British and Irish iGaming behemoth Flutter Entertainment has reportedly filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a controversial 2015 judgement that saw it hit with a fine now worth around $1.3 billion.
According to a Saturday report from the online news domain at Poker.org, the action from the London-listed firm follows last year’s Kentucky Supreme Court decision that upheld an earlier Franklin Circuit Court ruling that came with a stiff $870 million penalty. This punishment, which has since ballooned due to accrued interest and charges, was handed out after Flutter Entertainment was adjudged to have run its PokerStars online poker service in ‘The Bluegrass State’ from 2006 to 2011 in direct violation of a federal prohibition introduced under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Flutter Entertainment reportedly filed a ‘writ of certiorari’ with the United States’ highest court late last month and is alleging that the damages awarded to the state of Kentucky are excessive. The operator purportedly intends to contend that the initial $870 million penalty was accessed using antiquated social assumptions contained within an 18th Century law known as the Loss Recovery Act, which had previously not been employed for over 60 years.
Poker.org reported that the United States Supreme Court must now decide whether it will hear the appeal being sought by Flutter Entertainment, which took over the legacy of the PokerStars online poker service in May of last year after completing its all-share merger with Canadian compatriot The Stars Group Incorporated. However, the source detailed that an ultimate decision is expected in around one month’s time while warning that the nine-member body typically only agrees to undertake a small proportion of the thousands of cases that are annually filed.
Reportedly reads the writ from Flutter Entertainment…
“These monstrous damages cry out for this court’s review. Even in matters of state concern, the United States Supreme Court applies constitutional brakes to ‘damages that run wild‘. In cases involving punitive damages, this court has repeatedly admonished that awards exceeding actual harm by more than a single-digit ratio likely violate the Constitution.”
Flutter Entertainment reportedly moreover asserted that Kentucky is being hypocritical in claiming that PokerStars had caused immeasurable damage and human suffering by illegally operating in the southern state. The operator’s writ purportedly proclaimed that the service had ‘accounted for only a tiny fraction of the gaming’ that had occurred in the jurisdiction of roughly 4.5 million people with much of this activity being dominated by the Kentucky Lottery.
Poker.org finished by reporting that the state of Kentucky has already seized an associated $100 million bond earlier posted by Amaya Incorporated, which rebranded as The Stars Group Incorporated in 2017, with Flutter Entertainment now hoping to get its final penalty lowered to an amount more commensurate with the roughly $18 million in rake it chalked up from players in the jurisdiction during the 54-month period covered by the lawsuit.