Kentucky Supreme Court Denies PokerStars Rehearing in $1.3B Court Battle

The Kentucky Supreme Court has affirmed its decision in the case of the State of Kentucky v. PokerStars and its current corporate parent, Flutter Entertainment, leaving in place a judgment against the company now worth $1.3 billion, and denying a motion by Flutter to rehear arguments in the case.

By: Haley Hintze

The initial 2015 judgment rendered in a Franklin County (KY) court found PokerStars owed the state roughly $290 million for offering its online services to Kentucky-based players from late 2006 to April of 2011. The presiding judge treble the damages to $870 million under the terms of one of the state’s 19th-century anti-gambling codes, and accumulated interest has since swelled the total claimed by the state to its current total.

Immediately following the ruling issued on Thursday, the office of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced that it would move to garner $100 million deposited by PokerStars in 2016 as earnest money against the initial 2015 judgment. That deposit, the maximum allowed under Kentucky law, was required in order for PokerStars’ then-owner, Amaya, to pursue its appeal.

Back then, Amaya attorneys vowed to Kentucky officials that the state “will never collect a dime” from the judgment. Since Flutter inherited the case and the financial exposure via its acquisition of PokerStars in 2019, its executives have refrained from such bombastic statements. Flutter and PokerStars still retain the option of attempting to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court, though that court accepts only a tiny percentage of cases submitted for consideration.

Flutter issued a brief statement in the wake of the rehearing being denied. “Flutter is disappointed by the denial of its rehearing petition and continues to strongly dispute the basis of this judgment,” the company offered. “Together with its legal advisors, Flutter will continue to consider its position in relation to the judgment, including potentially appealing the ruling of the case to the U.S. Supreme Court along with other legal avenues which it may pursue thereafter.”

The company added, “Flutter remains confident that any amount ultimately paid to resolve this matter will be a limited portion of the reinstated judgment. Further announcements will be made in due course as and when appropriate.”

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