Big Fish Social Casino In Hot Water

Posted on 2019-02-21 by Sean Williamson

Big Fish CasinoSocial gaming site Big Fish Casino has found itself back in the courtroom. This time it is the defendant in a class action lawsuit, which has been brought against it for breaking the gambling laws of Washington State.

The online social casino operator offers free to play games, some with in-game purchases. The casino and its owner Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. have vehemently vowed to fight the lawsuit.

Virtual Chips Classified as Gambling

The class-action lawsuit, which is being led by a Ms. Manasa Thimmegowda, claims that the company’s portfolio of entertainment constitutes as online gambling. Something that in Washington, is illegal.

The plaintiff detailed how she started playing the casino’s games on her mobile in 2017. She spent over $3000 purchasing the virtual chips required to play. Players new to the platform are awarded free virtual chips to get started, but once these are finished they need to purchase more to continue. The Plaintiff is seeking treble damages.

The lawsuit is being built on the grounds that free-to-play games are in fact not free. It states that although they are advertised as free to play, companies encourage or even require in app purchases, which start at a few dollars but can quickly amount to thousands.

Big Fish’s 2015 Lawsuit

This is not the first time the company has seen the inside of the courthouse for this very same complaint. The company was sued in 2015 for selling virtual chips for real money. The Washington court found in favour of the Plaintiff, stating that the virtual chips had a real money value and therefore their use constituted gambling. At the time the company was owned by Churchill Downs, but has since been acquired by Aristocrat Leisure Limited.

Behind the Scenes

In 2018, Big Fish Games was acquired by Aristocrat Leisure Group for almost $1 billion. Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. was founded in 1953. Today, the company is a leading iGaming solutions provider. It specializes in game machines, social games and casino systems.

The brand offers players access to an extensive portfolio of online, downloadable and mobile titles. At the brand’s casino visitors can enjoy a range of social titles, from arcade style releases to slots and digital table games. Payment is required, but no real money can be won.

It is licensed in 240 jurisdictions, operates in 90 countries around the globe and aims to create the best gaming experience everyday. What the outcome of the new lawsuit will be remain to be seen, but they are already well established and stared down the barrel of the same gun once before, and bounced back admirably.