Big Fish Games Lays Off Staff as Judge Approves $155 Million Class Action Settlement for Former Players
Posted on: September 4, 2020, 07:02h.
Last updated on: September 4, 2020, 09:52h.
Social casino developer Big Fish Games is expected to lay off 250 staff members as part of a restructuring process as it downsizes, according to a staff memo dated Tuesday, Sept. 1.
This is the second round of layoffs in as many years. The new cutbacks, which mainly affect its Seattle office, come just 24 hours after a federal judge issued preliminary approval of two class-action settlements.
These will see Big Fish owner Aristocrat Technologies, and former owner Churchill Downs Inc, cough up $155 million to compensate former customers who lost money via the Big Fish app.
The lawsuits stem from an initial case against Big Fish brought in 2015 by former player Cheryl Kater.
Kater argued that Big Fish Games constituted illegal gambling in Washington State and claimed she was entitled to recoup her losses under an antiquated law called the Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act.
The district court tossed the case. But in 2018 a federal appellate judge sensationally sided with Kater. Thus, Washington became one of a very few jurisdictions in the world that considers games played with virtual ‘play-money’ chips to be bona fide gambling games.
Washington defines gambling as “risking something of value on the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the person’s control or influence to receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”
Judge Milan D. Smith ruled the virtual play chips used in Big Fish’s Casino games constituted “something of value,” despite their lack of direct monetary worth – a ruling with huge ramifications for the social games industry.
Lawmakers Batting for Big Fish
Copresidents Andrew Pedersen and Jason Willig made no mention of the settlements in the staff memo. Rather, the layoffs were part of a strategy to pivot from a multi-platform provider to a mobile-focused operation.
“The scale that Big Fish developed over many years as a multi-platform publisher has made it difficult to successfully lead in mobile, which requires greater agility and different operating and creative capabilities,” they wrote. “By pivoting how we operate and sharpening focus, we will gain increased flexibility to engage players more effectively today and invest more for the future.”
Two bills introduced in the Washington legislature in February look to safeguard the state’s gaming industry. An estimated 20 percent of the global video game development industry is now based in Washington.
The bills, sponsored by State Rep. Zach Hudgins (D-11th) and State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5th), would modify state gambling law to exempt games where players do not cash out for real money in order to protect the industry from more lawsuits.
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Last Comments ( 28 )
I have aswell spent thousands of dollars on the app . There margin in wins always varies yes but there robbery and scam on the game If there’s something wrong like a faulty winning and one time it’s a winning bet line and other times it’s not compensations are next to nothing for people as my self and many other that have put so much effort and time in the game for nothing to be treated and valued like we are nothing is not rite and feel so betrayed by a company’s game I really injoyed. I just feel used by big fish just like the other comments why if you hit big or have a blue hand does the reels beyond go to just spins and no wins it’s like when you buy your piggy bank and I have over 10 times there 99.9 lost of donated money $49.99plus tax =$53 ruffle at that numerous $100 purchases good buy $50 packages aswell even $20 $10 &$5 at times n $2 how can my teir 10 mean anything when my best deal to buy is 330m give or take when you throw a holiday sale it’s the same we already bought multiple thousands in coins with maybe inflation value with no appreciation or true value gifts of bonus once in while yes thank you but it’s just like a piggy bank it’s just a false appreciation by the game and misleading thank you big fish a.k.a (Lookin) it’s sad when you injoy the game and love a lot good people in the game thanks slot members stay safe u to bigfish
Really enjoy playing and myself spent over a thousand + dollar. The only problem I had with this game is when you did hit big they wouldn’t credit your account with the win or they would remove you from the game without crediting your wins. I had to write to them several times and they still refuse to give you your winnings.
Though I've spent and promptly lost a total of a few hundred dollars here myself in the past, I have no intention of joining this lawsuit. This site is clearly meant as entertainment and I did enjoy my time spent spinning. BF shouldn't be responsible for someone with no self-control who spends more than they know they can afford. I haven't made any purchases at all for at least two years but am still able to play as much as I want every day with just the free chips they provide. It makes it more of a challenge to have to strategize my bet amounts and I find I enjoy it even more than the mindless clicking I used to do. IMO, those who are now regretting losing more money than they should have spent in the first place are just looking for someone else to blame.
I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this game.. and forwhat? You rarely ever win anymore, it is such a scam.. and when you do win they don't credit your account like they should.. It is so hard to stop playing though, especially during this pandemic when there isn't a whole lot to do!! They are making a killing off everyone and taking advantage of people.. pretty sad!!
I have been playing Epic Diamond Slots for years and have enjoyed it quite a bit. I haven't "invested" thousands of dollars like some of the other people have claimed, but I have spent some over the years. I've enjoyed the game.... it has been my favorite casino game and I have spent a lot of my down-time on it. However, I've noticed the past few months that the tournaments I enjoyed so much were not being fairly awarded. Players who ended up in "top ten" in a tournament were awarded thousands of points to use in future games. The top ten were the players who won the most points in a specific game during a specific time period. I noticed that my winning amounts were not adding up. I would sometimes win tens of thousand points that were not added to my total. It was very frustrating because I would not get credit for the points and, ultimately, not move up in the ranking. My only consolation was that the other players were probably getting the same treatment. I would occasionally win, though. I hate to see this game end. I would, however, be appreciative of reimbursement.
I was introduced to B.F.C. in 2015 while enduring extensive chemotherapy. I would often play to occupy my mind, and to distract what was really going on. And at that time I would only pay 20.00 here or there. And then the need to play got progressively worse. Its nothing to spend between 50 dollars up to 150 a day ! And I'm still doing it as we speak. I would hate to know what I've spent overall. And this pandemic has helped any either. The pandemic has increased the likelihood that I'll play, cause most things are shut down. I hope the settlement looks at each, and everybody who has lost significant amounts of money. I even started maxing credit cards to hold me over until I got paid from work. How ridiculous is that? Hopefully this will all soon come to an end.
I HAVE LOST SO MUCH I MEAN OVER 10000.00 TO THIS GAME!!!! IF IT WAS ILLEGAL I WANT A PART OF MY MONEY BACK!!! WHAT A SCAM THIS IS!!!!
Have lost thousands also Sure hope to see some dollars come back to me Such a rip-off!!! Anything special needed to do to be part of the lawsuit
Yes I to have lost thousands. 450.00 last weekend and still haven't gotten my lost chips. Won 2 billion chips and the game never gave them too me.
How can I get in on this lawsuit settlement? I've lost thousands over the years on this app!
Would love to be reimbursed for all of the money I've lost over the years to these thieves.
I would love to get some money back.
I dido the last comment/question.
Yes when do we get our money?
I am about of this class action suit. Spent thousands on this game. When will I and everyone else expect to see a payment?