Christmas came early to the Stars Group when a Kentucky appeals judge reversed a lower court’s ruling that would have cost the company $870 million in fines for serving Kentucky residents without a license. It’s a huge win for Stars Group and puts to rest a massive legal headache the company’s current owners inherited from Amaya Gaming – its previous owners.
At issue was a ruling made in 2015 by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingat, who enforced an obscure law that allows third parties to recover gambling debts. That arcane piece of bluegrass legislation allowed the state to win a $290 million judgement against Amaya Gaming for serving Kentucky residents as late as 2011. Judge Wingat, enraged by the audacity of a company that would do such a thing to residents of the home of the Kentucky Derby, then turned around and tripled the damages. That raised the total fine to $870 million, which makes one wonder exactly how many Kentuckians were playing online poker back in 2011?
Not surprisingly, the Stars Group continued Amaya’s effort to fight this unusual ruling and found success last week when an appeals court threw the lower court’s judgement out completely. Marlon Goldstein, Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of The Stars Group hailed the decision in an official statement saying, “We applaud the decision of the highly-respected three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.The merits of the case prevailed and we look forward to putting this matter behind us as we sharpen our focus on executing on our growth strategy going forward.”
The Stars Group is now moving to recover $100 million that was handed over to the state when the original ruling was made back in 2015.