Big Fish Social Casino targeted by new class action lawsuit
Posted on: Feb 20, 2019, 2:37 p.m.
Last update on: February 20, 2019, 02:37 hrs.
Seattle-based social casino Big Fish is facing a new class action lawsuit that accuses it of operating “illegal online casino games.”
The virtual money site was hit by several similar lawsuits last year after a federal court in Seattle ruled that the virtual chips used in Big Fish casino games could be considered “something of value,” meaning they could be defined as games of chance under Washington state law.
The state defines gambling as “risking something of value over the outcome of a contest of chance or some future event that is not under the control or influence of the person to receive something of value. in the case of a certain result ”.
Big fish for frying?
The new lawsuit names the former owner of Big Fish, Churchill Downs, and the new owner, Aristocrat Technologies, as defendants. The social game developer was acquired by Australian slots maker Aristocrat in January 2018 – three months before the court ruling – for nearly $ 1 billion.
While Big Fish games are apparently free, additional tokens can be acquired through in-app purchases.
Oddly enough, the new lawsuit accuses Big Fish of using casino-like practices to reap “huge profits” without ever paying anything of monetary value – a charge that appears to be doomed to fail, as the virtual chips the players win must have a “value” to be considered a game.
As we claim in our complaint, the mobile gaming industry by design is attacking consumers by bringing additive gaming opportunities directly to their homes, ”said Christopher Dore, an attorney representing the plaintiff, Manasa Thimmegowda, resident of Florida. News from Komo.
“We are eager to prove that businesses realize that many of their customers are victims of this gambling, with significant negative impacts on their lives financially and otherwise.”
The original case against Big Fish was brought in 2015 by former player Cheryl Kater, who claimed she spent $ 1,000 to reload the tokens at the site. She argued that Big Fish violated several laws in Washington state, including the Gambling Money Recovery Act and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The case was dismissed in 2016, but Kater appealed. The resulting verdict was a shock to the social gaming industry and could have ramifications not just for social casinos, but for any game that uses microtransactions and an element of chance.
In April last year, Aristocrat promised to work with Churchill Downs to appeal the verdict, stressing that there were “meritorious legal and factual defenses against [Kater’s] allegations and requests for redress.