No dice for "Deal or No Deal" suit

John O'Brien Apr. 23, 2008, 3:24pm

Georgia's Supreme Court justices

ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) - Those who unsuccessfully text-messaged the NBC game show "Deal or No Deal" can now consider themselves two-time losers, thanks to the Georgia Supreme Court.

The Court decided Monday not to award damages to a group of Georgia residents requesting the return of the $.99 charged during a play-at-home, text-messaging portion of the program. Viewers were invited to guess which of six briefcases was the lucky one via text message.

The show did not charge for Internet players, and advised that texting cost $.99. NBC filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs did not state a claim for relief, while the plaintiffs argued state law allowed for recovering gambling losses.

"Thus, to state a claim against defendants under (Georgia law), plaintiffs must allege that a 'gambling contract,' which was supported by a 'gambling consideration,' existed between the parties," Justice Hugh Thompson wrote.

"A gambling or wagering contract was defined in Martin v. Citizens Bank of Marshallville (1933) as 'one in which the parties in effect stipulate that they shall gain or lose upon the happening of an... event in which they have no interest except that arising from the possibility of such gain or loss...

"'By the terms of such a contract the consideration must fall to the one or the other upon the determination of the specified event.'

Using that definition, the justices agreed with a district court that also threw out the case.

Columbus, Ga., attorney Jerry Buchanan filed the suit. The show suspended the game as a result of it.

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