Nfld. & Labrador

Class action lawsuit claiming Atlantic Lottery VLTs 'deceptive and illegal' certified by N.L. judge

Two VLT users are a big step closer to suing the Atlantic Lottery Corporation for practices they claim are deceptive, dangerous and illegal.

Plaintiffs cite The Statute of Anne (Gaming Act, 1710) allowing for the recovery of losses from gaming

Ches Crosbie, on behalf of his clients, argues video lottery terminals are inherently addictive. (CBC)

Two VLT users are a big step closer to suing the Atlantic Lottery Corporation for practices they claim are deceptive, dangerous and illegal.

Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Justice Alphonsus Faour has certified a class action lawsuit that names Douglas Babstock, of Mount Pearl, and Fred Small, of Gander, as class representatives.

Some basis in the evidence of deception and misrepresentation in the offering of these games.- Alphonsus Faour

"The plaintiffs have asserted a claim which rests on allegations of misrepresentation and deception in the offering of games which they say may cause harm," said Faour in a written decision.

"The plaintiffs have persuaded me that their conceptualization of this case is workable, and can be considered on the merits of the case as framed."

Problem gambling researcher

In his decision, the judge references Dr. Kevin Harrigan, a research associate professor at the University of Waterloo, who has studied "problem gambling."

"Based on the affidavit of Dr. Harrigan, there is some basis in the evidence of deception and misrepresentation in the offering of these games to the public," wrote Faour.

Ancient act cited

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, Ches Crosbie and Michael Dull, reached deep into the past to find a remedy for their clients. Their application references a more than 300-year-old act for the better preventing of excessive and deceitful gaming.

Class action lawyer Ches Crosbie is one of the lawyers who applied to have the class action against the Atlantic Lottery Corporation certified. (CBC)

The act known as the Statute of Anne, 1710, or the Gaming Act, 1710, permits anyone who has lost money gaming to sue for and recover three times the value of the money they lost.

"The defendant rightly points out that the act may not be in force in the province at this time in history. The plaintiffs will have to make the argument for its applicability at trial," wrote Faour.