A decade-long battle between the Stars Group, before its acquisition by Flutter, with the Commonwealth of Kentucky ended today. Flutter agreed to pay Kentucky $200 million in addition to a previously forfeited $100 million. The legal dispute dates back a decade when PokerStars allegedly offered online poker in Kentucky which was at odds with UIGEA.
Flutter Agrees to Pay $200 Million to the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Flutter Entertainment announced today that it agreed to pay $200 million to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The payment puts an end to a legal battle dating back to 2010. Besides the agreed $200 million, the company has also previously forfeited $100 million.
Flutter said in a statement that it believes that this agreement “is in the best interests of Flutter Shareholders.” Additionally, the company said that it now considers the matter to be closed. The company’s statement outlines that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is now ceasing “all further actions with respect to the case.”
The legal battle started in 2010, when PokerStars, which was then owned by The Stars Group, allegedly offered online poker in Kentucky. The Stars Group was acquired by Flutter last year, but the dispute continued.
A Legal Saga Dating Back to 2010
In a 2015 Franklin Circuit Court ruling, the court found that the brand violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) from 2007 to 2011. Consequently, the Stars Group was ordered by the court to pay $870 million in damages. However, the ruling was overturned in December 2018 when the company appealed in front of the Kentucky Supreme Court.
In December 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled to reinstate the 2015 ruling against The Stars Group, adding interest to the initially requested sum for damages. That boosted the payable sum to a staggering $1.3 billion.
Flutter deemed the Supreme Court’s decision as “utterly disconnected from any rational measure of real-world harm.” The company pointed out that for the operating period of the legal claim, the total gambling revenue hit only $26 million, which makes the punishment grossly excessive.
In light of the situation, earlier this month, Flutter turned to the US Supreme Court. The company asked the court to review the $1.3 billion regulatory settlement against the Stars Group. Now, considering that Flutter and Kentucky agreed to an out-of-court settlement, the legal saga that spanned over a decade is finally over.