Flutter Entertainment has disclosed it ‘considers the matter closed’ with regards to its legal dispute with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, having paid $300m to the state.
As part of its settlement with the Commonwealth, the betting and gaming operator has paid $200m to Kentucky, in addition to a previous payment of $100m in relation to a superseded bond in the case.
The primary cause of the legal contest related to the operations of The Stars Group – which Flutter acquired last year – between 2006 and 2011, which authorities maintain was illegal under the terms of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
A statement from the group explained: “The Group strongly believes that this agreement is in the best interests of Flutter shareholders. The Group now considers the matter closed.”
Kentucky was keen to recover alleged losses incurred by residents of the Commonwealth when playing real-money poker on the The Stars Group’s PokerStars platform between 2006 and 2011, citing the 18th century ‘Loss Recovery Act’ in support, which allowed Kentucky courts to seize illegal gamblng revenue
The first ruling against The Stars Group occurred in December 2015, when a Kentucky judge set an award of $290m, later tripled to $870m excluding interest and applicable costs, with the operator’s gross gaming revenues from 2006-2011 standing at around $18m.
PokerStars has maintained that online poker was a ‘grey area’ under the provisions of the UIGEA, whilst Flutter has launched a number of appeals against the fines incurred against its new subsidiary prior to the takeover.
Although the initial $870m fine was dismissed, it was later reinstated after a Kentucky court voted four-to-three in favour – with an annual compounding interest rate of 12 per cent taking the damages claim to $1.3bn.
Flutter’s appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court was rejected in March of this year, prompting the company to reach out to the US Supreme Court earlier this month.