Casinos Strike Jackpot as Poker Machines Ruled Not ‘Deceptive’

The recent case against Crown Casinos shows design features on poker machines are not deceptive, however brings to light further issues about regulations and consumer protection.

Poker Machines in Australia

Australia has had a long history of gambling, with the first legal poker machines operating at registered clubs as early as 1956. These machines are as well-known for their colour and noise as they are for their propensity to get individuals addicted. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority annual report estimated that in NSW alone, revenue from poker machines reached up to $73 billion. However, these machines have recently come under fire from a former-addict as being deceptively designed to give off the impression that players had won.

Case Against Aristocrat

Ms Guy brought her case to the Federal Court that the popular Dolphin Treasure machine found in Crown Casinos had been designed by Aristocrat to give off the effect that participants had won, even if they had not. The claim was also brought up that the players’ chance of winning were misrepresented, further inciting gamblers’ obsessions.

Although the justice agreed that the “theoretical return to player” shown on the display screen may be confusing to some players (with numbers presented as much higher than actual chances of winning), she further emphasised that the confusion would be “fleeting”. As such, Justice Mortimer ultimately ruled that the design features of the poker machines could not be constituted as unconscionable or ‘misleading conduct’.

Here, the justice was not prepared to rule that a hypothetical person in the circumstances would have formed a particular impression on the workings of a poker machine based on what they saw on the display screen. The case showed that the expectations and impressions of a hypothetical person in the situation is vital to make out deceptive conduct.

For a comprehensive explanation on what is misleading and deceptive conduct, check out our previous guide.

Consumer Protection Issues

During this case, Justice Mortimer further noted that the relationship between certain design features of poker machines and gambling addictions should be looked into further. Analogous to the development of Australia’s tobacco control, this case also brought to light regulatory issues with goods and services that are considered harmful to consumers.

What do you think about this decision? Let us know your opinions by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

You may also like
Recent Articles

Get the latest news

By clicking on 'Sign up to our newsletter' you are agreeing to the Lawpath Terms & Conditions


Register for our free live webinar today!

Price of Justice: Paying the Right Price for Legal Expertise

12:00pm AEDT
Tuesday 30th April 2024

By clicking on 'Register for webinar' you are agreeing to the Lawpath Terms & Conditions

You may also like

This article goes into everything you need to know about full-time employment agreements.
Check out this guide on employment verification letters. This article has everything you need to know about employment verification letters.

Thank you!

Your registration is confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox for an email with details on how to watch the webinar.