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Kentucky Judge Orders PokerStars To Pay $870M

Amaya Gaming Plans To Appeal The State's Decision


A Kentucky judge on Wednesday ordered PokerStars to pay $870 million for doing business with state residents between 2006 and 2011. The online poker site, under the ownership of online Canadian gaming giant Amaya, plans to appeal the ruling.

According to the Associated Press, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said that PokerStars willfully violated Kentucky anti-gambling laws. It was said that more than 34,000 people spent at least $5 during the time period. PokerStars left U.S. cyberspace in 2011 in an event known as Black Friday.

PokerStars eventually settled with the federal government for $731 million, but it didn’t admit any wrongdoing. The company was recently given the OK to do business in New Jersey.

According to Amaya, PokerStars raked roughly $18 million from Kentuckians during the period in question. In other words, the state’s figure is vastly inflated, PokerStars says.

The Kentucky judge said that PokerStars must pay 12 percent in interest until it pays the $870 million. Amaya said earlier this month that it would “seek recovery against the former owners of the PokerStars business” should it ultimately have to pay Kentucky.

Amaya bought PokerStars in 2014 for $4.9 billion.

“Amaya intends to vigorously dispute any liability that may be ordered at the trial court level, and believes that there are a number of compelling legal arguments reserved for consideration, including, without limitation, the lack of standing to bring this proceeding in the name of the Commonwealth and the Court’s failure to properly apply the law,” the company said in a statement.

The Poker Players Alliance recently said that it filed a motion to get involved with the lawsuit on the side of PokerStars. The PPA called the lawsuit a "cynical big government money grab of private consumer dollars to pay for political excesses.”

As it currently stands, none of the money is expected to go to players, but rather government coffers.

With nearly 100 million registered users, Amaya’s PokerStars has nearly 70 percent of the global online poker market. It has drew some criticism lately for changes to its VIP awards program.

Two years ago, Kentucky was able to get a $15 million settlement from Bwin.Party in a similar suit. Kentucky also tried in 2008 to seize 141 domain names associated with Internet betting, though the seizures never happened.

Tags: PokerStars,   Kentucky


5 years ago

lol go fuck yourself Kentucky, greed is what is killing all these states. dont give them shit pokerstars


5 years ago

Unfortunately. Amaya as a public company now listed in Toronto and NY, they will have to pay if they lose the appeal. Good luck to Amaya trying to get money from the Stars Founders.

Kentucky may be the tip of the iceberg in US States going after Amaya.


5 years ago

Great news, and if they loose the appeal, which I fully expect them to do, then their going to have to dig deep to find this sort of capital......fingers crossed all the other US states take note and follow suit..........RIP pokerstars.....


5 years ago

Are you kidding me? What kind of thought process is this? I am not a big fan of Pokerstars, but this could be the worse thing possible for the poker community. You are good with and want other States to take massive amounts of money from the poker world, only to go into the pockets of corrupt, bottom feeding politicians? It would be different if it actually went back into the pockets of the actual citizens that played and were raked money during this period.

You know who will end up paying for this as well right? The current online poker players that play there legally. If they had to pay out lawsuits like this, you can guarantee they will need to cut additional incentive programs, raise the rake, etc. Why do you think the PPA is in support of Pokerstars on this?

You are a misguided soul.........