Aristocrat Leisure Pays $47 Million To Settle Social Media Gambling Lawsuits
Aristocrat Leisure – Australia’s largest gambling machine manufacturer – has agreed to pay USD$31 million (A$47.4 million) to settle two lawsuits lodged in Washington State, USA.
The plaintiffs in the case alleged that some of Aristocrat Leisure’s online Big Fish Games on social media platforms – including Big Fish Casino, Jackpot Magic Slots, and Epic Diamond Slots – are games of chance, which are prohibited by Washington law.
Although the Big Fish games are free to download, users can buy virtual gaming chips to play games, meaning that players are often gambling with real money.
Ultimately, because the chips had to be bought to continue playing Big Fish games, the US Court of Appeals determined that the virtual chips did have real-world value, even though chips cannot be exchanged for cash.
One plaintiff lost USD$3,000 (A$4,590) playing Big Fish Casino games on her smartphone. Another lead plaintiff lost USD$1,000 (A$1530). Virtual chips on Big Fish cost between $1.99 and $250.
Under the Washington District Court Settlement, Aristocrat will pay USD$31 million into a settlement fund, with a further USD$124 million (A$189.8 million) to be paid by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI). Aristocrat Leisure acquired Big Fish Games from CDI in January 2018. Some of the plaintiff complaints were made before this time.