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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Tax Dollars at Work, Kentucky Appeals Domain Case to Supreme Court

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The Commonwealth of Kentucky has officially noted that it will not accept the ruling of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in the internet gaming domain seizure case by filing another appeal, this time to the State Supreme Court. The appeals court ruled on January 20, 2009, that the Commonwealth could not enforce the lower court decision authorizing the state of Kentucky to seize 141 internet domain names because they are not “gambling devices” and thus, not subject to seizure.

J. Michael Brown, Secretary of the State Justice and Public Safety Cabinet of Kentucky, said that Governor Beshear’s administration would pursue the matter to the Kentucky Supreme Court in the hopes of keeping internet gaming out of the state…at all costs. “The evidence demonstrated that illegal and unregulated activity is occurring in Kentucky, and that millions of dollars are being lost as a result of that activity, a fact that wasn’t disputed in Tuesday’s ruling,” he said.

What Brown neglected to mention was that the predominant issue in the case is one of privacy rights. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is not authorized by state law to seize domain names that are not based in that state, nor are the domains “gambling devices” that violate any Kentucky law.

Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas, one of the organizations behind the appeals court victory, stated, “Kentucky residents should be outraged that the Commonwealth is investing another minute of time and another dollar of scarce resources in this quixotic case. The appeals court’s sound rejection of the Commonwealth’s case should have ended this legal debacle in its tracks. Unfortunately, the Governor and the hired-gun attorneys want to drag their ultimate defeat to another venue at the expense of Internet freedom and the rights of law-abiding Kentucky poker players.”

The Internet Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA), due to its appeals court participation alongside the PPA, also reacted to the decision of the Commonwealth. Chairman Joe Brennan Jr. commented, “We’re not surprised that Gov. Beshear and Secretary Brown filed their appeal. They both invested a lot of political capital in this suit. They likely feel they can’t back down. Their attorneys took this on a contingency fee-basis, and have reportedly sunk over a million dollars of their own money in this suit, and other suits like this that they reportedly prepared for other states. Without a win in Kentucky, it will be hard to get those other suits off the ground, and they’ll have taken huge losses on their own gamble.”

One of the lead attorneys for iMEGA noted that they are confident that the Supreme Court will likely agree with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, as the Commonwealth’s attempt to seize property without any sort of criminal statute as a basis for the severe action will not go unnoticed by the Supreme Court judges.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has not yet indicated if or when they will hear the matter, but a decision on the appeal is expected, according to iMEGA, sometime in the spring of 2009.

As part of the poker community, your voice is important in this case. Visit the PPA website  to get in touch with the PPA representatives in Kentucky, send a message to Kentucky Governor Beshear, and find out how you can help protect the rights of poker players.

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