Aristocrat To Pay Up In Big Fish Casino Saga

Elouise Spencer - 26 May 2020

Australian pokies machine manufacturing giant Aristocrat Leisure has confirmed having reached what the manufacturer described as an “in-principle” settlement with the U.S. plaintiffs who were the instigators behind two separate class action lawsuits regarding, in essence, Aristocrat’s ownership of social casino games developer Big Fish Games.

Shortly after Aristocrat managed to buy Big Fish Games from horseracing and betting behemoth Churchill Downs about two years ago, two separate class action lawsuits were applied for against the social casino games developer for what the plaintiffs in the actions claimed to have been illegal predatory gambling behaviour.

Big Fish Games used to operate under the premise of offering to players free-to-play social casino games but on condition that virtual chips had to be purchased in order for players to be in a position to play versions of popular gambling games such as Poker, pokies and online Blackjack.

Court Says Re Paying To Play

Unfortunately for Aristocrat, and even more so for previous owner Churchill Downs, the U.S. Court of Appeals eventually ruled in favour of both sets of plaintiffs. The first ruling had barely been passed down before the second action had been applied for. Up first and part of the initial action instituted, Manasa Thimmegowda claimed to have lost well in excess of $3,000 in only a month’s time, having been prompted by Big Fish Casino to purchase virtual chips in order to play their games on her smartphone. 

The court ended up ruling in favour of Thimmegowda, with the judge having opined that Big Fish Games in fact earned illegal profits and benefits from the tens of thousands of Big Fish Casino players.

One Thing Led To Another

Shortly after the initial plaintiff’s ruling had been handed down her favour by the court, the second of the pair of leading plaintiffs, namely Cheryl Kater, who had apparently lost at more than $1,000 to purchasing virtual chips from Big Fish, received a favourable ruling too.

The verdict includes that Aristocrat part with $31 million in retributions and damages and that previous owner Churchill downs is to stand in for the remaining $124 million owing to the various plaintiffs in both actions.