ALC Pleased With Class-Action Dismissal

By Ben Hamill - July 29 2020

ALC Pleased With Class-Action Dismissal

Canada’s Superior Court has dismissed a class-action lawsuit previously reinstated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal regarding the addictive and harmful nature of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) operated by Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC).

Musgrave Harbour resident Fred Small and fellow-plaintiff Douglas Babstock in 2017 proved successful in their application to file a class-action lawsuit against the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) for the damages they claim to have suffered as a direct result of the devastating impact of VLT games on their finances and lives in general. Babstock and Small’s claims soon gained class-action traction when some 30,000 others in the province joined their plight in having VLTs declared illegal under the country’s Criminal Code.

Had the class-action lawsuit proved successful, the outcome would have meant far-reaching consequences for VLT operations all over the country.

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VLTs Not Predatory, Says Court

According to the ruling recently handed down by the country’s Superior Court, allegations related to VLTs being no different from typical three-card gaming machines are completely unfounded and without reasonable merit.

The recent ruling not only puts an end to the class-action’s claim for damages equal to that suffered by the “victims” of VLTs operated by the ALC, but also creates an important new legal precedent in terms of possible future applications aimed at outlawing Video Lottery Terminals.

The plaintiffs in the now-dismissed lawsuit claimed that VLTs were deceitful by their very nature as the machines are designed in such a way that the misconception of winning is created even when the user is actually losing money. Even the sounds and the lights, so claimed Small and co., were designed to mislead and deceive.

Far-Reaching Ruling

The ALC has in the meantime voiced its approval of the Superior Court ruling, saying that it remains committed to the principles of responsible gambling and to the well-being and safety of its players. Responsible gaming is essential to its own survival and operations, said the Crown corporation. And it will for this reason continue to ensure that those individuals interested in playing games offered by VLTs remain protected in a responsible-gaming manner.

The most recent ruling obviously spells death for other similar claims involving VLTs, as pointed out by the legal representative of the plaintiffs, Kirk Baert. Since the country’s highest court has ruled otherwise, the issue of whether or not VLTs are in contravention with responsible gaming practices, is now considered closed and permanently resolved.

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