a virtual slot machine.”
The lawsuit says Poker Stars “was able to use the database to make an attractive virtual slot game that was easily accessible to young and impressionable children.”
The complaint said PokerStars “intentionally marketed the game as a ‘real-life’ game in order to lure children to play and exploit them for profit.”
Pokerstars, based in San Francisco, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The suit was filed in a U.K. court, but did not specify the location.
The case is being brought in response to a complaint filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, that claims PokerStars was making the poker game less appealing to children because of its virtual slotting and betting mechanics.
In April, the federal government charged PokerStars with using an online gaming site called the ‘PokerBox’ to lure and exploit children for profit.
The site was set up to allow children to make money by playing games on it, but the government said that was not an actual “game” and had no legal or social value.
The government alleges that on at least one occasion, a child was able to win $10,000 and spend it on gambling gear and other items.
“As the government alleges, the PBOKP game and its associated games were designed to allow users to ‘pay for’ and ‘pay to win’ their ‘real world’ gambling experience,” the complaint said.
“These games and other ‘real life’ gambling activities were designed as a marketing ploy for and by children, who could then make up their own gambling stories and engage in real world gambling without being targeted by the ‘game’ or the ‘poker.'”