Last week, the Kentucky Supreme Court ended a nearly decade-long legal battle between the state and PokerStars, ruling that the online poker giant must pay Kentucky damages of nearly $ 1.3 billion for offering illegal gambling services. random online to state residents.
The Supreme Court ruling, which was issued last Thursday, upheld a 2015 Franklin Circuit Court ruling.
The state sought to receive $ 300 million in damages from PokerStars that the poker operator collected from Kentucky residents who played poker between 2007 and 2011. The Franklin Circuit Court tripled that amount and ordered PokerStars to pay nearly $ 900 million.
Amaya appeals Kentucky court order
The poker operator appealed the order to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and that court reversed the ruling issued by its lower counterpart in 2018.
The Court of Appeals ruled two years ago that the state was not entitled to file a lawsuit against PokerStars and that could not identify people with prestige who lost money playing poker at PokerStars.
Under Kentucky law, horse racing betting and the state lottery are the only forms of gambling allowed. However, PokerStars had served local online poker players for years before it was banished completely from the United States in April 2011.
The Supreme Court reverses the original ruling
On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the original ruling against PokerStars and dismissed the case that was filed in 2018. In a 4-3 decision, the court reinstated the original ruling and increased the amount of the damages owed by the online poker operator at $ 1.3. thousands of millions due to accumulated interest over the years.
Judge Samuel T. Wright wrote the majority opinion of the court. The ruling said Kentucky had the right to file its claim and seek recovery “of the innumerable dollars that the criminal syndicate has cost Kentucky collectively and Kentuckians individually. ”
Judge Wright wrote that “money sent to foreign gambling accounts is lost and the status is seen deprived of taxes to which it is entitled. ”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear welcomed the Supreme Court ruling, saying the $ 1.3 billion reward would better position the state to “get out of this difficult pandemic.”
PokerStars is currently owned by Flutter Entertainment after it merged with former poker operator company The Stars Group this spring. On last week’s ruling in Kentucky, Flutter said there are “various legal processes available” and it is confident that “Any amount that finally becomes responsible for paying” it will be only part of what the Supreme Court says PokerStars must pay.