Earlier today, an Australian court found that casino and gambling behemoth Crown Resorts Ltd did not mislead players about their prospects of winning a cash prize, dismissing a notable case filed against the company by a former gambling addict.
Shonica Guy, represented by the Maurice Blackburn law firm, claimed that the operator’s poker machines had given players unrealistic expectations about their chances of winning. The claims of Ms. Guy were especially aimed at pokie machine called “Dolphin Treasure” were denied by both the casino operator and the manufacturer of the machines, Aristocrat Technologies.
A federal court judge has finally found that the Crown Melbourne venue and the pokies’ developer did not violate in any way consumer law through the design of the poker machines offered by the operator.
No immediate comment on the ruling was made by Crown Resorts, but the “Dolphin Treasures” developer welcomed the judge’s decision and reiterated its engagement to strictly follow regulatory rules.
Increased Criticism on Pokies Operators
As mentioned above, the ex gambling addict lawyers’ Peter Gray and Ron Merkel, argued that “Dolphin Treasure” poker machines were designed in a way to mislead players, who were not properly informed about the chances they had of winning. The “Dolphin Treasure” poker machine offers cash prizes to customers who manage to align matching symbols across a line of five revolving reels. According to Ms. Guy and her lawyers, this was a violation of the consumer law.
A three-week hearing took place in September 2017, with Justice Debra Mortimer announcing her judgement on the case in Melbourne earlier today. Finally, the Federal Court judge Debra Mortimer found that the poker machines in question did not mislead or create deceptive ideas about the possible chances of winning, hence no violation of customer law was made. Judge Mortimer explained that the information about returns displayed on gambling machines could be found confusing.
No misleading design features were found on the poker machines, with Crown Resorts and Aristocrat Technologies being in line with regulatory requirements. The Federal Judge said that the claims of Ms. Guy that the casino operator and the pokies developer took advantage of more vulnerable individuals were untrue and the two companies complied with a “detailed and comprehensive regulatory regime”.
Over the past few years, gambling has become one of the favourite pastime activities for Australian residents, with the country being reported with the highest gambling loss per capita worldwide. According to a recent survey carried by H2 Gambling Capital, the gambling losses of Australia reached a record high estimated to AU$24 billion in the period 2015-2016.
So, the lawsuit filed by Ms. Guy came at a time when gambling operators, and especially the ones that offered poker machines, faced increased criticism. At the time when she filed the lawsuit, Ms. Guy confessed she was a former gambling addict, so he wanted to prevent other people from facing similar problems.