DoubleDown Interactive and International Game Technology Plc (IGT) agreed to a settlement of $415 million in a class action lawsuit in Washington. The lawsuit was related to the sale of virtual chips in several social casino-style games, including DoubleDown Casino and related brands. Players who bought virtual chips from one of the sites in question may be eligible to receive a portion of the settlement.
While the defendants deny any wrongdoing, they agreed to the settlement in August 2022 to avoid further expenses and uncertainties associated with the case. Now, it’s up to individuals in the class to file their claims if they want to receive part of that money.
Who’s Eligible to Claim a Share of the DoubleDown Settlement?
While the case played out in Washington, all Americans are potentially included. To be part of the class, an individual must reside in the US and have played one or more of the following games on or before Nov. 14, 2022:
- DoubleDown Casino
- Ellen’s Road to Riches
- DoubleDown Fort Knox
- DoubleDown Classic
The claims process is open until April 11, 2023. Once it closes, JND Legal Administration will determine the amount each eligible party is entitled to. The calculation will involve the number of people filing a claim and how much each individual spent on in-app purchases while playing the games.
How Much Money Will DoubleDown Settlement Claimants Receive?
Because the payout is based on expenditures, those who played the games for free but did not purchase chips will not receive a payment.
A payment estimate calculator on the website suggests that those who spent less than $1000 on the games might expect to get back 10% to 30% of their lifetime purchases. The lawsuit prioritizes reimbursing bigger spenders, so those with high purchase totals will receive a larger percentage.
The calculator’s scale maxes out at $100,000. For someone whose lifetime purchases are that high, it estimates a payout range of $33,334.69 to $83,336.72, or 33% to 83%.
Eligible individuals can also exclude themselves from the class action by the same deadline: April 11, 2023. Doing so means they will not receive a payment but retain the right to sue the defendants separately.
By doing nothing, eligible individuals forfeit both their share of the class action and their ability to sue separately at a later date.
Background On The Lawsuit
Plaintiffs Adrienne Benson and Mary Simonson filed the lawsuit in Washington State on April 9, 2018. They claimed that the defendants’ games meet the state’s definition of illegal gambling, despite not awarding cash payouts. They sought compensation for themselves and other members of the class through Washington’s Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act (RMLGA), the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), and unjust enrichment laws.
According to Washington’s RMLGA, residents who have lost money from illegal gambling have the right to seek and recover their losses. Meanwhile, the state’s CPA protects individuals from unfair business practices. The plaintiffs felt that advertising the casino as “free” but requiring players to purchase additional chips constituted an unfair business practice.
IGT owned DoubleDown from 2012 to 2017 and agreed to pay $269.75 million to cover that period. DoubleDown directly contributed the remaining $145.25 million.
As part of the settlement, DoubleDown agreed to implement responsible gaming practices and features, including a self-exclusion option, and adjust its language. It also agreed to update its games to allow players to top up their free chips to keep playing. One key argument in this and similar lawsuits has been that the ability to extend play time by winning chips constitutes a “thing of value,” which is a necessary component of legal definitions of gambling.
Another recent example was a class action suit against VGW, the owner of social casinos Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots. That case also ended in a settlement, although for a smaller amount ($11.75 million) and only for players in Kentucky. The terms of that settlement similarly included the addition of responsible gaming features and changes to the games to remove the need to buy or win chips to keep playing.
Who Are DoubleDown And IGT?
DoubleDown Interactive is a social gaming company that develops social casino games, including slots, poker, blackjack, and more. The social or sweepstakes casino format uses free chips instead of money; players can win prizes and gifts. While not obligated, players can purchase extra chips beyond the free chips. Games are available on desktop, iOS, Android, and Facebook.
DoubleDown was founded in 2010 and purchased by IGT in 2012 for $500 million. In 2017, IGT sold DoubleDown to South Korean social casino gaming company DoubleU Games for $825 million.
IGT is a large B2B supplier of games and technology for retail casinos, online gambling sites and lotteries. Its products include slot machines, table games, video poker machines, online gaming platforms, and mobile gaming apps.
Due to its relationship with IGT, DoubleDown offers many games that share themes with IGT’s real money slots, including: