A landmark trial against Crown Resorts and slots manufacturer Aristocrat began Tuesday in Australian Federal Court in Melbourne. The plaintiff, Shonica Guy, claims that slot machines, also known as “pokies” in Australia, stole 14 years of her life.
Guy is reportedly not seeking any damages and filed the lawsuit to expose the industry’s alleged deceptive practices to help other problem gamblers.
“For too long now, we have been told we are the only ones to blame for pokies addiction,” Guy told reporters. “I want this case to show the machines are misleading, and designed to get us hooked.”
Guy’s main issue is with the game Dolphin Treasure, which according to her lawyers is misleading because the game’s fifth spinning wheel is much larger than the first four, lowering a player’s chances of winning. The lawsuit seeks to ban Crown Resorts and Aristocrat from offering the game or any game with a similar configuration in Australia.
Crown Resorts denied the allegations, while the game’s maker Aristrocrat released a statement saying the company “emphatically rejects any suggestion that its games are designed to encourage problem gambling, or in any way fail to comply with all relevant regulations and laws.”
Guy’s opponents are quick to point out that the licensed and regulated machine’s 87 percent return is well-known, and that the game complies with national standards, but the trial will still be of huge interest to Australians, who display the highest rate of gambling in the world.
Australia also recently lost online poker, after the passage of the 2016 Internet Gambling Amendment Bill forced offshore operators to stop offering games to the nearly 130,000 online players in the country.