Amazon Faces Lawsuit Over Social Casino Apps
A new lawsuit against Amazon.com alleges that the online retailer has raked in billions of dollars by engaging in an “illegal internet gambling enterprise.”
Attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit on Nov. 10 on behalf of a Nevada man who alleges he became addicted to playing illegal online slots, many of which the plaintiff said were available on the Amazon platform. Attorneys said the company was engaged in a “dangerous partnership” with online casinos.
“We look forward to trying this case to a jury of Amazon’s peers,” Todd Logan, an attorney with Chicago’s Edelson PC law firm, told Reuters.
Details On The Lawsuit
The lawsuit is Edelson’s eighth involving social casino apps and the firm has collected millions of dollars in similar suits previously, according to reports. Many of these apps allow players to use virtual currency to play for free.
However, players can also purchase additional virtual coins to keep playing. Lawyers have argued that this amounts to gaming that is similar to traditional gambling, and operators and platforms such as Amazon are skirting the law.
“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,” the lawsuit notes.
Some of the industry’s largest gaming companies have entered the social casino market in recent years. The suit was filed in the state of Washington, where social gaming apps are illegal, according to the suit.
A 2018 federal appeals court ruled that similar platforms constitute “illegal gambling” under Washington law. The suit adds that “despite knowing that social casinos are illegal, Amazon continues to maintain a 30% financial interest in the upside by brokering the slot machine games, driving customers to them, and acting as the bank.”
Amazon has yet to comment on the lawsuit, but operators point to a key difference between real-money online gaming and social casinos – players can’t bet or win real money.
In this regard, operators argue, the games are more similar to other video games in which players have an option to purchase extra tokens or opportunities to continue playing and reach a goal. Virtual currencies or coins don’t have any real monetary value.