Judge Drops Case Against Crown, Aristocrat

Tia Winter | 27 February 2018

Last week in Australia, a judge of the local federal court allegedly dismissed a lawsuit from a former gambling addict against national casino and gambling operator Crown Resorts. The lawsuit also apparently involved pokies machine developer and manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited, according to Australian media reports.

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According to an article in the Daily Mail late last week, the case was originally filed in 2016 with the Federal Court of Australia. The plaintiff of the case is Shonica Guy, who has accused the two major gambling firms mentioned above of ‘breaching consumer regulations’ and displaying ‘unconscionable conduct’ by incorrectly representing his chances of winning on Aristocrat’s Dolphin Treasure pokies game.

Dolphin Treasure Not Misleading

Guy was seemingly receiving pro bono representation by Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, while her case claimed that Sydney-headquartered Aristocrat Leisure had unfairly designed their pokie back in 1997 through the use of a complex symbol spread and confusing images and sounds before supplying it to Crown Resorts Limited.

Crown Resorts offers around 38 copies of this pokie at its Crown Melbourne casino floor, according to spokespeople from the operator. However, when dismissing the case, judge Debra Mortimer noted that Dolphin Treasure had not been ‘misleading or deceptive’ as defined by the law, with Crown Resorts and Aristocrat found to be adhering to what she deemed to be a comprehensive and detailed regulatory regime.

Mortimer’s statement reportedly read that this regime includes assessments of the fairness of how an electronic gaming machine operates, as well as how the games ban certain features and use others. According to the judge, this also includes the approval of certain pokies machines for the market, such as Dolphin Treasure from Aristocrat.

Judge Calls For More Research

Mortimer also reportedly stated that the legal action has brought to light the views of numerous gaming experts, and that more research should be done on the possible ties between gambling addiction and game design. The Daily Mail here noted that Australian players lose over $9.6 billion a year on pokies, while a 2010 enquiry also classified around 115,000 Australians as ‘problem gamblers’.

Furthermore, the growing prevalence of online and mobile casino options could further complicate the problem by giving locals even wider access to a range of on-demand real money gambling games like mobile pokies.

Monash University Public Health Professor Charles Livingstone also added that he foresees many more cases against casinos and gambling machine manufacturers in the future. He noted that as we learn more about the links between these machines and addiction, we can also expect changes in how the law handles these issues and how governments regulated their gambling industries.

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