Analysis

Flutter handed $870m headache by Kentucky Supreme Court

The Kentucky Supreme Court has reinstated a $870m penalty against the Stars Group for historic online poker activities.

The activity dates back dating back to between 2006 and 2010. 

The Stars Group’s parent company Flutter Entertainment said it was “wholly surprised” at the court’s decision. 

It added that there were a number of legal processes it could turn to and said it was “confident” of a more proportionate settlement.

Flutter said the amount did not reflect the level of business revenues generated by Stars in Kentucky. These came to approximately $18m in revenue. 

Post-UIGEA activities 

Kentucky brought legal proceedings against the company then trading as PokerStars in 2011.

The state sought recovery of alleged losses by Kentucky residents from 2006 to 2011.

The penalty relates to the activities of Stars post-UIGEA in 2006. It was issued in 2015 but was then vacated in 2018 by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The state’s Supreme Court has reinstated it with compounding interest of 12% per annum.

Flutter, which acquired the Stars Group in late 2019, said it would strongly dispute the judgement.  

The group is market leader in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It recently acquired an extra 37.2% of FanDuel for $4bn, pushing its ownership of the market-leading online sportsbook to 95%. 

It has issued strong trading statements and said it would record more than $1bn in revenues in 2020.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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