Canadian Court Invalidates Rock, Paper, Scissors Bet

Some people don’t know what to do with their money!

In some lighter legal news (although not lighter for the below-mentioned Mr. Primeau), in January 2011, Canadians Edmund Mark Hooper and Michael Primeau bet $517,000 in a best-of-three game of “rock, paper, scissors.” Hooper lost the bet and was forced to take out a mortgage on his home to pay off the debt. A lawsuit eventually ensued regarding the legitimacy of the bet. A Quebec judge has ruled that Hooper does not need to pay.

In 2017, a court invalidated the mortgage, finding that the amount wagered during the game was excessive. Moreover, Quebec law provides that a wagering contract is only valid if related to activities “requiring only skill or bodily exertion on the part of the parties,” and not chance.

Primeau, the winner of the bet, appealed the court’s decision. The decision was upheld as the court concluded that while the game takes a certain amount of skill, it is 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.'” The court also found that the $517,000 bet was excessive.

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