WHERE THERE ARE GAMBLING PROBLEMS, THERE&#039;S MONEY...FOR SOME
02nd May, 2013 at 16:44:22
US lawyers considering the opportunities presented by legalised online gambling
Product liability lawyers in the United States are apparently licking their lips at the prospect of problem gambling
business as various US states move towards legalised online gambling, reports the Reuters news agency.
The agency notes that last month a group of lawyers and academics experienced in the liability field met to discuss the possibilities for success of a lawsuit claiming online gaming further promotes gambling addiction.
"The legal strategy under consideration would be modeled on the class action lawsuits that forced cigarette companies to agree to pay $206 billion over 25 years to compensate for medical costs, caring for people with smoking-related illnesses, and to fund anti-smoking advocacy groups," Reuters reports.
Boston-based lawyer Scott Harshbarger told Reuters that more than 20 attorneys from high-profile law firms were among those invited to the meeting in Indianapolis and who have been communicating for the past few months. The meeting was billed as a "gambling litigation study group," according to emails.
Harshbarger, a former Massachusetts attorney general who led states' efforts against Big Tobacco, said he is working with the group in studying the parallels with the gambling industry.
Former Assistant USA Attorney Michael Fagan, who prosecuted 30 cases against offshore sports betting operations from 1997 to 2008, helped put together the Indianapolis meeting, according to one email.
Gambling industry critics argue that casino companies use deceptive practices to lure consumers, depend on addiction for profits and should be held liable for the billions of dollars in costs to society.
Gambling company representatives reject the charges, saying their industry has a history of acting responsibly and helps to identify customers who may need treatment.
David Stewart, a Washington-based lawyer and general counsel to the American Gaming Association, told Reuters that previous lawsuits targeting traditional gambling have been thrown out by the courts.
New Jersey is expected to release regulations for online gaming in coming weeks. Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, Illinois and Mississippi are among states also considering online gambling.
Finding a way to sue successfully may be difficult; in 2004 a federal appellate ruling found that millions of gamblers could not be declared a single class because each gambles for different reasons.
Related News Tags: New Jersey, California, USA