A historical case against Australian casino Crown Resorts Ltd. and slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has been dismissed after a Federal Court ruling that the plaintiff’s argument lacked conclusive evidence.
Former gambler, Shonica Guy, brought the lawsuit against Crown & Aristocrat, accusing them of misleading and unconscionable conduct. Guy had been playing the Dolphin Treasure poker machine over the past 14 years, and said she suffered significant financial losses due to the machines “deliberately giving people false hope that they have a chance of winning”. The representing law firm, Maurice Blackburn, laid particular blame on the pokie’s design, arguing that because the fifth reel contains more symbols (44 as opposed to 30 on each of the other four reels), it creates deception that no reasonable player would be aware of.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Judge Debra Mortimer concluded that the case was to be thrown out, as the petitioner’s arguments could not convince her that there was any unfairness involved in the game’s design, or that players weren’t thoroughly informed about their prospects of winning. She conceded that while the oversized fifth reel could confuse ordinary gamblers, it would only be for a brief period, and that “any such impression formed would be dispelled as soon as she or he actually starts gambling and the randomness of the operation of the machine and returns become apparent… but it is not misleading or deceptive as the law defines those concepts.”
Guy, who has since managed to beat her gambling addiction, accepted the legal defeat. She stated in court that she was grateful for the opportunity to represent “all Australians who have been hurt by the pokies” and hoped it could pave a better way forward.