Big Fish Lawsuits Settlement Approved by Federal Court

Australian-based manufacturer of gaming machines Aristocrat Technologies announced today the settlement related to Big Fish Games was approved by the US Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Federal Court Approval

Aristocrat filed the announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) regarding the May 2020 agreement to settle claims related to the two lawsuits brought by Cheryl Kater, Suzie Kelly, and Manasa Thimmedowda.

The lawsuits were filed against online social gaming platforms Big Fish Casino, Jackpot Magic Slots, and Epic Diamond Slots, all offered by Big Fish Games, a company Aristocrat acquired from Churchill Down Incorporated (CDI) in 2018 for $990 million.

The payment linked to the agreement totaling $155 million was split between the former owner of Big Fish, CDI, which agreed to pay $124 million, and the social games brands’ current owner Aristocrat, which agreed for payment on the remaining $31 million.

Lawsuits Date Back to 2015

The lawsuit was initially launched against CDI in 2015 by Cheryl Kater, who claimed she had lost $1,000 while playing social games from her mobile phone. She argued the social games platform was in fact offering games of chance, a category prohibited by law in Washington.

Despite the ruling against her claim from a US District Court judge in Seattle in 2016, Kater was successful at the US Court of Appeals which ruled that virtual chips represented things of value, hence games offered by Big Fish constituted illegal online gambling.

By the time of the agreement, both companies placed the money in a settlement fund as compensation for money lost and reasonable lawyers’ fees, claimed from the plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and a nationwide settlement class action.

Upon reaching the settlement agreement which was pending the approval of the federal court, Aristocrat released CDI from any indemnity regarding the two class-action lawsuits.

With the filing to the ASX Aristocrat confirmed the US Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington approved the reached agreement for settlement with the plaintiffs.

25 Comments

  • don shapiro
    March 12, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    As of todays date, March 12th, 2021, the only ones who have received payment for this settlement are the attorneys “Edelson PC” & the Administrator “Angeion Group”. Class Member are dead last in receiving anything! We cant even get a return call or email from either party! Funny how urgent it was when they wanted to talk to us but no that they’ve got theirs ,we don’t exist. Just one victims / class members opinion. It sure looks like were the big losers again, good thing Big Fish got us all very used to that! Good Day!

  • Tammy M Zirkle
    March 20, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    I would love to know what’s going on we suppose to be paid by april 12th but i still dont even know how much they say i have in lifetime spending when does that start for the 21 days we have ? Prob already has and we will get screwed again

  • Gabriela Brown
    March 24, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Still no email telling me how much I am owed yet. Still waiting …….

  • Tom
    March 24, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    I filed my claim in November 2020. The Big Fish Settlement site took down the feature of the estimated amount you will receive tool to allow you to get an idea of how much you will receive. By sliding the slider to the amount you have spent over the lifetime you’ve been playing, they projected the estimated amount you were to receive. When I did mine, my projected amount to be received was from $10,000 to $30,000. And that was based on what the least amount I was able to confirm for sure of the amount I’ve spent. But right after February 11th… the day of the finalized trial… I noticed they took down the feature of allowing someone to see their estimated amount. It started to make me think that they took it down because they are lowering the estimated amount that they once projected to us. I also can no longer call and reach anyone for information like we were once able to do. I can’t find any updated information on the matter either. Can anyone else?

  • Scott
    March 29, 2021 at 10:42 am

    I’m in the same predicament. Was told I’d be recieving something in the mail in 3 weeks. It’s been a month since I recieved that email. What the hell is going on

  • Stepphanie
    March 29, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Same thing going on here! I got the little index sized card in the mail. Did as they requested and other than the first initial email I have heard nothing else. I noticed the estimator online is gone as well. From reading through the documents on the website it looks like we should have our amount 60 days after 2/11/2021. I have been searching for more information but keep coming up empty handed.

  • Becky
    March 29, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    We are suppose to be getting an email with our lifetime spending total, but, have yet to even receive that. It says payment within 60 days of the final approval, but, I don’t see how that’s possible since it’s already been 46 days and no one has gotten the email. Then you have 21 days after that to dispute their total if you have proof they’re off. I also know if it goes past 60 days and someone decides to file a grievance with the court for violating the timeframe set forth in the order, it pushes back the timeline for payout further. They said they expect payments to go out towards the end of April,, but again not hopeful. They’ve had the financial records from Apple, google, and BF and have had 6 weeks to figure out people’s spending. At this point I just want my money. I’m owed thousands and could really use it right now.

