The Big Fish Casino social Casino was banned from operating in Washington State. The Court of Appeals of the Ninth Federal Circuit of the United States found that the activity of the gaming platform contradicts the state gambling law.

The lawsuit against the parent company of the Churchill Downs casino operator was opened back in 2015. The plaintiff was a certain Cheryl Kater, who spent more than $1 thousand on virtual chips at Big Fish Casino.

According to the laws of Washington State, anyone who loses “something of value” due to participation in illegal gambling is entitled to compensation for losses.

The court of first instance did not recognize the virtual chips as a valuable item, but the Court of Appeal annulled this decision.

State law defines a “valuable item” as something:

  • directly or indirectly replacing money or real estate;
  • expanding the services and entertainment provided;
  • giving the privilege to play for free.

The court qualified the chips from Big Fish Casino as valuable on the last point, since it is impossible to activate virtual gambling machines without them. That is, the possession of chips gives the privilege of the game.

To continue the game, the casino client must either wait for a new portion of free chips, or buy them in the service store.

Based on this, Judge Milan Smith concluded that Churchill Downs and its subsidiary Big Fish Games conducted illegal gambling activities in Washington.

The decision of the federal court may seriously affect the market of social casinos and casual games in general, GeekWire believes in connection with this situation.

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