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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

KY Court Decision in Domain Seizure Attempts Expected Oct. 15

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Kentucky is America’s home for horse racing, but it has also recently become home to one of the most blatant and overzealous attacks on online gambling in the U.S. After the state’s Governor Steve Beshear made it known on September 18th that he intended to seize 141 online gaming domain names, the case is now in the hands of a circuit county judge.

On the basis that online gambling is illegal and is harming the legal forms of gambling in Kentucky, which include horse racing, bingo, and a state lottery, the Governor initiated action to take control of the domain names of 141 websites in order to prevent residents of Kentucky from accessing them. The initial hearing in the Franklin County Court regarding the civil action granted a continuance in the case, but attorneys for all sides reconvened on Tuesday, October 7th for arguments.

However, the night before the hearing, it was reported that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was successful in seizing several websites. Company eNom forfeited two of them - LuckyPyramidCasino.com and HighRollersLounge.com. In addition, at least three popular website domains - DoylesRoom.com, UltimateBet.com, and Cake Poker.com - have been given up by GoDaddy, the U.S.-based company responsible for the domain name registrations. While the sites have not seen a disruption in business as of yet, the Commonwealth does have the ability to stop business if they so desire.

An attorney for GoDaddy.com, Christine Jones, told the Washington Post that the company was attempting to comply with the court documents without betraying its customers. She claimed that they will honor the decision of the judge and, in the meantime, issued a registrar certificate to the state of Kentucky noting that the court has jurisdiction over the issue but no control over the domains.

The October 7th hearing was widely anticipated and well-attended by many interested parties, including the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), Internet Commerce Association, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA). Judge Thomas Wingate presided over the action, during which time attorneys for many of the online gaming sites in question asked him to dismiss the case, noting that Kentucky does not have jurisdiction in a case that has international ramifications. In addition, they noted that the domain names don’t exist in Kentucky and may not be seized there.

Attorneys representing Governor Beshear’s administration argued that online gambling websites are illegal and Kentuckians should be barred from accessing them. They noted that the domains are “gambling devices” and can be seized. And according to the Washington Post, spokeswoman Jennifer Bruslin of the Kentucky Justice Department, said the state is also seeking unspecified damages from the online gaming sites. “We think it creates a tremendous disadvantage for our legitimate, licensed and taxed gaming interests,” she said, “and there are some damages that are due to the commonwealth as a result.”

Upon all arguments being concluded, Judge Wingate ended the hearing to consider his decision. He will give his written opinion in the case on or before Wednesday, October 15th.

*Editor's Note:  Let's all breathe easier and sleep better because the Net Nannies of kentucky are protecting their citizens from Poker and protecting them from personal freedom.*

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