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Kentucky Court Reinstates $1.3bn PokerStars Penalty

  • Written By Samantha Browne
  • Edited
  • Reading 5 minutes

Settled in 2018 by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the state’s Supreme Court has reinstated a ruling against PokerStars and its parent company, Flutter Entertainment, to the tune of $1.3 billion.

The company will have to pay $870 million fine and a 12% compound annual interest based on the decision of Justice Samuel Wright who has invoked the state’s Loss Recovery Act on Thursday, December 17, to reinstate the penalty against the company.

Kentucky is seeking damages for the period between 2006 and 2011 when PokerStars operated as an “illegal gambling operator” according to the court, and as “gray area market” according to PokerStars.com.

The ruling comes as a shock to Flutter Entertainment, which said that it has already taken legal advice and will seek to settle the case to the beneficial outcome of all parties involved. However, even Flutter doesn’t expect to be forced to oblige and pay the entire sum of the penalty should it come to that.

According to Flutter, the numbers cited by the court, i.e. that Kentucky residents lost $270 million in the specific period, were not true. In fact, PokerStars gross gaming revenue only amounted to $18 million for the years of operation covered by the lawsuit, making the damages claim of $870 million and interest unsustainable.

However, public figures have already welcomed the decision. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that having Flutter and PokerStars pay the penalty for the wrongs it has caused to Kentucky families.

Beshear, a known supporter of sports betting legalization, has focused on poker to gather the necessary political backing from Republicans he needs to try and pass sports betting bill or bills in 2021.

Flutter reassured investors that the ruling will not impact the company’s long-term prospects.

Entain Teams up with Verizon for Interactive Alliance

Entain, the world’s leading gaming and betting giant, has teamed up with Verizon for a next-generation interactive and entertainment experience brought on by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and 5G.

Verizon’s innovation-focused alliance with Entain will allow the company to expand its clout in the iGaming sector in the United States and continue to deliver on high-tier solutions for the gaming sector in the country and beyond.

Thanks to this partnership, Entain CEO Shay Segev feels confident that Entain would be able to bring a next-generation of entertainment products that do not exclusively focus on the here-and-now, but rather on what consumer needs would be in five or ten years from now.

Segev, who speaks about the gaming and sports betting industry as a visionary, has repeatedly said that moving forward Entain will seek to expand its business several-fold, and withdraw from unregulated markets.

The executive wants to focus Entain’s efforts where it matters, and that is the interactive experience which consumers have begun to cherish over the past few years. While a fully extended reality (XR) content is still not too common, the company wants to be a pioneer.

Entain and Verizon cited a specific survey by YouGov, arguing that their target audience is consumers aged between 25 and 39 who are most likely to be open to experimenting with VR and AG products.

GWU Settles Evolution and NetEnt Industrial Action

The General Workers’ Union of Malta has ended an industrial action against Evolution and NetEnt over 300 employee layoffs, the trade union announced earlier this week. The action began several weeks back, when Evolution announced that it would make 300 NetEnt employees redundant effective immediately.

The announcement prompted indignation from NetEnt employees who spoke to Maltese media outlets, and argued that Evolution “celebrated” the redundancies with champagne and pizza.

Evolution has sternly denied the reports and criticized the media in a private communication that was obtained by EGR, a respected iGaming publication. Nevertheless, the GWU has been able to bring the case to a successful resolution.

According to a press release by the GWU, 40 NetEnt jobs have been saved, and the trade union has assisted 60 other people to find jobs in Malta. All employees affected by the layoffs would receive an additional $900 and they will still have access to health care and maternity leave benefits.

The resolution is not ideal, leaving some 200 people out of a job, but the good news is networking should allow most employees to be able to find and settle in new jobs soon.

Hawaii Wants to Introduce a Casino Resort

Hawaii is looking to introduce a casino in the island state, the first of its kind, amid calls to find additional revenue to recover from the pandemic. However, not everyone is happy with the proposal, and one opponent includes Senator Mike Gabbard who has voiced a strong opposition against the move.

The Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Gabbard said, was in its right to look for additional revenue-generating opportunities, but gambling would do more bad than it would do good, the senator said. 

Gabbard reminded that there is also the legal matter of recognizing Native Hawaiians on the same level as Native Americans, making for another conflict in the introduction of gambling regulation and a casino in the state.

For the process to even begin, the DHHL would need to do a lot of community outreach and start public consultation. Se. Gabbard explained that he has heard varying opinions, with people outright refusing to accept a casino to others who were interested in knowing out more about the proposal.

Atlantic City Is Auctioning off the Explosion of Trump Casino

If you have had a beef with the 45th President of the United States, now is the time to settle it.

Atlantic City is now auctioning off the opportunity to press the demolition button on Donald Trump’s AC casino, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which went bankrupt back in 2014, and has been a sore in public space ever since.

The city has finally got to the point where it can remove the building, but for one lucky and well-heeled resident, the whole process will feel a little more personal.

Samantha has a passion for all things casino, especially for the development in new slots games and technology. She has a background in psychology and loves to study strategies behind gambling in her spare time.