The Commonwealth of Kentucky has launched a lawsuit against PokerStars and certain affiliates. The suit seeks tens of millions of dollars in losses for Kentucky online poker players who played at PokerStars from 2006-2011. And perhaps the most-interesting aspect of this lawsuit is that the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) — a lobbying group that seeks freedoms for poker players — wants to join Kentucky’s side. This being said, let’s look at exactly why the PPA would want to join up with Kentucky.
PPA wants the Money going to the Players
Don’t be worried that the PPA has suddenly turned their back on PokerStars and online poker in general. Instead, they’ve filed a motion to join Kentucky because they want to ensure that the money goes to players. Going further, they’re worried that the Commonwealth of Kentucky will keep all funds won through the lawsuit. Here’s a look at what PPA Executive Director John Pappas had to say about the matter:
“This is a cynical big government money grab of private consumer dollars to pay for political excesses. This entire lawsuit is based on a long-shunned 19th Century sore loser statute, which is about as applicable today as the anti-dueling laws still on the books. The Commonwealth has spent countless resources and time figuring out how to extort money from online poker companies when they could have spent that time creating a safe and regulated market that would have raised equal or greater amounts of money to benefit the consumers and taxpayers of the Commonwealth both now and in the future. The affected players should be the ones who collect from this suit, not the government and certainly not the attorneys.”
Aside from trying to get any potential funds returned to players, the PPA is also battling to get the Commonwealth of Kentucky to legalize and regulate iPoker. This might be quite a stretch, given Kentucky’s traditional anti-online poker stance, but at least they have a good chance to get players’ funds back to them if Kentucky wins.
PokerStars would love to have the PPA on Kentucky’s Side
While PokerStars firmly believes that they can beat this lawsuit, they’re also glad to have the PPA involved just in case Kentucky wins. Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Vice President of corporate communications, had the following to say:
“We welcome the intervention of the Poker Players Alliance to this suit and believe they represent the true interests of Kentucky residents and Kentucky poker players. While we do not believe the suit has merit and will continue to pursue the case in the courts, if there is a monetary judgment it should go toward the consumers who played on PokerStars and not to line the pockets of opportunistic plaintiff’s attorneys.”
Back in 2008, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear seized 141 online gambling domains. And it certainly doesn’t look like Beshear or Kentucky have changed their stance against iGaming. Now it’s up to the courts to decide whether or not the Bluegrass State is in the right here.