Kentucky court reimposes $870m fine against The Star Group

The Star Group, now owned by Flutter Entertainment, must pay $870m plus interest.
The Star Group, now owned by Flutter Entertainment, must pay $870m plus interest.

The state of Kentucky has accused The Star Group of providing illegal gambling services between 2006 and 2011.

US.- The Kentucky Supreme Court has reinstated a ruling that an online poker company must pay $870m to the state over illegal gambling losses.

The Supreme Court has upheld Franklin Circuit Court judge Thomas Wingate’s 2015 ruling against PokerStars operator, The Stars Group, which merged with Flutter in 2019.

The court has reinstated the fine and added a compounding interest rate of 12 per cent per year.

Online poker is illegal in Kentucky and state law declares anyone who loses $5 or more in illegal wagers have six months to file a lawsuit to recover the lost funds.

The case against The Stars Group is based on allegations that its PokerStars online poker card room provided gambling services to 34,000 Kentucky players between October 2006 and April 2011, during which time residents lost $290m.

Judge Wingate initially ordered the company to pay back $290m, but subsequently tripled the amount following a request from the state.

Flutter Entertainment, which now owns The Star Group, said in a statement that it was “wholly surprised by today’s ruling and strongly disputes the basis of this judgement which, it believes, runs contrary to the modern U.S. legal precedent.”

In August, Flutter announced it would accelerate its integration of The Stars Group brands as half-year results show its acquisition of the group helped offset the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about the court ruling, Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said that the state would “take aggressive steps to collect the judgment for the benefit of all Kentuckians.”