Aristocrat Leisure is a slot machine manufacturer located in Australia that also offers online gaming via its social company Big Fish Games. The company recently received good news from the United States district court as two lawsuits against Big Fish had settlements reached and these agreements can finally be completed.
Players in Washington filed the lawsuits, arguing that Big Fish was able to illegally profit from people who played games at its Big Fish Casino, Epic Diamond Slots, and Jackpot Magic Slots platforms. Each of these offerings are social casinos.
Big Fish creates social casino games that are free to download and play with virtual chips. Games include various slot titles, poker, and blackjack. Players are provided a set number of virtual chips during signup and once they are gone, they must purchase more to continue playing.
Way back in early 2018, Judge Milan D. Smith ruled that the virtual chips were considered a thing of value and purchasing them fell in line with illegal online gambling under the state law. This ruling was provided in response to a 2015 lawsuit and then the second lawsuit was issued after the judgement by Smith.
Aristocrat will pay $31 million as part of the settlement. The remaining $124 million will be paid by the former owner of the social game developer. Aristocrat bought Big Fish from Churchill Downs in 2018 for $1.3 billion. Churchill will pay the larger portion of the settlement charges.
Before any payment could be made, the settlement had to be approved by the US Federal District Court in the Western District of Washington. Part of the settlement included Big Fish changing the mechanics of casino games so players do not have to purchase virtual chips to keep playing. A self-exclusion policy will also be created by the studio and added to its gaming options.