Zynga Slapped With Class Action Lawsuit Over Illegal Slot Games In California
Zynga may be best known for making “FarmVille” but the company also has developed and released a number of other social games. Zynga has come under fire in the past as the company’s social casino games violate several state laws and are considered to be encouraging illegal gambling technically.
The games that the company offers are technically slot games but no real money changes hands. Instead, players wager virtual currency which they are given for free. Unfortunately, this when their virtual money stash runs out, players are given the option to buy more of it with real money.
Class Action Lawsuit
Zynga has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit from Michael Owens, who is a resident of Florida. Owens says he filed a class action lawsuit for himself and on behalf of others who have also been impacted by playing these technically illegal social slot games.
The main thrust of the lawsuit is that Zynga does not accurately market its social slots games. While the company says that they are legal video games, under California law, they are technically illegal slot machines. Owens points out that all the games are virtual slot machines that have players buy virtual coins to make bets.
He also points out that the game developer uses the same tricks that casinos, both online and offline, use to lure in customers. They then push the players to keep playing and spending money.
Zynga hit the gaming scene back in 2007 when it introduced social games like FarmVille. The company started to switch over to a more gambling-oriented gaming field in 2012. Zynga teamed up with bwin.party and started with real money gaming in the UK. However, they ended the partnership back in 2015. While Zynga ended the relationship, it has continued to use a gambling orientated strategy in its social games.
The class action lawsuit points out that Zynga has been making it easy to spend money on these social slots with microtransactions and virtual coins which make players think that they aren’t spending a lot of money. Owens says that he was a victim of this strategy as he ended up spending more than $8,000 playing these games without realizing it.
The lawsuit also alleges that Zynga used personal information of players to determine those who have addictive personalities so that they can hook them into playing more games. This violates the California Penal Code Section 330v and the Unfair Competition Law in the state. The class action lawsuit is pursuing damages and restitution, as well as paying for all of Owen’s legal costs.