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Aristocrat, Crown face legal challenge over pokies game

Mon, Sep 5, 10:33am by Staff Writer

Pokies manufacturer Aristocrat and gambling leviathan Crown Casino are set to have to defend legal action from a recovering gambling addict that the pokie machine game, Dolphin Treasure, is deceptive.

The Age has reported that legal firm Maurice Blackburn is representing Shonica Guy and will formerly advise Crown and Aristocrat this week over its intention to take legal action after Ms Guy’s 14-year battle with pokie addiction.

The specific allegation surrounds the game Dolphin Treasure, with the effects of the game reportedly studied by a group of Monash University researchers.

The design of the game will be a central tenant of the legal challenge, with Ms Guy’s legal team to contend that losses are disguised as wins through the use of music and sounds.

It is set to be a landmark challenge to both those who manufacture the games and those who offer them as part of their gambling product, such as Crown.

The recent Australian Gambling Statistics showed Australians spent over $11.5 billion on pokies in 2014-15, a 4.9 per cent rise on the previous year. The equates to $633 per person.

Ms Guy claims that she has endured 14-year addiction since first playing pokie machines when she was 17.

“The machines are actually designed to take your money; as soon as I touched the machine I was hooked. There is a fine line between gambling and entertainment,” she told The Age.

“It took over my life; half my life was wasted. I was hypnotised for a decade, I didn’t know I was hooked, then someone said, ‘I think you are hooked’.”

“I thought I had a fair chance of winning, but I found out that they are rigged. They trick with design features.”

The action is supported by the Alliance for Gambling Reform, led by anti-pokies campaigner Tim Costello.

“This is the people versus Packer. And it’s about time the people had a real win,” Costello said.

“Adding Aristocrat to the case means it’s now become David versus Goliaths. There are effectively two Goliaths. We can’t let pokies money win the day this time.”

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