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Popular gaming platform Roblox has been accused of allowing and enabling minors to gamble with its in-game currency—called Robux—on third-party gambling websites, a class-action lawsuit filed this week alleges.
A law firm representing the frustrated parents behind the suit claims that Roblox is allowing third-party sites—namely, those operated by Satozuki, Studs, and RBLXWild—to “accept online bets using Robux," Bloomberg Law reports.
It further alleges that Roblox “facilitates the gambling website defendants’ efforts to track bets, complete transactions, wager Robux, and satisfy wagers in their digital casinos.”
The plaintiffs argue that “Roblox keeps track of all of these electronic transfers and has knowledge of each transfer that occurs in its ecosystem,” because Robux originates from Roblox’s website.
Because these Robux are then directly used to gamble, the lawsuit claims, they are not being converted into another currency and therefore never really leave the Roblox website.
“Roblox registers each and every exchange of Robux for gambling credits and allows illicit gambling, by minors, using the Roblox website," the lawsuit states. "All gambling transactions require Roblox’s affirmative support to continue. Roblox profits from these transactions to the detriment of its users, including its minor, adolescent, and teenage users."
Roblox takes a 30% cut from Robux transactions, so the plaintiffs allege that the company is actually earning revenue from the existence of these third-party gambling websites.
“These are third-party sites and have no legal affiliation to Roblox whatsoever,” the Roblox rep told Decrypt.
“Bad actors make illegal use of Roblox’s intellectual property and branding to operate such sites in violation of our standards," they added. "Roblox has teams and processes in place to investigate these websites to protect our brand and platform, including, where possible, having the websites removed. In some cases, we engage with law enforcement as part of our efforts."
Stuck funds and underage users
The lawsuit could become a landmark case for metaverse gambling as lawyers debate corporate responsibility over user activity and the use of digital currencies like Robux. At time of writing, RBLXWild’s website is no longer active and displays a message that it has been acquired by Bloxmoon, another Roblox gambling site.
The message also claims that withdrawals are currently disabled, and the RBLXWild site will not be back online until the end of this month. Since RBLXWild went down, numerous users have reported in the Bloxmoon Discord server that they have funds stuck on the old site, with some claiming they had anywhere from 1,000 to 400,000 Robux—roughly $12.50 to $5,000 worth—on the now-defunct RBLXWild.
The Discord server, which appears to have been spun up just six months ago in February, also includes a post from a pseudonymous server administrator announcing the acquisition this week.
The Bloxmoon site offers no information on its owners or founders, nor does it offer any working means to file inquiries regarding the site’s origins. Its Discord servers’ moderators and administrators appear to list aliases only, and have direct messages disabled.
On Bloxmoon, users are able to login using their Roblox account credentials and have the option to deposit funds with cryptocurrency. Bloxmoon’s Terms of Service states that it is not affiliated with Roblox, but there does not appear to be any method for verifying user age—and the site grants codes to YouTubers to promote the gambling site to viewers.
Last month, Sharpr writer Cody Luongo reported that minors are using Robux to gamble on sites like the Studs-owned Bloxflip—another gambling site whose staff use pseudonyms, has no working support email, and has existed since at least 2019—and livestream their gambling activities via Discord. Bloxflip’s site states that it does not take custody of users’ Robux, but instead uses “a P2P system” to move funds around, which is why it requires users’ Roblox logins.
Bloxflip allegedly emailed one 14-year-old Roblox content creator to promote its gambling site and has another 16-year-old with millions of followers promoting its platform. One anonymous trading site owner in Luongo’s report estimated that something like “90 percent” of such Robux gambling promoters are underage.
Asked to comment on the lawsuit, attorney Peter Bryce—who consults for crypto firm EverRise—told Decrypt that it is certainly possible that Roblox could be held liable for users’ illegal conduct.
“The interesting wrinkle is whether Roblox can be held liable for private conduct on their metaverse, so that the California statute (which applies to leasing land) extends to ‘digital places,’” Bryce said.
“If I’m a landlord and my tenants have a casino, I can be liable,” he added. “Of course, it always depends on the specific facts, but I doubt it would be dismissed.”