‘High 5’ Games Social Casino Lawsuit Won by Plaintiff Who Spent $7.5K on the App

A Washington State man who spent $7,470 on virtual coins to play slots on social casino app High 5 Casino has won his potentially multimillion class-action lawsuit against the casino’s operator. 

Late last week, Western District of Washington Court judge Tiffany Cartwright found in favor of the plaintiff, Rick Larsen, in the case Larsen vs PTT LLC. 

Social casinos use virtual play money, which can be spent on casino slots-style games. They give some out for free, and players can, of course, win more. But they’re also are encouraged to buy more, using real world cash, if their free credits run out. 

The judge determined that the virtual coins High 5 uses are, in fact, items of value under Washington state law. That therefore constitutes unregulated gambling from High 5, as well as a violation of advertising law by claiming the app is free to play. 

The amount of damages owed by High 5 is set to be decided over the coming weeks. The class action part of proceedings means High 5 could potentially be on the hook for any and all spending by customers during the period it was active in Washington State.  

The Lawsuit 

The lawsuit was first filed in 2018. It claimed that High 5 violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act. It also said the plaintiff was entitled to claim damages under the Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act.

“Defendant High 5 Games is a developer of “social casino” applications that, at least until 2022, were offered to customers in Washington State,” the lawsuit says.

“In this class action, Plaintiff Rick Larsen alleges that two of the apps, High 5 Casino and High 5 Vegas, are illegal under Washington law because they amount to unlicensed gambling, violate the Washington Consumer Protection Act, and have unjustly enriched High 5.”

High 5 claimed that because its coins cannot be cashed out and are given out free, they are not of monetary value and therefore aren’t classified as gambling.

But the lawsuit said the fact they can be bought at all makes them items of value under state gambling regulations. 

In the end, Cartwright agreed with the plaintiff that the games constitute illegal gambling and violate consumer protection laws in the state. 

The Payout

During the court case, the team behind Larsen’s lawsuit subpoenaed tech platforms that hosted High 5’s social casino apps to find out how much money was spent on them in the state. 

According to data from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Meta, Washington state players spent some $21 million on High 5’s social casino apps between 2014 and 2023.

Cartwright determined that this may be, in fact, a conservative figure. The exact amount that High 5 could owe its former customers in the state will be determined in the near future.

It will have to go a lot higher to beat the record settlement paid in a social casino court case in the U.S. in recent years. 

In 2023, large slots maker International Game Technology and its former social casino subsidiary, DoubleDown, paid a hefty $415 million to settle a similar case against them in a Washington state district court. 

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