The Intricacies of the Legal Challenge Against Amazon
The crux of the class action complaint delves into the nature of social casinos that are accessible via Amazon’s platform. These platforms offer games that are initially free to play. However, they entice players into purchasing virtual chips for continued gameplay once their initial chip allotment is depleted.
The lawsuit draws a parallel to the magnetism and profitability of traditional Las Vegas-style slots, condemning these social casino games for their “extraordinarily addictive” nature. It further chastises Amazon for purportedly allowing the download and distribution of these games, despite being cognizant of their allegedly illegal status.
The Legal Precedencies
This legal confrontation echoes a similar 2018 lawsuit that targeted International Game Technology (IGT) and DoubleDown Interactive, accusing them of operating illegal gambling through their virtual chip-based social casino products. This earlier suit concluded with IGT and DoubleDown agreeing to a settlement of $415 million in August 2022.
The Legal Demands
Social casinos are accused of exploiting addictive tendencies through the convergence of traditional gambling practices and Amazon’s immense social network influence. As a result, the lawsuit demands decisive action: it calls for Amazon to cease its involvement with social casino games and to reimburse consumers for any “illegally” amassed profits.
There are 34 social casino brands listed directly in the lawsuit, including notable names like Jackpot Party, Monopoly Slots – Casino Games, and Big Fish Casino, a social casino app previously ruled illegal by a Washington court.
The Wider Implications
The lawsuit paints a dark portrait of social casinos, alleging that they merge addictive elements of traditional slot machines with Amazon’s capability to harness vast data and social networking to target and exploit users prone to addictive behaviors.
Amazon is accused not just of facilitating these apps’ entry into its store, but also of earning a substantial portion of the revenue, reportedly retaining a 30% share of each wager, which far exceeds the 1% to 15% range taken by traditional casinos from real-money slot games.