Australian Judge sides with Crown Resorts and Aristocrat after rejecting claims made by a former gambling addict that Aristocrat pokies were manufactured specifically to deceive players.
Shonica Guy, a former problem gambler, claimed that both casino and pokie manufacturer tried to deceive players with unrealistic beliefs about how the game operates. The Federal Court of Australia, however, decided the pokie machine in question, Dolphin Treasure, was legal and broke no laws.
The lawsuit against both casino and manufacturer was filed in September last year after Guy stated she had lost 14 years of her life due to an ongoing gambling addiction. Guy hoped that some culpability for gambling addictions would be given to the gaming industry. Guy stated in her lawsuit that not only addicts should shoulder the blame for gambling addictions.
POKIES FEATURES SAID TO BE DECEITFUL
In the lawsuit, the main complaint from Guy was that Dolphins Treasure employed tricks that misguided players into thinking they were closer to big wins than they actually were. Her legal team further highlighted how adding additional symbols into the last of the five-reels as well as by making losses look like near wins were two of the main tricks used to get players to chase big wins.
The Federal Judge found Guy’s legal team’s arguments compelling, but could not find evidence of any wrongdoing by casino or gaming firm.
The return to player figure of 87.8 percent was agreed by the Judge to be confusing to players, as some may incorrectly think they would win back this amount on average. The reality is that the figure includes rare jackpots that typical players may never win.
The Judge further clarified that despite this figure being confusing, the impression of being able to win back your money would soon disappear, when players figure out the randomness and nature of pokies. So, someone like Guy, a problem gambler, would have no excuse for not already knowing how pokie machines operate.
The judge found that the standard practice of gambling was not on trial and it was not the court’s jurisdiction to decide if gambling is a desirable or undesirable activity. As the pokie machine in question was found to operate within normal gambling standards, the case was concluded in favour of the casino industry.
FURTHER COURT ACTION PROBABLE
Aristocrat felt vindicated after the ruling stating that they take their regulatory obligations seriously. Guy may not have won the case; however, she feels the lawsuit could open the door to a better way forward in gambling.
Experts have likened this to the tobacco industry which took over 50 years to be controlled in the public space. This decision and lawsuit could very well be the first of many going forward which may change how gambling is regulated and controlled in the future.