Google And Apple Facing U.S. Federal Action
Three federal lawsuits filed in Alabama and Connecticut take issue with Apple and
Google’s free-to-play casino games offering in-game currency in return for real money. Two Selby County residents and a third person from Connecticut claim to have lost thousands of dollars from money spent on in-game credits used to play games like Roulette, Bingo, Blackjack, and Poker.
With free-to-play casino games, players are typically awarded daily allocations of free coins. Once those free coins run out, players can either opt to wait until their next free allocation or purchase additional coins with real money.
Both Alabama lawsuits were filed on October 21 at the Northern District Federal Court. The Connecticut lawsuit was filed at the local U.S. District Court only a day later – on October 22.
More Than 200 Games Cited
Combined, the two Alabama lawsuits cite over 200 games downloaded from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Real-money online gambling is strictly forbidden in the state of Alabama and as a result, regarded as illegal gambling.
The Alabama Google lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Maria Valencia-Torres, seeks to institute class action against the search engine giant. What this means is that not only is the plaintiff seeking to recover the $165 she claims to have lost playing Slotmania, but also permission for more Alabama residents to add their own claims to the action.
The plaintiff in the Alabama-filed lawsuit against Apple, one Teresa Larsen, has asked for a similar permission from the Court, being that of a class action lawsuit permission, as well as the $250 Larsen claims to have spent on in-game credits for Goldfish Casino Slots and Jackpot Party.
Both Alabama plaintiffs claim to have played the respective games over a six-month period.
Plaintiffs Want Refunds & More
According to the averments made in the Alabama class action federal lawsuits and applications, Google and Apple both have access to geo-restriction functionalities – and yet, have failed to implement said restrictions in accordance with local laws and regulations pertaining to real-money online gaming.
Karen Workman, who is the plaintiff in the Connecticut federal lawsuit, claims to have spent at least $3,312.19 across several “gambling” apps over the course of the six months leading up to the filing of the legal action at the Court. Workman, in addition to her claim to be refunded the money she alleges to have lost, furthermore seeks legal costs and a reward for “services rendered” for other potential plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit.
The Connecticut and Alabama federal lawsuits come only months after the settlement of a U.S. Court of Appeals order handed down against Aristocrat’s Big Fish mobile casino games platform.