The Supreme Court of Canada will look at whether a class action aimed at video lottery terminals will proceed, in a July 24, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Supreme Court of Canada to rule on video lottery terminals class-action case

Decision on whether the case will proceed is on the way

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is slated to decide this morning whether a class action that takes aim at video lottery terminals can proceed and, if so, on what grounds.

The Atlantic Lottery Corp. is challenging a Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal decision that cleared the way for the class action, which alleges the corporation’s VLT games are inherently deceptive, addictive and illegal under the Criminal Code.

The action includes as many as 30,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador who paid the Atlantic Lottery Corp. to gamble on VLT games any time after April 2006, and the outcome could have implications for such gaming across Canada.

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

The corporation says the plaintiffs cannot 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.

It has asked the Supreme Court to set aside the certification order and strike out the statement of claim in its entirety.

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

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