The Kentucky Supreme Court has denied Flutter Entertainment’s request for a new hearing on a decision that could see the operator ordered to pay $870m to the state over the activity of its PokerStars brand in the state from 2006 to 2011.
The case originated with a claim that PokerStars offered online gambling to 34,000 Kentucky players between October 2006 – when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was introduced – and April 2011, when its US operations were shut down by authorities.
Flutter said PokerStars made $18m from Kentucky customers during this time period.
In 2015, then PokerStars operator Amaya was ordered to pay $290m by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate. This total was then tripled following a request from the state. Amaya later rebranded as The Stars Group and was acquired by Flutter.
However, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ultimately reversed the decision in 2018. It said that allowing the fee to be upheld would “lead to an absurd, unjust result”.
This decision was then appealed in the state Supreme Court, which reinstated the $870m payment.
With Flutter’s application for a rehearing rejected, it said it is considering other action, including an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
“Flutter remains confident that any amount ultimately paid to resolve this matter will be a limited portion of the reinstated judgment,” it said.