Kentucky Poker Players Alliance Fights for Compensation

Poker Players Alliance - PPAThe Poker Players Alliance is said to represent over 14,000 players who try to get a cut of a $290 million settlement from Amaya against Kentucky state.

All the way back in 2010, the legal system of [geolink href=””]Kentucky[/geolink] came down hard on Amaya Group Holdings and its subsidiaries after the group was accused of violating the state’s prohibition on gambling. After almost 5 years of deliberation, a judge finally arrived at a decision, fining the group nearly $300 million. Now that the November 20th decision is set in stone, a group of poker players has emerged, claiming that they are owed at least some of the $290 million settlement.

Poker Players Make Their Case

In light of the recent ruling, a group of players known as the Poker Players Alliance has filed to intervene in the case, hoping that this move will allow for some or all of that multimillion dollar judgement to be returned to players who lost varying amounts.

The Poker Players Alliance is said to represent over 14,000 people, and is positing the argument that it is the individual players who suffered the most damage, not the state. A lawyer representing the players spoke out, saying that the state does not have the interest of poker players in mind at all. This is something that is difficult to argue considering almost no one knew about the lawsuit until it came to a conclusion on the 20th of November.

As you might expect, prosecutors representing the state of Kentucky disagree with the Alliance, saying that poker players could have been, and were, aware of the lawsuit since it came to fruition more than 5 years ago. These prosecutors go on to point the finger at the players by saying that they only attempted to intervene once they knew how much the fine amounted to. William Hurt, one of the many lawyers representing the state of Kentucky, spelled out that during the timeframe the lawsuit covers (10/2006-4/2011), not one single poker player came forward with any sort of complaint. In addition to all of this, Hurt alleges that the Poker Players Alliance is in cahoots with Amaya, and is working to do nothing other than lessen the amount of money the group is forced to pay out.

Under Kentucky state law, a third party may seek three times, or treble, damages stemming from a case such as this, but individuals, such as the aforementioned Alliance, are not eligible to receive that sort of compensation. In an interview, William Hunt, said,

They have tried to convert this into a single-party case in order to not have to pay the treble damages.

Amaya is the owner of, and Hunt is alleging that the Poker Players Alliance and their attempt to intervene in the case is nothing more than a Pokerstars-funded attempt to lessen the judgement’s total dollar amount. Of course, lawyers representing the players deny any affiliation with Pokerstars and claim that there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests the Alliance is funded by the former online poker giant.

Despite the November 20th ruling, this case is far from resolved thanks to a few factors. For one, the intervention needs to be considered and either accepted or rejected. In addition, Amaya has called for the judge presiding over the case, Justice Wingate, to reconsider his $290 million ruling. Though Wingate established that he would respond to the appeal soon, he made no indication of when exactly soon is. Even if Wingate makes a decision next week or the following week, there are many other hurdles standing in the way of money being paid out, a process some experts say could be years away from getting underway.

It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds and if the players’ alliance intervention will be entertained or dismissed immediately. At this juncture, it seems as though many pieces of the puzzle still need to be put together before a final decision is made. With that said, I am not expecting to hear of a final decision anytime soon seeing as this case has already been active for more than 5 years without a concrete resolution.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett