Serious allegations have been made when it comes to Amazon – the e-commerce giant is allegedly involved in an illegal online gambling operation.
The company allowed its users to download various social casino apps and play on them, which helped make billions of dollars of revenue.
Steven Horn from Nevada sued the company for making profits on social casino games. According to the class action complaint, the players can download casinos from Amazon for free. Even though they can’t earn any real money, they can buy virtual chips to play.
Virtual casinos and chips aren’t allowed in Washington, and the plaintiff is positive that the company is guilty. A similar situation occurred in August 2022 when International Game Technology and DoubleDown Interactive were selling illegal virtual chips, and they settled it for $415 million.
The lawsuit is supposed to make Amazon stop these games and return the earned money to its customers. There are 34 brands mentioned in the lawsuit, and among them are big industry names such as Jackpot Party, Monopoly Slots – Casino Games, Lotsa Slots, Jackpot Master, Black Diamond Casino, and Quick Hit Slots. On top of that, there is an illegal casino called Big Fish Casino.
Social casino apps and huge revenue
According to iGaming Business, the lawsuit says: “Social casinos are so lucrative because they mix the addictive aspects of traditional slot machines with the power of Amazon to leverage big data and social network pressures to identify, target, and exploit consumers prone to addictive behaviors.”
Social casino apps don’t have permission to operate on such high levels, and Amazon is directly involved in its distribution and sharing of revenue.
According to Statista’s research, only in 2020 about $6 billion was spent on gambling. It is stated in the lawsuit that Amazon took 30% of every bet placed on the platform. To compare, the traditional casinos take between 1% and 15%. This means the company earned $1.8 billion in 2020.
The consequence of the collaboration between the biggest e-commerce platform in the world and social casino brands is the serious addiction of the players, which has many consequences, including depression, divorce, and even attempted suicide.
In the US, social casinos are legal in the majority of cases, but the Washington Court has considered them illegal since 2018, especially mentioning Churchill Downs and Big Fish Casino. The virtual chips are considered “things of value,” so playing these games is actually gambling – but this didn’t stop Amazon from participating in such games.
The company hasn’t commented on the lawsuit yet.
Source: Fletcher, Robert, “Amazon faces legal challenge over “addictive” social casino apps”. iGaming Business. November 14, 2023.