Amaya Gaming, the Canadian company behind the PokerStars brand, has decided to ask the former owners of the online poker site to pay damages that may be imposed by a court in Kentucky in regards to a gambling civil suit. On Thursday Amaya released a statement that provided clarifications on the news announced Wednesday in regards to the case.
On Wednesday, a court in Kentucky ordered PokerStars’ owner to pay $290 million to compensate for the activities conducted by PokerStars in Kentucky before Black Friday in 2011 indictments pushed the site out of the United States.
Amaya stated the suit by the state is ‘frivolous and without merit’ and stated the century old statute being used had no merit. The statute allows for third parties to collect on other’s losses from gambling and allows a judge to treble the ‘damages’.
Back track to November 20th, and the case was ruled in favor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Judge Thomas Wingate, of the Franklin Circuit Court. The ruling gave $290 million to the Commonwealth based on the online poker game play in the state from October 12th 2006 to April 15th 2011. The dates are in relation to when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act went into effect and when Black Friday took place.
In their statement, Amaya revealed that PokerStars was only able to generate around $18 million during the time frame of the case, which is only close to 6% of the $290 million amount submitted by the government of Kentucky. Amaya plans on disputing any liability that Wingate may impose and believes that there are still several legal avenues to explore. If they are unsuccessful, the company plans on seeking recovery from the former owners of PokerStars, the Rational Group.
Also in the statement, Amaya noted a case in Illinois where the court dismissed a similar case back in March. The suit was filed based on an ancient state law titled the Illinois Loss Recovery Act but the judge noted that the language of the law stated that the winner, not the keeper of the house was the liable individual for the damages.
The Poker Players Alliance has gotten involved in the case as well, having appeared in court this past Wednesday to intervene on behalf of the poker players of the state, some 14,000 individuals. The PPA believes any final judgement that awards a monetary sum should go to the players. Attorneys in the state have accused the PPA of being on the payroll of Amaya, as the old statute says that damages only apply to a person rather than a group.
A federal judge in the case decided to rule that Kentucky is the ‘person’ in the case for the purpose of the civil suit. However, Amaya believes they will be successful in challenging the definition one the appeals process begins.