Aristocrat Leisure have been implicated in a Court Case, together with the Crown Casino in Melbourne. It is alleged that the Dolphin Treasure slot machine designed by Aristocrat is contrary to consumer law.
Aristocrat Leisure Court Case
Aristocrat Leisure Ltd are an Australian gambling machine manufacturer, which has its administrative centre in the Sydney. They are an international slot machine manufacturer with offices also in South Africa, Russia and the United States. They are the manufacturer of the Dolphin Treasure slot machine which is now implicated in an Australian Court Case.
The court case alleges that the Dolphin Treasure slot machine is designed contrary to consumer law. The lawsuit also claims the Crown Casino, in Melbourne have been engaged in deceptive and misleading conduct by tricking players to play and lose.
The lawsuit has been lodged in the Federal Court by Shonica Guy against the Crown Casino and Aristocrat. Shonica Guy has been addicted to playing slot machines for 14 years. She claims she has been ripped off and has lost 14 years of her life. The Dolphin Treasure was her favourite machine to play.
Shonica Guy said, “You put more money in because you think the win’s just around the corner”. Also, “You think free games are coming up or I’ll get my money back and it never happens”. She claims that is because one wheel is larger than the others.
Jacob Varghese, the lawyer acting for Shonica Guy said academics purchased a Dolphin Treasure machine, then took it apart and analysed it. They found that the fifth wheel was larger than the others. Also, they found the machine was designed to deceive players by having multiple winning symbols on most wheels and only one
winning symbol on one of them. The prosecution case will centre around that analysis. No doubt other expert witnesses will be called.
Is this court case is unlikely to succeed?
Surprisingly, Shonica Guy is not claiming for compensation or damages at this stage. Maybe later. Jacob Varghese said she is seeking a restraint to ensure these kinds of tricks are taken out of gambling machines. He also said there will be industry wide ramifications if the lawsuit is successful.
The Crown Casino has already said that it will vigorously defend the claim. Aristocrat have also said they will be defending the case.
The Crown Casino in Melbourne is licensed by the Victoria State Gambling Commission under the Casino Control Act 1991. The Gambling Commission will be responsible for the approval of games and operating practices. If you read the full text of the licence you will see that it is a very comprehensive document.
Normally, casinos are audited by a reputable independent auditor on a cyclic basis. Those audit findings should be submitted to the Casino Licensing Authority. Part of that process would include auditing the casino slot machines, including software to ensure the payout rate is fair. Normally an auditor would expect a slot machine to have a payout rate of around 97%. That is also known as the return to player rate. The casino would retain 3% of the money wagered as profit.
Aristocrat will also have operating licences for the machines, their machines are already approved by 200 gambling regulators. It is possible that the case will rest on the terms of the Victoria State licence. The question is, whether it required to have their slot machines audited by an approved independent auditor.
Another factor in this is whether the actual machines Shonica Guy played were modified in any way. That is unlikely, because the Casino stand to lose their coveted long term licence.
Casino software is very sophisticated these days. The payout of the machine is controlled to ensure it is fair.
It seems in this case, the fairness of terms imposed on the Crown Casino by the Victoria State Gambling Commission will be an important factor. How consumer laws in Melbourne might cut across that could be open up some serious legal arguments.
No doubt this will be a minefield for the lawyers. You could ask whether the actual machines played by Monica Guy will be submitted for scrutiny. Surely that is key to to the outcome of the case.