In a recent legal development, Amazon is under fire in a consumer class action lawsuit that asserts the tech giant's involvement in an illicit online gambling scheme. Filed on November 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the lawsuit contends that Amazon garnered billions in profits by distributing more than 30 unlawful casino apps to consumers and facilitating payments for virtual chips.
Initiated by a Nevada resident who identifies as addicted to illegal online slot games, the lawsuit accuses Amazon of establishing a "dangerous partnership" with virtual casinos. The company is specifically criticized for offering "social casino" apps, which were deemed illegal under Washington state gambling laws in a 2018 court ruling.
The core allegation revolves around the free-to-play gambling model, where the lawsuit argues that Amazon is effectively "smuggling slot machines into the homes of consumers" by providing access to these apps 24/7. Although the games are free, users are required to purchase virtual chips to continue playing, and Amazon is alleged to hold a 30% financial interest in this process, serving as both intermediary and financial institution.
Despite not offering cash payouts, these games have users winning virtual chips, prompting them to buy more to sustain their gameplay. According to the lawsuit, Amazon aggressively markets and distributes these apps to consumers' Amazon and Android devices. The law firm Edelson, based in Chicago and leading the legal action, estimates that "tens of thousands of consumers" have been impacted by Amazon's practices. The plaintiff's legal team seeks restitution, damages, and other legal remedies.
Todd Logan, a representative from Edelson, expressed the firm's anticipation of bringing the case to trial, stating, "We look forward to trying this case to a jury of Amazon's peers." This marks the eighth lawsuit by Edelson related to social casino apps.
Amazon's legal predicament aligns with similar challenges faced by other tech giants like Apple, Meta, and Google, all of whom have pending cases in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. As of now, Amazon has not officially commented on the ongoing lawsuit.
By fLEXI tEAM