Tournament finances & legal entity

Probably a niche question, but does anyone here run tournaments (and doesn’t own or operate locations or games) where they have also set up an umbrella legal entity that has minimal personal tax and legal liability? Not that anyone is making much if any $$ here but the documentation of these things can get complex. Have looked at things like 501©(3)s in the past, but those seem like they can get burdensome from a documentation and regulatory standpoint.


what about the IFPA dollar fee and legal / tax issues with dealing with it.

Wait… you can make money by running a tourney? :rofl:


Rake better!

Break-even maybe?? :upside_down_face:

In all seriousness though, at a minimum you generally have some level of financial intake and outlay that’s likely hitting some financial institution in your name. And there’s gotta be some benefit to having access to infrastructure like a business checking account and some kind of separation of liability should something happen.

What exactly could a TD be legally liable for at a tournament they are running if it’s not a part of a business they are running?

It’s a stretch but not too crazy to see someone who over indulges at a home venue and gets in an accident suing both the homeowner and the event organizer. No lawyer certainly but it’s worth the thought exercise at least.

Yeah I guess that’s a risk you have when you let anyone into your home.

well under IFPA rules they have to collect and remit the $1 per player.

Chuck asked about legal obligations, not IFPA rules. There are no legal obligations of any significance. If you’re earning money report the income.


Sure, and by running a tournament at your house means you magnify that risk, however big/if it exists, by 20x/30x/Xx, thus why there is an inquiry and not something to shirk off.

A lot more people should be doing this if they aren’t already. At the very least, take out some event insurance. Given how much competitive pinball has expanded in the last 4-5 years, I’d say we’re past due for a scandal of some kind.

If you’re describing a “guest TD” type situation, probably not much. But that’s generally not how large® tournaments are run. TD’s are doing the bulk of the organizing as well as the actual in-tournament TD duties. There’s quite a lot of possible exposure there, and shouldn’t be dismissed as a non-issue.

Yeah we have insurance at pincinnati, but I don’t have any insurance for when I run events at the local arcades twice a month.

Right. Homeowners theoretically are covered by homeowners insurance or maybe an umbrella policy, public locations by some form of business insurance (hopefully), an organizer who is none of the above though… what covers them?

Covers them against what exactly? Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m having trouble thinking of what I could be held liable for as a TD.

There is also a lot of FUD. If you have case law or similar evidence to support your claim I’d like to see it.

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well say have over 600 or 10000 players in even there may be some banking / irs paper work with moving the funds.

I’m looking forward to having to sign waivers before each tournament. “I recognize that playing pinball carries inherent risks and dangers and agree to hold the event organizer free of any liabilities…”


With the kind of outbursts and saltiness I’ve seen by some players at events, this may become a reality sooner rather than later.

I’ve already added a “participation in this event implies a player agrees to the following code of conduct listed …” blurb to all my event postings. Sort of glad I’m small potatoes though, because I don’t have the desire/funds to incorporate an LLC to run <20 people tourneys at barcades lol


Didn’t someone sue PAPA a while ago for tripping/injuries (ostensibly for lack of sufficient parking facilities)…? What ever happened to that? Results could be precedent for other tourney organizers to be aware of…

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