What Is The VLT Class Action?
In 2012, the VLT Class Action was brought by Douglas Babstock and Fred Small against Atlantic Lottery Corporation Inc., a private business corporation in which Newfoundland and Labrador has a 25% shareholding. The class action is on behalf of all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador who have gambled on video lottery terminals.
Video lottery terminals, or VLTs, are a form of continuous electronic gambling. They differ from lotteries in that they are electronically programmed to create cognitive distortions of the perception of winning. These cognitive distortions are intended to keep the consumer engaged and losing money. The class action claims that VLTs are inherently deceptive, inherently addictive, and inherently dangerous when used as intended.
Plaintiffs believe that Atlantic Lotto knows or ought to know that VLTs are inherently deceptive, inherently addictive, and inherently dangerous when used as intended. Instead, it has embarked on a “responsible gaming strategy” with messages to consumers which place the onus of responsibility for control and the resulting harm from loss of control on consumers. The purpose of this message strategy is to blame consumers for problem gambling and divert attention from the fact that problem gambling is a natural result of design features of the VLT.
What Has Happened So Far In The VLT Class Action?
Certification determines whether the action can proceed as a class action, and is a very important event. Without certification as a class action, grouping together a large number of individual claims, the VLT case is impractical to be taken by any individual consumer and cannot be prosecuted.
The certification hearing was split into two stages. The first stage was argued on June 6 and 7, 2014 and plaintiffs won stage one about whether a cause of action is disclosed. The judge’s reasons were released on October 1, 2014.
The second stage of certification was heard at the end of September 2015, and involves whether a class action is the preferable procedure, and whether there are issues common to class members which will move the action forward once resolved. The decision is still on reserve with the motion judge.
Have You Been Affected By VLTs In Newfoundland And Labrador?
If you think you may be eligible to join the class action, please contact Patient Injury Law.