Two Canadian men wagered a whopping $517,000 on three simple games of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Now a court ruled that the loser doesn’t have to pay up.
It’s unclear how Edmund Mark Hooper and Michel Primeau ended up playing a simple hand game for over half a million dollars in January 2011, but what we do know is that the former lost at least two of the three games they played, and had to take out a mortgage on his house to pay off the debt. Can you imagine telling your wife you have to mortgage the house because you lost over $500,000 at rock, paper, scissors? Luckily for him, a court cancelled the mortgage contract in 2017, on grounds that the amount wagered was excessive.
According to Canadian law, for a wagering contract to be valid it must be based on activities “requiring only skill or bodily exertion on the part of the parties,” and the amount wagered must not be excessive. Interestingly, in the 2017 judgement, a Supreme Court Justice found that the bet between Hooper and Primeau was based on a game of skill, but ruled it invalid because the amount wagered was excessive.
“[The game] can, in certain precise circumstances, call upon the skill of the parties, particularly in the speed of execution, the sense of observation or the putting in place of a strategic sequence,” Justice Chantal Chatelain wrote in her sentence.
That was little consolation for Primeau, who had still lost the $517,000, so he appealed the 2017 decision. Unfortunately for him, the verdict reached by another court on April 17 was even worse. This time around, the judge ruled not only that the amount wagered was excessive, but also that “it seems evident … that the game also involves a large part of chance, so that it does not take ‘only skill or bodily exertion on the part of the parties,’” as the law demands.
It’s important to point out that these two guys even had a notarized contract that mentioned the mortgage on Hooper’s house, and the deal considered invalid. I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s kids or adults betting millions of dollars on stupid challenges and games, neither have to pay up.