In Australia, last week a federal court judge reportedly dismissed a lawsuit that had been brought by a former gambling addict against casino operator Crown Resorts Limited and gaming machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited.
According to a Friday report from the Daily Mail newspaper, the action filed in 2016 with the Federal Court of Australia on behalf of Shonica Guy had alleged that the defendants had breached consumer regulations and engaged in ‘unconscionable conduct’ by unfairly misrepresenting the chances of winning on their Dolphin Treasure slot.
Guy was reportedly being represented on a pro bono basis by local law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers while her action had purportedly claimed that Sydney-based Aristocrat Leisure Limited had unfairly designed the game in 1997 via the utilization of a complicated symbol spread as well as confusing sounds and images before offering it to Crown Resorts Limited, which utilized some 38 of the slots at the casino inside its Crown Melbourne venue.
But in dismissing the action, federal court judge Debra Mortimer reportedly stated that Dolphin Treasure had not been ‘misleading or deceptive as the law defines those concepts’ with Crown Resorts Limited and Aristocrat Leisure Limited in compliance with a ‘detailed and comprehensive regulatory regime’.
“That includes assessments about the fairness of the way an electronic gaming machine operates, prohibits certain kinds of features but not others and includes approval of particular machines such as the Dolphin Treasure,” reportedly read the dismissal from Mortimer.
However, Mortimer reportedly declared that the legal action had highlighted the view of numerous experts that more research should be conducted into the relationship between gambling addictions and game design. The Daily Mail explained that anti-gambling sources estimate that Australian punters lose approximately $9.6 billion a year on slots while a 2010 public inquiry had classed some 115,000 people as ‘problem gamblers’ with another 280,000 thought to be at ‘moderate risk’ of developing a compulsion.
Charles Livingstone, a public health professor at Monash University, reportedly told The Guardian newspaper that he believes the future will see more such cases brought against casinos and the manufacturers of gambling machines.
“As we learn more about the relationship between gambling machines and addiction and find out more about how these machines cause harm, then we can expect changes in how the law interprets these issues and how governments regulate the industry,” Livingstone reportedly told The Guardian. “We saw the same thing with big tobacco.”