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

The high court has agreed to combine two challenges

The Supreme Court of Canada will look at whether a potentially groundbreaking court case that takes aim at video-lottery terminals can proceed and, if so, on what grounds.

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The high court has agreed to combine two challenges flowing from a decision of the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal that cleared the way for a class action alleging VLTs 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 from VLT revenue.

The corporation insists the highly regulated electronic games are decided only by chance.

Following its usual custom, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the appeals and no hearing date has yet been set.

The Canadian Press

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