The Stars Group (TSG) owned PokerStars has won a long-fought battle with the State of Kentucky recently, when a court of appeals discarded a $870 million judgment against TSG. Nearly three years ago, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate implicated PokerStars to be liable for violating a gambling loss recovery statute by offering online poker in the state prior to Black Friday.
Sheryl Snyder, an attorney for TSG, expressed delight at the court’s decision and said, “We are pleased not only with the Court of Appeals vacating the $870 million judgment, but also with the well-reasoned opinion appropriately limiting the scope of the antiquated statute at issue.”
Kentucky allows anyone to sue ‘winners’ to recover their lost wagers in games of chance. The distinction made by the most recent appeals court ruling, however, is that the state of Kentucky can’t sue on behalf of any victims.
This suit was originally brought against PokerStars by State Cabinet Secy. John Tilley in 2010 and arrived at the ridiculous $870.9 million figure despite the fact that PokerStars only raked $18 million from Kentucky citizens during the five-year period in question. The first ruling came down in December of 2015 and an appeal was filed just a couple months later.
Mike Wynn, State Cabinet Spokesman also weighed in from the government’s side saying, “We are disappointed by today’s Court of Appeals ruling in the PokerStars case, which will take away from the Commonwealth a billion-dollar judgment, including interest. The decision doesn’t appear to even address the substantive issues in the case, but rests entirely on procedural questions.”
This state still has the power to re-appeal the case in the court. It can even take matters to the Kentucky Supreme Court, escalating it further. Though, with this decision by the appeals court, it seems the Supreme Court may also give its judgment in a similar fashion.
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