US Illinois District Court Judge Dismisses Class Action Suit vs. Pokerstars

The lawyers of Rational Group (RG) scored a victory after Chief Justice David R. Herndon of the Southern Illinois District Court, ruled in favor of the poker company. The district judge dismissed the class action lawsuit filed by Illinois native Kelly Sonnenberg, based on the premise that PokerStars is merely a third party provider of a poker game venue that realizes gains by collecting rakes, and not from winning wagers from the poker hands played.

Judge Herndon further explained that Sonnenberg’s class action lacked assertion that Pokerstars “won any bets or participated in the games themselves”, and therefore could not be considered as a winner under the State of Illinois’ Loss Recovery Act (LRA).

Sonnenberg cited the LRA in seeking recovery of the losses incurred by Illinois poker players who made use of Pokerstars’ online casino services and facility. The statute gives a participant of an illegal gambling activity, the right to recover from the winner the gambling losses incurred under illegal circumstances. Sonnenberg contended that the rake collected by Rational Group through its PokerStars website is enough to consider the latter as a winner.

However, the district judge ruled that as a claimant seeking action under the LRA, Sonnenberg failed to specify the “who, what and when of the losses she seeks to recover”. After all, losses awarded under the LRA could amount to thrice as much as the actual amount of money that went to the winner of an illegal gambling activity.

About the Author

Mark Whysall