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Landmark court action lodged alleging deceptive pokies

Thu, Oct 27, 2:57pm by Staff Writer

Gambling machine maker Aristocrat Leisure and casino operator Crown Resorts are facing a test case aimed at stopping the operation of their popular Dolphin Treasure pokie machines.

We first covered this story back in early September but on Wednesday the case was officially lodged in court by law firm, Maurice Blackburn who are acting pro bono on this matter.

Maurice Blackburn filed application with the Federal Court on behalf of Shonica Guy, an Adelaide-based woman who has lost money on pokie machines over the past 14 years.

The plaintiff is seeking a court order to restrain Aristocrat and Crown from supplying the Dolphin Treasure and similar types of pokie machines. They are also seeking a declaration the Dolphin Treasure machines are designed to mislead and deceive pokie players.

The court documents, obtained by the Australian Financial Review, allege the Dolphin Treasure machines are designed to trick players by showing five reels of equal size, when in fact the fifth wheel has many more symbols than the rest.

“This means that it is much harder to win the big prize symbols on the last reel than on the others. No matter how many ‘jackpot’ symbols you get on the first four reels, the big fifth reel keeps the odds stacked in favour of the house,” Maurice Blackburn lawyer Jacob Varghese said.

Maurice Blackburn also says the machines are ‘rigged’ because the symbols in the Dolphin Treasure machine are not evenly distributed across the five reels.

“It’s like playing a game of cards without knowing that the deck has four aces of spades, three queens of hearts and seven tens of diamonds,” Mr Varghese said.

All eyes are on this landmark case as it challenges both those who manufacture the games and those who offer them as part of their gambling product, such as Crown.

The recent Australian Gambling Statistics showed Australians spent over $11.5 billion on pokies in 2014-15, a 4.9 per cent rise on the previous year.

The equates to $633 per person. We will keep you informed on any updates to this case as it progresses.

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