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PPA to Kentucky judge: 'Don't play Scrooge to Kentucky citizens'

28 Dec 2015

(PRESS RELEASE) -- On Christmas Eve, John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance issued the following statement in response to Franklin Country Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate's ruling on Wednesday that the state was entitled to triple damages in the 2010 lawsuit against Amaya, the parent company to PokerStars.

"Judge Thomas Wingate's decision to use a centuries-old statute to collect almost $1 billion in damages from PokerStars should benefit real Kentucky citizens whose money was lost, and not big-spending politicians and government trial lawyers," said Pokers Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas today. Judge Wingate issued the judgement prior to ruling on a motion from the PPA to intervene in the case on behalf of the players who actually lost money.

"Kentucky citizens and poker players are very disappointed that Judge Wingate chose to enter a judgement in this matter prior to ruling on our motion to intervene," said Pappas. "He should continue to allow PPA to make its case that any damages collected, if actually sustainable, go to the citizens involved. Failure to do so would demonstrate that this is just a big-government money grab aimed at enriching politically connected trial lawyers and bailing out big-spending politicians."

"The facts are very simple: This money was lost by Kentucky taxpayers who participated in online poker against other Kentucky taxpayers on a platform provided by Poker Stars," Pappas continued. "Therefore it is the people, not the politicians and trial lawyers, who should be reaping the benefit."

Pappas also expressed concern about on-the-record statements from the office of newly-elected Governor Matt Bevin that appear to embrace Wingate's ruling – effectively endorsing a brazen money grab by big government, while allowing the rights of individual citizens and taxpayers to be completely disregarded.

"Governor Bevin ran on a platform of empowering hardworking taxpayers and reducing confiscatory government policies," said Pappas. "Yet the trial lawyers who represent state government are actively fighting to prohibit Kentuckians who lost money on PokerStars to get their money back. If Governor Bevin really believes Kentuckians were hurt, then he should support making them whole. If Governor Bevin, in fact, supports the position taken by the governments' trial lawyers, then he would be effectively be supporting the kind of big-government money grab he repeatedly opposed and was elected to stop."

"We urge the Governor to take a second look at this case, and consider our common sense position – that the only people who should be able to recoup losses are the people who actually played and lost," added Pappas. "Letting the state seize this money based on some ancient statute is wrong both legally and morally."
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