Amazon class action claims retailer profits from social casino apps

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Amazon class action claims retailer profits from social casino apps
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Amazon class action lawsuit overview: Inc. profits from addictive social casino apps even though it knows they are illegal under Washington state’s gambling laws, according to a class action lawsuit filed Nov. 10 in Washington federal court.

Las Vegas slot machine makers worked with technology start-up companies to create social casino apps that are playable from tablets, smartphones and internet browsers, the class action lawsuit says.

Amazon operates an app store, and aggressively markets these social casino apps for download on consumers’ devices.

“By moving their casino games directly onto the phones and computers of players, and by leveraging an innocuous-sounding ‘free-to-play’ model, social casino companies, along with Defendant Amazon, have found a way to smuggle slot machines into the homes of consumers throughout the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year,” plaintiff Steven Horn alleges.

Amazon profits substantially from addictive and illegal casino apps, plaintiff says

The plaintiff says he became addicted to Amazon casino apps, and his personal relationships and finances suffered as a result.

He explains that players can purchase virtual “chips” with real money and gamble the chips at slot machine games. Unlike Las Vegas slot machines, Amazon casino apps do not allow players to cash out their winnings. Instead, they can only use their chips to continue playing the virtual slots.

The class action lawsuit notes that social casino apps are “extraordinarily profitable and highly addictive.”

Horn alleges that these casino apps cannot operate and profit at this level without Amazon’s influence and support.

“Their business of targeting, retaining and collecting losses from addicted gamblers is inextricably entwined with Amazon,” the Amazon class action lawsuit says. “Not only does Amazon retain full control over allowing social casinos into its store, and their distribution and promotion therein, but it also shares directly in a substantial portion of the gamblers’ losses, which are collected and controlled by Amazon.”

Horn says consumers purchased and gambled away about $6 billion in social casino chips in 2020. Amazon reportedly takes a 30% commission on every wager, ultimately earning billions of dollars in revenue from the Amazon casino apps.

The class action lawsuit alleges Amazon is “keenly aware” that the Amazon casino apps violate Washington’s gambling laws yet continues to promote the apps and profit from the illegal payments. The complaint also asserts claims for violations of federal racketeering laws.

Horn filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and a proposed class of consumers who purchased and lost chips by wagering at any of the Amazon social casino apps.

Apple and Amazon were hit with a class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom by developers who allege the companies colluded to increase the price of Apple products sold on Amazon.

Have you used Amazon casino apps? Tell us what you think of the Amazon class action lawsuit in the comments.

Horn is represented by Todd Logan of Edelson PC and Cecily C. Jordan of Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC.

The Amazon casino apps class action lawsuit is Steven Horn v. Inc., Case No. 2:23-cv-01727, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.