Illinois Gamblers Cannot Recover Losses From PokerStars

A multi-million dollar lawsuit which sought to recover gambling losses from PokerStars for thousands of Illinois gamblers who lost money on the site while it flaunted the UIGEA of 2006 has now been dismissed by a federal court in Illinois. The class action lawsuit was originally filed in 2012 by Kelly Sonnenberg, who cited the Illinois Loss Recovery Act to support her case by claiming that PokerStars had been operating unlawfully in the USA, and therefore gamblers were entitled to sue and recover their lost money. Judge David R. Herndon, however, dismissed the lawsuit, and commenting later on the case PokerStars attorney Jeff Ifrah explained:
“In what is a traditionally plaintiff-friendly court, the judge agreed with all of our arguments, including the plaintiffs’ failures to specify a specific loss and to allege that either Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars, as the ‘house,’ could be considered winners within the meaning of the Illinois gambling-loss recovery statute.”
The court also highlighted the dangers of any decision that might have ruled in favor of the gamblers, as it could set up a precedence in which “hordes of new gamblers” might flock to illegal sites armed with the knowledge that any losses they subsequently incur would have to be reimbursed by the site.
The latest ruling may have an impact on a similar case brought by the state of Kentucky against PokerStars in 2015, which aims to claim $870 million in losses apparently racked up by around 34,000 Kentuckians between 2006 and 2015. Needless to say, PokerStars is also determined to see the lawsuit thrown out of court, and as an Amaya Gaming statement explains:
“Given that PokerStars only generated gross revenues of approximately US$18 million from Kentucky customers during the five years at issue, a damages award in excess of $800 million is notable only for its absurdity.”
In 2010, Kentucky successfully recovered $15 million from on behalf of players who lost money at PartyPoker prior to its 2006 exit from the USA’s unregulated market. Despite its highly inflated figure of $870 million in losses and penalties, it’s a fair bet that the state will now be hoping to collect at least some money from PokerStars.

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