Social casino operators in the United States will be carefully reviewing a federal court decision issued on Wednesday, which ruled that Big Fish Games' Big Fish Casino constitutes illegal online gambling under Washington state law.

The US Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit issued the potentially precedent setting ruling in response to an appeal of an earlier ruling by a lower court.

The original class action lawsuit was initiated by Cheryl Kater, a Big Fish Casino customer who claims to have spent over $1,000 on virtual credits at the site between 2013 and 2015. She initiated the lawsuit in 2015 against the then owner of the business, Churchill Downs Incorporated, arguing that the site operates in breach of a number of Washington state statutes, including the Recovery of Money Lost at Gambling Act (RMLGA) and the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

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