Novomatic Forced To Refund Pokies Player Losses
Apart from the cost implications, it’s a public relations nightmare and the last thing that any operator or supplier wants to hear, especially when the instruction is issued by a court of law and has attracted the attention of the mass media: pay back the losses.
Novomatic has been ordered by an Austrian court to refund the amount of €2.5 million ($2.9 million) to an unnamed player. The player lost the money over a 10 year period, between 2002 and 2012, whilst using Novomatic’s pokies machines. He then approached the court, claiming that due to his addiction to gambling, he has been unable to hold down a steady job, and as such, has suffered major losses in income.
Addiction Nullifies Contract
The court ruled that due to the specific nature of the player’s condition, all bets placed by the player were deemed to be invalid, and as such, the player should be reimbursed. Novomatic, for reasons not having been made public, proceeded to appeal the court’s decision shortly after the judgement was handed down.
The appeal was however not successful and the court elected to stick to its guns. The decision regarding the appeal was handed down on August 10th. For reasons unbeknownst to the media, but understandably so for a variety of possible reasons, Novomatic decided to keep the information under wraps until now.
Second Time Unlucky
This is not the first ruling of its kind in favour of a player claiming the inability to continue with daily tasks due to an addiction. Even worse, it’s not the first time that this kind of scenario has been a reality for this particular games supplier.
In 2014, the games manufacturer was ordered to reimburse a player the amount of €800,000 after a court in Vienna had declared what it referred to as the gaming contracts between the supplier and the player to be invalid. The facts of the Vienna matter were very similar to that of the latest dispute in Austria.
Pokies machines operating outside of registered have been banned in Vienna since 2015. A number of suppliers and operators failed to heed the instruction, with roughly 2,600 having previously remained in operation. Of the 2,600 machines, 1,500 were owned and run by Novomatic.