Kentucky Judge Orders Amaya To Pay $870m To State In Compensation
PokerStars’ dubious past in the U.S. has come back to haunt them despite their recent re-entry into the U.S. after years of being banned. Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas WIngate of Kentucky has invoked an 1833 statue to seek damages on behalf of players who lost money from PokerStars’ illegal operation in the U.S. between the period of 2006 and 2011.
The damages in the amount of $870 million are being demanded from Amaya Gaming who bought PokerStars last year. The original law suit was filed in 2010 by the state who claimed that PokerStars illegally offered gambling services to Kentucky residents between 2006 and culminating in Black Friday in April 2015. The original fine was “only” $290 million but upon request from the state Judge Wingate tripled the amount.
The Judge went on to threaten Amaya with 12 percent annual interest if they linger with the payments. Wingate was not apologetic nor in the forgiving mood and stated that Amaya might “find the final damage award to be harsh medicine” but that such is the consequences for violating Kentucky laws.
Amaya reacted by saying that they will appeal the decision and vigorously dispute any liability. Should their appeal be unsuccessful they will ensure that former PokerStars owners Isai and Mark Scheinberg pay the fine as they were the owners at the time. Whether the Kentucky legal case is just an attempt for a quick money grab or a real precedent for other states to follow suit remains to be seen.