It seems the long-running legal case involving PokerStars and the state of Kentucky is finally over. The owner of the top-rated online poker brand, Flutter Entertainment, has reached an agreement with the state, with $200 million to be paid, adding to the $100 million it already handed over as bond. In total, $300 million will be provided to Kentucky regarding the legal dispute.
More than a Decade Long Battle
Kentucky has pushed its case against PokerStars for more than ten years now, having accused the online poker brand of allowing its residents to play poker for real money from 2007 to 2011. During this time frame, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was in play, which the state says PokerStars was in violation of.
Earlier this month, Flutter filed an appeal within the US Supreme Court to overturn a ruling in 2015 where the operator was to pay $1.3 billion to the state. A decision in the case from 2020 in Kentucky, pushed for an $870 million penalty.
In its latest filing, Flutter said the amount that the state was seeking was excessive. The operator wants to fight the decision based on the state using the Loss Recovery Act, a law that has not been used for decades. The company wasted no time in pursuing action in the case once they acquired the PokerStars brand.
Lower Payment Agreement
The filing must have worked in some way because now, Flutter will only be paying $300 million in total, far below the higher amount requested in Kentucky. Flutter just took on the PokerStars brand in 2020 and inherently became involved in this long-running case after merging with the Stars Group.
As part of the agreement, Kentucky will stop pursuing Flutter. When the Flutter Entertainment group became involved in the case, officials were shocked at the amount that Kentucky officials were seeking. In general, PokerStars only made around $18 million in the state when it was operational during the time frame listed in the lawsuit.
As Flutter challenged the ruling, the company also pursued a settlement with the state. It seems that the remediated settlement process worked and now the online gaming company will be able to put the mess behind them and focus on US operations. Flutter operates in several states via PokerStars and will seek to move into additional states as legislation allows.
Despite the lawsuit, PokerStars has been able to thrive in the US, offering premium online poker gaming for players in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.