  • Debbie S. Class Member
    March 31, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I have some info for everyone & I hope sharing this helps in some way!
    I got an email from Edelson PC & this is what I was told. We are supposed to be paid within 60 days of the hearing &/or the appeals period. I was informed that
    BF has a 30 day appeal period. So, the 60 days doesn’t start until March 13th. And payments must be issued by May 12th. Sometime between now & may 12th we will get an email with our lifetime spending amount & have 21 days to challenge the info. However, I was told that those emails & challenge deadlines will not have any effect on the issuance of the payments being made to the class members. They will be made regardless of any challenges. I guess they will deal with any additional funds from successful challenges from proceeds still in the fund before making any final round of payments. I find it very sad that the judge court ordered the attorneys & administrator as well as the 3 class reps be paid in full within 14 days via bank transfer but left the class members to be held up for months & maybe longer if Angeion feels the need for an extension, they can ask the parties ,& judge for more time. I don’t understand what is taking so long with this, it is what it is! I have a gut feeling the fund is being bled out, long before it gets paid out. Everyones getting theirs & some & the ones who were financially damaged have gotten nothing! Trickling away & again we end up the big fish losers again! Sorry I tried to be helpful but this all just ticks me off & I feel like my hands are tied & there’s not a damned thing I can do about any of it.

    • ELS
      April 13, 2021 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you for that info. I emailed Edelson and received an email saying optimistic payments will go out late April or early May.

    • MsPearson
      April 14, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      Thank you for the information

    • T-Marie McGee
      April 16, 2021 at 1:34 am

      Thank you for sharing! That was extremely helpful.

  • Carissa Tuggle
    March 31, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    At this point I’m so sick of looking up information for this! We are all owed money and no one can keep in touch with us! It’s ridiculous! If anyone is interested I. Starting a FB group for this I’m interested!!! We gotta stay updated

    • Janice Lagrave
      April 16, 2021 at 2:35 am

      Thank you for the update. Any information at this point I’d better than none.

  • Gabriela Brown
    April 1, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    I still haven’t received a follow up email stating the amount that I am owed. Hopefully it comes soon.

  • DONNA L HANDLEY
    April 1, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Maybe we should start a Fb page and also flood the attorneys with emails, this is seriously ridiculous and I too have emailed and was told there is no new updates on this and shortly we will receive emails. Im pretty much homeless and have no car and been counting on this to help my situation and also I have a very sick son so everything is weighing on me pretty hard right now.

  • Rick
    April 2, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Nothing happens fast in a lawsuit! They don’t care! They got their money and they are in no hurry to any away!

    • Rick Lundrigan
      April 10, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Who are the bigger crooks the lawyers or Big fish? Answer both are criminals!

  • Amanda
    April 5, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    April 5, 2021 and still nothing heard. It’s beginning to really grate my nerves that they couldn’t keep in contact with us and keep us in the loop. It take less than 3 minutes to type up an email saying “Sorry you have been waiting, you’re not forgotten. Payouts will happen around such and such dates. We’re waiting on blah blah blah blah blah.” A simple acknowledgment from them would go a long ways instead of us wondering what is going on.

  • DONNA L HANDLEY
    April 9, 2021 at 6:08 am

    This is just crazy

  • Rick Lundrigan
    April 10, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    April 10 and not a word! 2 claim forms in and expecting thousands back but i guess the lawyers are buying their crap with our money! Funny how you have to pay a thief to sue a thief!!

  • Linda Carloni
    April 13, 2021 at 3:48 am

    I have not heard a word from Big Fish lately or the attorneys
    I find it very odd that with a pending lawsuit Big Fish has not stopped their crooked ways! They continuously rob their players! It worse than ever! You get a bonus and boom all wins shut off the machines. Bonus received BF takes all chips back in a matter of minutes they need to be shut down completely!

  • Mary Diaz
    April 14, 2021 at 1:53 am

    Left a message with administrators that I was visiting my grandson who attends Univ of Wash in Seattle This weekend. If I have not heard from them by Friday I was going to visit the court to get some answers. They responded immediately and asked me to call them so they could explain. I said I wanted their answer in writing to everyone so they will know. Let’s see if they answer.

    • MsPearson
      April 14, 2021 at 5:56 pm

      Good job Ms Diaz. I hope you hear back from them!

    • John H.
      April 14, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      Love this! Will be paying attention to this to see if you get somewhere. Thanks!

  • Kristina
    April 15, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Still calling and waiting

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