A proposed class-action lawsuit claims Amazon.com has earned billions of dollars through an illegal internet gambling enterprise by distributing casino-style apps and processing payments for virtual chips. The lawsuit, filed by a Nevada resident who claims to be addicted to illegal online slot games, accuses Amazon of offering more than 30 illegal casino apps to consumers. The lawsuit states that Amazon and social casinos have found a way to smuggle slot machines into the homes of consumers throughout the United States, allowing them to generate massive revenue 24/7.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of a 2018 U.S. appeals court ruling that found “social casino” apps to be illegal under Washington state gambling law. The case is the latest in a series of lawsuits targeting online slot machines and other games. Amazon has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
The law firm that filed the case, Edelson, has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in class-action settlements in related litigation over virtual casino apps. The firm’s Todd Logan, who leads the gambling practice, expressed confidence in trying this case to a jury of Amazon’s peers, stating that this was the firm’s eighth lawsuit over social casino apps.
The lawsuit alleges that despite knowing that social casinos are illegal, Amazon continues to maintain a 30% financial interest in brokering the slot machine games, driving customers to them, and acting as the bank. The plaintiff’s lawyers estimate the class size to be “tens of thousands of consumers” and are seeking damages and restitution, among other court orders.
The lawsuit is similar to challenges faced by other tech giants such as Apple, Meta, and Google, who are currently challenging a California federal judge’s order holding them liable for payment-processing the virtual chip payments that are part of social casino apps. The appeals in their case are pending in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is titled Steve Horn v. Amazon.com Inc, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, 2:23-cv-01727. The plaintiff is represented by Todd Logan of Edelson and Cecily Jordan of Tousley Brain Stephens. There has been no appearance yet for the defendant.