On Monday, the Western District of Washington approved a $415,000 settlement in a case brought by Washington consumers against DoubleDown Interactive LLC, a social casino game developer headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and its former parent company. International Game Technology (together, IGT).
As the plaintiffs noted in their motion to approve the settlement, the settlement is part of an ongoing seven-year campaign of lawsuits against social casino companies and now giant tech platforms that partner with they.
The Amended Consumer Agent’s Complaint filed in April 2021 alleged that IGT owned and operated video game development companies in the so-called “casual games” industry, or “computer games designed to appeal to an audience of mass of casual gamers”. One of them is a popular online casino available on Android and Apple iOS and Facebook devices called Double Down Casino.
The gaming platform would offer casino-style games of chance, such as slots and spin-to-win games. According to the complaint, these are illegal because addictive games by design only reward players with more chances to play, not fiat currency.
“Double Down Casino games are illegal games of chance because they are online games in which players wager things of value (chips) and by an element of chance (for example, by spinning a slot machine in online) are able to gain additional entertainment and expand gameplay (by earning additional tokens),” the complaint states.
The plaintiffs, on behalf of a nationwide class of people who bought and lost chips while betting at Double Down Casino, sought relief under Washington’s consumer protection laws and gambling regulations.
With this week’s five-page order, the settlement of the parties is moving forward. It comes after movement practice, including discovery, sanctions, and class certification. The parties reached a settlement through mediation and the plaintiffs sought approval of the proposed settlement last week.
In addition to the agreed sum, IGT has agreed to maintain a link to resources related to behavioral disorders in video games within its applications. It has also agreed to a voluntary self-exclusion policy, posted on its website, which will allow players to exclude themselves from further play.
The court previously appointed Edelson PC attorneys as class counsel and ratified a class certification schedule. Double Down is represented by Davis Wright and Tremaine and IGT by Baker & Hostetler LLP.