Amaya and Poker Stars Lawsuit

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Amaya and PokerStars have been hitting the industry headlines recently due to a civil lawsuit that has been filed against Amaya. This happened just before Christmas in 2015 and they were originally ordered to pay a massive $290 million to Kentucky citing the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act”, however this ruling was trebled by a Commonwealth of Kentucky state judge and since amounted to $800 million. The dispute is still ongoing with Amaya looking to appeal the decision.

Kentucky Laws and History of Lawsuits

The claim was that there had been Kentucky residents spending money on Poker Stars between 2006 and 2011 which was after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was implemented. Although an initial $290 million was awarded, Amaya argued that there was only around $18 million spent by Kentucky residents.

Kentucky have been in previous legal disputes with online gambling companies. Back in 2008, they took over 141 domains associated with online gambling and also settled a $15 million dispute with bwin party in 2013.

Amaya’s View

As you can imagine – Amaya had a different take on things than the state of Kentucky. It was called absurd by the General Counsel, Corporate Development and the Vice President of Amaya Marlon Goldstein. He also went on to say that it was frivolous and was a complete misuse of what is considered to be an antiquated state statute to generate money for lawyers by the Commonwealth as opposed to Kentucky. He felt that the amount of $800 million which is what the judgement rose to alone is absurd.

Next Steps for Amaya

Although Amaya have been the named party – they might not be the only ones that find themselves in soapy water. They have decided to appeal the judgement but should that fail – they may go for the former owners of PokerStars A spokesperson said that the amount of money is irrelevant, and that Poker Stars could be obligated to pay the amounts should the appeals not go through and that Amaya will try and regain this. If this is the case it could definitely damage them as a brand and who knows what is next for players!

Could They Win the Appeal?

The reason they feel that the appeal could overturn the ruling is that Kentucky in a bid to win this made use of a 19 the century statute where the original intention was to let individuals sue gambling operators for losses that were uncured. It was never meant for the Commonwealth to collect them for their own benefit. There is also no precedent of other states using this kind of statute to recover gaming losses. Because of these reasons combined – Amaya believe that they have a case for appeal.

It will be interesting to see how all of this unfolds and if Amaya can recoup the money should the appeal not go their way.

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