The PokerStars Kentucky battle has been raging for years! With roots in the UIGEA from 2006, and the Black Friday seizures of 2011! But things really heated up in 2015 when the state sued the poker operator for hundreds of millions of dollars! But now, the battle is over, just short of making an appearance is the US Supreme Court! SO who won?
Howdy friends! J Todd here with another edition of This Week in Gambling! And right after I film this video my ass is on an airplane for Las Vegas to attend the Global Gaming Expo! More on that in just a moment. Up first, it’s this week’s big story: If you’ve followed this industry for any length of time then you know about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or the UIGEA. It’s that law that was passed by politicians back in 2006 as a rider to a terrorism bill, with its sole purpose being the criminalization of online gambling in America.
As part of the UIGEA, in 2011 the US Department of Justice seized the domain names of the three largest online poker operators in America in what became known at the time as Black Friday. One of those operators was PokerStars. In 2015, the PokerStars Kentucky battle began when the state sued the operator for $290 million over the money they supposedly took from players in the state between 2007 (when the UIGEA went into effect) in 2011 (when PokerStars had their domain name seized). I say supposedly, because the owners of PokerStars say that number was closer to $18 million.
After a judge in Kentucky awarded the state their $290 million fine, he decided to revisit his decision in 2016 and — whether he was drunk on moonshine, or just trying to be a dick — he upped that fine to $870 million! Plus interest of a $100 million dollars a year! Now, PokerStars appealed this ridiculousness all the way to the Kentucky State Supreme Court. And, in what sounds like a bad movie that should feature a lot of banjo music. them good ol’ boys not only upheld the decision of the lower court, they added interest to the fine… ordering PokerStars to pay $1.3 billion!
Undeterred, PokerStars appealed this Kentucky-bread, bluegrass, horseshit decision all the way to the US Supreme Court. But after only five years, three appeals, and four marriages between cousins, there is a settlement in the case of PokerStars Kentucky! PokerStars has agreed to pay the state $200 million and forfeit their $100 million bond which they originally put up back in 2015… bringing their grand total to $300 million, which is almost exactly where this all started back in 2015! Or is it?
If calculated for inflation, the original $290 million back in 2015 would translate to more like $325 million in today’s dollars! So the state lost $25 million! Not only that, the money they’re getting is nowhere near the $870 million… or $1.3 billion they thought they were going to get! Still, the governor of the state says this was a victory for them! Yeah… he must be doing that “Kentucky Math”.
This week’s game review is for the Rosh Immortality Cube Megaways slot from our friends at GameArt! It comes with six cascading reels and up to 170,649 pay lines! There are also bonus spins, a bonus round, wilds, scatters, and mystery bonus symbols! You can find this review live right now on our YouTube channel!
And finally this week, as I mentioned at the start of the show, I will be in Las Vegas this week attending the Global Gaming Expo! In fact, as most of you are watching this, my happy ass is already in Las Vegas… unless, of course, the plane went down… But I wouldn’t be that lucky! I will be interviewing the American Gaming Association, shooting brand new game review videos, and filming next week’s episode right on the Vegas Strip in front of Bally’s Casino! So if you’re in Las Vegas on Thursday October 7th, between say three and four, come on down crash our shoot! Or just photo bomb us. Hell, everybody else does !