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Video-lottery terminal class action cannot go ahead, Supreme Court says

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says a class-action lawsuit that took aim at video lottery terminals cannot proceed.

The high court has overturned a Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal decision that cleared the way for the class action, which alleged that the Atlantic Lottery Corp.’s VLT games are inherently deceptive, addictive and illegal under the Criminal Code.

The action included as many as 30,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador who paid the corporation to gamble on VLT games any time after April 2006.

The lead plaintiffs, retirees Douglas Babstock and Fred Small, were seeking damages equal to the alleged unlawful gain obtained by the lottery corporation through VLT revenue.

The corporation said the plaintiffs could not possibly show the VLT games fall within the Criminal Code’s prohibition against three-card monte — a game in which a player tries to follow one of three cards through a series of manipulations and then bets on his or her ability to locate the card.

In its decision today, the Supreme Court set aside the certification order and struck out the statement of claim in its entirety.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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