Amazon Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Illegal Gambling Operations
Amazon finds itself at the center of a proposed consumer class-action lawsuit, accused of operating an “illegal internet gambling enterprise.”
The Allegations Against Amazon
The lawsuit, filed by a Nevada resident, claims Amazon earned billions of dollars by distributing casino-style apps and processing payments for virtual chips.
This action, according to the plaintiff, constitutes a “dangerous partnership” with virtual casinos, offering more than 30 illegal casino apps to consumers.
Background of the Legal Challenge
The lawsuit references a 2018 U.S. appeals court ruling that classified “social casino” apps as illegal under Washington state gambling law. This case is part of a broader legal battle in Washington federal court against online slot machines and similar games.
The claim against Amazon is that the company, in collaboration with social casinos, effectively brought slot machines into consumers’ homes nationwide, operating around the clock.
The Nature of the Games
The games in question are free to play and do not offer cash payouts. Instead, they involve winning and using virtual chips. To continue playing, users must purchase additional chips.
This aspect of the games is at the heart of the lawsuit, which argues that Amazon, despite being aware of the illegal nature of these social casinos, continues to broker these slot machine games.
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon drives customers to these games and acts as the bank, maintaining a 30% financial interest in the profits.
The Legal Implications for Amazon
The lawsuit accuses Amazon of knowingly engaging in illegal activities by facilitating and profiting from these virtual casino games. It highlights the ethical and legal issues surrounding the distribution of such apps and the processing of payments associated with them.
The case raises questions about the responsibilities of platform providers like Amazon in policing the content and services they offer, especially when they stand to profit financially from such offerings.
Our Comment on the Article
This lawsuit against Amazon underscores the complex legal landscape of online gambling and the role of technology companies in it. The case touches on crucial issues of internet law, consumer protection, and corporate responsibility.
It highlights the potential pitfalls for companies engaging in or facilitating online gambling activities, especially when such activities clash with state laws.
This lawsuit could set a precedent for how similar cases are handled in the future, especially regarding the responsibilities of major online platforms in moderating and controlling the content and services available on their platforms. The outcome of this case will be closely watched as it could have significant implications for Amazon and the broader online gaming industry.