Big Fish Games Faces Class Action Law Suit

Complaint alleges use of illegal gambling practices

Seattle-based social gaming app developer Big Fish Games, Inc. is the subject of a class action law suit filed this month with the Western Washington District Court one behalf of Florida resident Manasa Thimmegowda against Aristocrat Leisure Limited, Arisctocrat Technologies Inc., and Churchill Downs Incorporated.

The complaint alleges the firm offers mobile free-to-play gaming services that operate in the same manner as casino games.

On sign up, players are given a one-off amount of virtual chips, which when spent, have to buy further chips to continue play, the complaint reads. Without a further purchase the customer is unable to play and while some players don’t spend any money on the game, other customers “known as whales” are who the company depends upon to reap “huge profits”.

The complaint cites numerous articles and studies covering the similarities of micro-transactions in video games to casino play and gambling addiction born of a progression from free-to-play games to online gambling.

Big Fish Games’ Big Fish Casino generates in excess of $100 million which in addition to other casino games generates over $200 million combined, the complaint states.

“As we allege in our complaint, the mobile gambling industry, by design, preys on consumers by bringing additive gambling opportunities directly into their homes,” Christopher Dore, an attorney representing the plaintiff, is quoted as saying by SeattlePI.

“We look forward to proving that companies are aware that many of their customers fall victim to these gambling games, with significant negative impacts on their lives financially and otherwise.”

In a statement, Aristocrat said it intends to “vigorously” defend the action.