On Monday, the Western District of Washington granted approval to a $415,000 settlement in a case brought by Washington consumers against DoubleDown Interactive LLC, a social casino game developer headquartered in Seattle, Wash., and its former parent company International Game Technology (together, IGT).
As the plaintiffs noted in their motion for settlement approval, the agreement is part of an ongoing seven-year campaign of lawsuits against social casino companies and now, the tech-giant platforms who partner with them.
The consumers’ operative amended complaint filed in April 2021 alleged that IGT owns and operates video game development companies in the so-called “casual games” industry, or “computer games designed to appeal to a mass audience of casual gamers.” One of which is a popular online casino available on Android and Apple iOS devices and Facebook called Double Down Casino.
The game platform reportedly features casino-like games of chance such as slots and spin-to-win games. According to the complaint, these are unlawful because the addictive-by-design games only reward players with more chances to play, not fiat currency.
“Double Down Casino games are illegal gambling games because they are online games at which players wager things of value (the chips) and by an element of chance (e.g., by spinning an online slot machine) are able to obtain additional entertainment and extend gameplay (by winning additional chips),” the complaint specified.
The plaintiffs, on behalf of a nationwide class of people who purchased and lost chips by wagering at the Double Down Casino, sought relief under Washington consumer protection laws and gambling regulations.
With this week’s five-page order, the parties’ settlement is moving ahead. It comes after motion practice, including for discovery, sanctions, and class certification. The parties reached agreement 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 relating to video game behavior disorders within its applications. It also agreed to a voluntary self-exclusion policy, published on its website, that will allow players to exclude themselves from further gameplay.
The court preliminarily appointed lawyers with Edelson PC as class counsel and ratified a class certification schedule. Double Down is represented by Davis Wright and Tremaine and IGT by Baker & Hostetler LLP.