Tournament finances & legal entity

Yeah for larger events I’ve always done this. Its about $100 for a $1M policy.

Just a note to anyone running an event, a waiver will NOT protect you at all legally, or from winning or losing a lawsuit brought against you. It may discourage someone, but it’s not worth the paper its printed on.


Nothing remarkable other than the other defendant got dropped. Still ongoing, very slowly. The person in question is Jill Jasik.

It’s my recollection it was her insurance company that sued.
EDIT- Case number GD-18-004660

well when someone get’s an sleazy lawyer like that joe adler in beavis and butthead and they sue everybody that ran the event.
It maybe be BS but you still need to defend your self.

You don’t have to have done anything wrong or even have actual liability to get sued.

One of the important features of personal liability insurance included with many homeowner policies is the coverage for defense when you are sued. Regardless of actual liability or fault, getting sued as a TD would be a hassle. Also not a lawyer, but I don’t think business exclusion would apply for TDing.

I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t been settled by now.

I’m not a CPA or accountant but on the tax side of the house, you should check the IRS Business vs. Hobby list. Are you treating it as a business activity with the intention of earning a profit? That would be a hallmark of it being a business. There might be benefits to running as a legal club (instead of non-profit) or a business, especially if you are dealing with payouts over $600 at which point you are supposed to file a 1099-MISC with the IRS and make sure it’s given to players.

My concern would be with injury at an event you’re running. I work for a group that runs a retreat in the summer and had an attendee trip on a step. Even though we pay the venue and they have their own insurance, we’re responsible for our own event insurance and we were lucky to have it since the attendee sued. That’s only happened once in the 8 years we’ve run the event.

I’d schedule a meeting with a local small business association (SCORE, SBA, check your regional library and college campuses, etc) to talk it out and see if it makes sense. A lot of them offer office hours with a lawyer or tax specialist that can help give you solid advice on the pros and cons.


Homeowners underwriters, like myself, look for hazards for a living, but we’re not really looking for things like occasional parties, tournaments, yard sales, etc. Obviously risk is amplified when you have other people at your house, but homeowner’s liability losses are extremely rare (which is why the liability portion of your HO insurance premium is really cheap), so unless there are red flags like, say, your house is being used as a boarding home, there’s a skateboard ramp that everyone in the neighborhood uses, it’s a frat house with constant parties, or you’re clearly running a business, like a daycare, out of your house (without insurance specifically for that), having occasional tournaments would be a very small risk and would not disqualify a risk in my professional opinion :wink: If something happens, that’s what your personal liability coverage and med pay are for.


you’re hitting on a lot of areas I purposely avoided and picked courses around in law school, I defer to your expertise :slight_smile: good insights there!

I joke with friends and family that I’m going to go into pinball law, but, I could do it, right!? Psh, I’m gonna do it!


well you can have an tournament / party. and if say an fire happens. There can be issues with having to many people in there and or overloading power circuit say swap in an bigger breaker with out checking that wires can handle it. Can lead to big lawsuit / criminal case.

I’ve decided to bow out of this thread. I think people should always use diligence when determining their potential exposure to liability. My personal opinion about where that puts you as a TD only is irrelevant. You know your level of involvement and can make your own decision on whether or not you need insurance.

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We can all think of wacky situations that aren’t related to a TD running events at a venue.

It’s not reasonable to expect a TD to inspect the wiring for proper sizing. If you have an example of a TD being held liable for that I’m interested in reading it.

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The odds are pretty low. Hypothetical situation if you are hosting an event at an arcade, items you bring or install for the event that cause harm you could potentially be liable for. Their insurance might not cover your items if you’re bringing your own speaker system that catches on fire or falls on a player. I think most spaces/people would try to work it out with you vs. litigation.

Again - odds are crazy low of something like this happening and I think most folks fly under the radar with this stuff. I still think OP should talk with someone on the tax/financial side of the house about if it makes sense or they’d benefit from writing off some expenses or have to file with local/state to be compliant in their area.

Insurance companies love threads like this because they salivate over selling you insurance for every dreamed up conceivable liability that one might “imagine” they are being exposed to.

Lawyers will hit the drain thread almost immediately because in real life (as opposed to the theoretical world that exists in this thread), while there isn’t zero liability, there is almost zero money to be recovered from a TD who happens to be organizing an event. Lawyers will go after the money, and won’t waste 5 minutes of their time if there is none to be had. So if you have a large profitable business maybe you should be concerned and protected. But if you’re just the run of the mill TD running a small tourney and you purchase a liability policy, you are actually drawing a target for the lawyers to go after if something might happen.

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