Illegal Social Casino: Amazon Battles Class Action Lawsuit
Steven Horn has claimed to have become addicted to playing illegal pokies, thanks to social casinos available via Amazon. He took a step further on November 10th to file a class-action lawsuit against the world’s top retailer in Washington State federal court.
According to the 28-page lawsuit, Amazon allegedly knowingly violates Washington State laws against social gambling by offering residents access to these platforms and their games. It adds that the company makes a cut from all in-app purchases since it brokers such transactions.
By design, social casinos do not require deposits from players, but the model demands that players purchase coins to keep playing when the free ones run out. While these coins have no real money value and can’t be used to win real money, they can easily make a player lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The lawsuit adds that Amazon generates billions from these purchases, leading to players going into depression, divorce, and emotional and financial difficulties. While social casinos are legal in most US states, Washington remains against all forms of gambling. It appears the tech giant continues to promote these services to potentially vulnerable players in the region.
Social Casino Operators and Illegal Activities
Per the details of the lawsuit, Amazon is in cahoots with operators who rig pokies and other social gambling games against the players. To back this up, the document claims that pokies on these platforms are created to pay in a manner that prompts players to purchase more coins to stay in action, thus leading to addiction.
Even more shocking are allegations that Amazon makes a 30% commission on all transactions made on applications it promotes. That’s much higher than any physical or real-money online casino makes in house edge (usually under 1 to 2% in AU online gambling sites). Also, unlike real-money operators, who lose funds in a month when more players win, Amazon and its promoted operators make a steady profit regardless.
Social Casino Games Listed in The Lawsuit
The apps listed in the lawsuit are some of the most popular ones you’d ordinarily expect to offer fair games. Here’s a list of some of the listed names:
- Huuge Casino Slots
- Big Fish Casino
- Monopoly Slots – Casino Games
- Wizard of Oz Slots
- Lotsa Slots
- POP! Slots Vegas Casino Games
- Game of Thrones Slots Casino
- Cashman Casino Las Vegas Slots
With Washington’s position on all things gambling, it is almost certain that this lawsuit could see the light of day. Also, it could set the pace for other regions with strict laws against all forms of gambling and those looking for new ways to tackle potential problem gambling.