O’Shea & Partners Lawyers

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Recent Legal Developments

Federal Court: Crown Casino and Pokie Machine maker not responsible for gambler's losses

Last year, Ms Shonica Guy initiated Court proceedings against Crown Casino and Aristocrat alleging that the Pokie Machine known as "Dolphin Treasure" was misleading and deceptive because:

  1. The Dolphin Treasure machine appears to the gambler to display less reels and symbols than it actually has, meaning the machine gives the impression that it is easier to win than is actually the case.
  2. The machine also gives the gambler the impression that there is an equal chance of a certain symbol appearing on each reel when in fact the symbols which appear are not evenly distributed across the reels. Again, giving the gambler an impression of a higher probability of winning than is actually the case.
  3. The likely return to the gambler is advertised as 87.8% of the money gambled, which is misleading because the percentage is skewed by very rare large jackpots and therefore 87.8% is not a true reflection of a gambler's return from a given gambling session. 

In essence, the case Ms Guy made against Crown and Aristocrat was that the Dolphin Treasure machine misleads the gambler into believing there is a higher chance of winning than there actually is. 

In support of her case Ms Guy relied on expert evidence from a neuropsychologist. This did not go well as it was revealed in cross examination that he had copied parts of his evidence from Wikipedia. 

In the judgment delivered last month, the Federal Court dismissed the claim made by Ms Guy and rejected the evidence of the neuropsychologist. The Judge rejected the notion that a hypothetical gambler would be misled by the return to player information once the gambler had commenced using the machine. The Judge also found that Ms Guy had failed to demonstrate that a hypothetical person would consider how the reel and symbol configuration would affect the probability of winning. 

Tom O’Shea