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Land-BasedCasinoLegal & Regulatory

Landmark Australian legal battle surrounding ‘pokies’

Aust

crownaustralian
ralia is going through a unique legal case to determine the legality of certain betting machines. The case centres on a woman who suffered from gambling addictions claiming that the machine she played on was ‘misleading’ and designed to entrap vulnerable people such as herself.

In a recent development, Australian casino operator Crown Resorts has appeared in court to defend both the machine's existence in their casinos and their reputation.

Shonica Guy, a gambling addict who lost big on the machines, is attempting to have the Dolphin Treasure game deemed unlawful. Currently reports suggest that she will not be seeking damages. Guy believes that the machine, which requires symbols to be matched on five reels, is misleading as a result of the distribution of symbols being uneven on the final reel. It must be noted that this is not a feature which is just unique to the Dolphin Treasure game. Guy is also attempting to sue the developers of the game, Aristocrat.

The case has gathered a lot of media attention, in particular in Australia were national interests have been shifting towards the ethics of ‘pokies’ or fixed odds betting terminals. Australia recently announced a ban on online poker websites with many having already left the country.

However, it appears that the case has very little grounding as Crown Resorts have not been shy to come to the defence of their machines. The company’s lawyers described the charges against their machine as a “fanciful proposition” deeming it common sense to read and understand the information provided on all machines outlining the odds and rules.

The judge, Justice Debra Mortimer who is presiding over the 14-day trial, also heard that Crown Resorts go above and beyond their obligations to promoting sensible gambling and raising awareness of addiction. The company regularly distributes government endorsed leaflets to all players who enter their casinos.

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