Amazon is facing a significant legal challenge as Nevada resident Steven Horn files a class-action lawsuit, alleging the tech giant’s involvement in an “illegal” online gambling operation. Horn claims that Amazon is profiting from social casino games, which he argues should be considered illegal.
The lawsuit specifically points to the distribution of over 30 casino apps through Amazon, making billions of dollars.
Social Casinos under Scrutiny
The lawsuit draws parallels to a 2018 case against International Game Technology (IGT) and its subsidiary, DoubleDown Interactive, which also faced allegations related to social casino products. IGT and DoubleDown settled for a substantial $415 million in 2022.
Horn’s complaint contends that Amazon, knowingly or not, allows the download of these illegal games, equating them to Las Vegas-style slots with their “extraordinarily profitable” and “highly addictive” nature.
Horn’s lawsuit seeks to stop Amazon’s participation in the distribution of social casino games and demands the return of any “illegal” proceeds gained from these activities. The complaint identifies 34 social casino brands, including Jackpot Party, Monopoly Slots, and Big Fish Casino.
Horn’s legal team argues that Amazon’s involvement goes beyond mere distribution, stating:
“Not only does Amazon retain full control over allowing social casinos into its store and their distribution and promotion therein, but it also shares directly in a substantial portion of the gamblers’ losses, which are collected and controlled by Amazon.”
Amazon’s Profit Model under Scrutiny
According to the lawsuit, Amazon takes a 30% share of each wager placed on social casino games, a significantly higher percentage than traditional casinos take from real-money slot games (ranging from 1% to 15%). This model, according to the complaint, has allowed Amazon to amass substantial profits, estimated at $1.8 billion in 2020.
While social casinos generally operate within legal boundaries in the U.S., uncertainty remains. The lawsuit references a 2018 Washington court ruling that deemed casino apps illegal.
The new lawsuit claims, “Despite knowing social casinos are illegal, Amazon continues to maintain a 30% financial interest,” making the tech giant liable as a co-conspirator to an “illegal gambling enterprise and conspiracy.”
Amazon earned billions of dollars through an 'illegal internet gambling enterprise' by distributing casino-style apps and processing payments for virtual chips, a new proposed consumer class-action lawsuit claims https://t.co/2XI0EKz1bA @MikeScarcella
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) November 13, 2023
Amazon is yet to Respond
As of now, Amazon has not released an official response to the lawsuit. The legal action against the e-commerce giant is part of a broader trend, with similar cases involving Apple, Meta, and Google. The Chicago-based law firm Edelson is handling Horn’s case, which asks for compensation, restitution, and other court orders with the intention of taking it to trial.
This legal development underscores the increasing examination surrounding the virtual casino industry and the role major platforms play in its proliferation.
The lawsuit alleges Amazon’s involvement in an “illegal” online gambling operation, claiming the company profits from distributing over 30 social casino apps, which the plaintiff argues should be considered illegal.
The lawsuit draws parallels to the IGT case, asserting that Amazon, knowingly or not, allows the download of these illegal games, equating them to highly profitable and addictive Las Vegas-style slots.
Horn’s lawsuit seeks to halt Amazon’s distribution of social casino games and demands the return of any “illegal” proceeds gained from these activities. It identifies 34 social casino brands, including Jackpot Party and Monopoly Slots.
The lawsuit reveals that Amazon takes a 30% share of each wager placed on social casino games, a significantly higher percentage than traditional casinos take from real-money slot games, allowing Amazon to amass substantial profits.
Yes, despite the general legality of social casinos in the U.S., the lawsuit references a 2018 Washington court ruling that deemed casino apps illegal. The new lawsuit claims Amazon continues to maintain a 30% financial interest, raising legal concerns.
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