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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Player Calls Oregon Poker Lottery Rigged

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - The Oregon State Lottery's rigged video poker games have cost players $134 million, a man claims in a class action lawsuit.

Lead plaintiff Justin Curzi claims the video poker machines' "auto-hold" feature misleads players about how to increase their odds of winning a hand.

The auto-hold feature recommends playing strategies, and allows players to automatically discard and draw new cards with a single button, according to the complaint.

"Thus, relying on the auto-hold feature is the easiest and fastest way to play video poker, and the player must actively elect not to rely on the auto-hold feature in order to avoid following its recommended strategies," Curzi says in the complaint.

He claims that the auto-hold feature sometimes recommends strategies "that materially decrease a player's chances of playing a winning hand when compared against the best possible strategy."

The state lottery was audited by Gaming Laboratories International in 2009, and the audit found that "there is virtually no difference between actual payouts and the payouts achieved by following the recommendations made by the auto-hold feature," the complaint states. "These payouts, however, are more than 3 percent less (on average) than the payouts that would be achieved if the auto-hold feature actually did recommend the best playing strategies." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Curzi claims the State Lottery knows that video poker players believe that the auto-hold feature offers the best playing strategy, but has not informed them that it is not the case.

"Instead, the Lottery publicly advertises the theoretical payouts for each video game, including on its website, without disclosing the fact that the auto-hold feature is programmed to pay out at less than those odds," the complaint states.

Curzi claims that poker players "lost an estimated $134 million as a result of defendants' wrongful conduct."

Also named as defendants are IGT Inc., GTech USA, and WMS Gaming Inc.

Curzi seeks class certification and at least $134 million in damages for fraud, misrepresentation, negligence and unjust enrichment.

He is represented by Jay Zollinger with Outside General Counsel Services, of Beaverton.

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