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Title: Pokemon Or Poker?

Source: Associated Press, date unknown.  If you know the date of this story, please let me know.

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COURTS: A federal lawsuit charges that the popular children's card game amounts to illegal gambling.

The popular Pokemon card game in which players use the characters' special powers to win other cards, which are frequently traded among youths, is an illegal gambling enterprise, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in San Diego, asks that Nintendo of America return its Pokemon profits to customers or pay an unspecified amount in monetary damages.

Pokemon, which stands for pocket monster, began in Japan and has taken America by storm. Some schools have banned Pokemon cards because of the distractions and fights that have erupted over the cards.

The card game involves a host of imaginary creatures, each with their own set of special powers, with the goal of winning as many cards as possible. But many children don't even play the game and trade cards similar to the way they trade sport cards.

The law firm of Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes and Lerach claims Pokemon is a gambling enterprise because children must "pay to play" by purchasing the cards; children can "win" rare prize cards that are intrinsically more valuable than other cards; and there is an element of chance because rare Pokemon cards are randomly packaged into the deck.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against sports trading-card makers. Rick Flamm, a Nintendo spokesman, defended Pokemon, noting that those lawsuits have yet to be successful.

The suit was filed on behalf of three children. The lawsuit also seeks class-action status.

Also named as defendants are Wizards of the Coast Inc., which makes and markets the card game under a license from Nintendo, and 4 Kids, which is Nintendo's licensing agent.

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