Amazon Facing Lawsuit for Allegedly Earning Billions of Dollars From Illegal Gambling Apps

  • The lawsuit claims Amazon made money from distributing apps and processing payments
  • This complaint cites a ruling in Washington that deemed social casinos illegal
  • Other tech giants like Apple, Google, and Meta have been hit with similar lawsuits
Amazon office building
Amazon is facing accusations that it earned billions of dollars by facilitating illegal gambling apps. [Image:]

Asking a lot of questions

Social casinos have been a hot topic in the US for a few years now. They are easily accessible as they do not require people to deposit real money to play casino games like blackjack, roulette, and poker.

lawsuits against game developers and app stores alike

One of the most divisive aspects of these offerings is that many of them allow players to buy additional in-game currency with real money, yet they don’t offer a way for people to cash out the virtual currency. This has led many users to claim that these apps are a form of illegal gambling and file lawsuits against game developers and app stores alike.

The latest high-profile legal action in this regard involves Amazon, with a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming that the company made billions of dollars through the distribution of social casino apps and by processing the payments for the virtual tokens.

Latest in a flurry of similar complaints

A Nevada resident filed the lawsuit, saying that he was addicted to online slot games. He outlined how Amazon offers over 30 illegal casino apps to people, labeling it a “dangerous partnership.”

The lawsuit cites a ruling in 2018 that found social casino apps of this kind to be illegal according to Washington state law. One of the big accusations in the complaint is that social casinos and Amazon “have found a way to smuggle slot machines into the homes of consumers throughout the United States.”

already successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars worth of class-action settlements

Edelson, the law firm representing the plaintiff, has already successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars worth of class-action settlements through similar complaints. This is the law firm’s eighth social casino-related legal action; the total size of this case could extend to tens of thousands of people.

Coming to a head

Amazon keeps 30% of all in-app purchases and the lawsuit claims that the Washington-based company has a financial interest in social casinos as a result as it provides a marketplace for them and processes the payments. The complaint seeks restitution and damages.

One of the biggest ever social casino settlements was $415m last year involving International Game Technology (IGT) and DoubleDown Interactive.

Other tech giants like Apple, Google, and Meta have all been on the receiving end of similar lawsuits in recent years. An ongoing appeal from these companies claims that if online platforms are liable for processing the virtual currency payments then this could endanger the entire internet economy. They argue that any platform that offers in-app purchases could face liability when someone claims an injury from an unlawful product.

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