PokerStars Ordered to Pay $1.3 Billion in Damages to Kentucky

This story was published more than 3 years ago.

Last week the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed a dismissal in the case against PokerStars and amended the previous ruling against the operator, ordering the poker giant to pay $1.3 billion for offering illegal gambling within the state.

The ruling settles a case that has run for nearly a decade, which accused PokerStars of offering illegal online poker from Kentucky residents between 2007 and 2011. The Franklin Circuit Court in the Bluegrass State initially ruled that PokerStars owed the state almost $900 million, which was determined to be the amount that the company raised through the services.

PokerStars appealed that ruling, and two years ago the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that the state didn't have any legal grounds to press the case, as the state couldn't identify the players who lost money on the site. The ruling saw the case dismissed. Still, the state appealed that ruling, and the case reached the Supreme Court this year.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court reinstated the original ruling and upped the damages to $1.3 billion due to interest accrued since the original ruling.

For their part, PokerStars owner Flutter Entertainment says that they still have some legal processes available and that they're confident that the amount they'll eventually have to pay will be less than what the Kentucky Supreme Court has ordered.

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.
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barbadosslim93's picture
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21 December 2020 - 6:06pm

This seems pretty arbitrary. I can't imagine that PokerStars won't push this all the way to the US Supreme Court if they have to. That's wild.

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22 December 2020 - 3:01am

$900 million "raised" (profit?) over 4 years is $225 million per year, with an average of roughly 4.32 million residents living in Kentucky between 2007-2011. That works out to $52 per resident per year.

I don't know if that's money deposited, wagered, or lost, but in any case those are crazy numbers for a single platform operating in a single state.


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22 December 2020 - 4:07am

Ah Kentucky. This reminds me of 12 years ago when an idiot judge in Kentucky ordered that domain names of online gambling sites be seized and foreign businesses shut down because people were able to access the sites from Kentucky. Overnight loads of online casinos and poker sites switched from .com domains to .eu and others, just in case some belligerent U.S. judge decided to do the same to them.

Can you imagine the chaos that would result if that was the legal standard all over the world? Sites featuring alcohol seized and shut down because its illegal in Utah. Or maybe shops selling swimwear seized and shut down because its illegal in Saudi Arabia. Apparently this thought process did not go through the particular judge's head.

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29 December 2020 - 5:37pm

Yeah, these judges seem to be "good ol' boys" that want to find a way to stifle business in order to raise money for the state's coffers. Absurd and I'd hope that the case gets overturned on a higher level.