A gambler who was addicted to the pokies for 14 years has launched legal action against Crown casino and the maker of the Dolphin Treasure machine alleging the game is rigged.
Lawyers for Shonica Guy on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court alleging the machines' design means players are likely to be misled or deceived regarding their chances of winning.
The move comes almost two months after Ms Guy's lawyers wrote to Crown Melbourne and pokie manufacturer Aristocrat complaining about the alleged rigged design.
While each of the five spinning reels appear the same size on Dolphin Treasure, the first four have 30 symbols while the fifth, and last to stop spinning, has 44.
That means it's much harder to win the big prize symbols on the last reel.
Furthermore, the symbols aren't evenly distributed across the five reels.
Ms Guy says she was shocked to learn her favourite machine was configured that way.
"I actually could not believe it - I felt really ripped off," she told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"They (pokies) stole half of my life that I can't get back and I was just amazed a machine could do that."
Ms Guy, 40, started gambling when she was just 17 and only kicked the habit in her early 30s.
The pokies occupied her "every thought" for 14 years, she said on Wednesday.
"I dreamt about them, I could hear the music."
Ms Guy is seeking an injunction banning Crown from operating Dolphin Treasure or any machine with a similar reel configuration.
She also wants Aristocrat banned from supplying the machine or anything similar to Crown "or any other gaming venue within Australia".
Aristocrat declined to comment on Wednesday but in early September said it would vigorously defend any action.
"Aristocrat emphatically rejects any suggestion that its games are designed to encourage problem gambling or in any way fail to comply with relevant regulations and laws," the company said at the time.
The lawsuit is being supported by the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
"We have given up on state governments and the federal government acting responsibly," spokesman Tim Costello told reporters.
Maurice Blackburn says, if successful, the litigation will have ramifications for poker machine design across the industry.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland agrees.
"This case is incredibly important because it will undermine the entire pokies industry," she told reporters.
"This is about deceptive advertising. These machines suck people in, they take their money and it's deliberate."