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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Commonwealth of Kentucky Sues Full Tilt Poker for Revenue Loss

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It was only days ago that reports surfaced of a federal grand jury investigation of Full Tilt Poker. Allegations of illegal gambling and money laundering were revealed, as well as possible indictments for people associated with the company. And it turns out that another case was being filed simultaneously but separately. On March 25, the Commonwealth of Kentucky was filing suit against Pocket Kings, the business operating company of Full Tilt Poker, and a list of unknown defendants. Basically, the state of Kentucky seeks relief of money lost due to Full Tilt’s business with its residents between March 25, 2005 and September 25, 2009.

The civil case is listed as the Commonwealth of Kentucky ex. rel J. Michael Brown, Secretary, Cabinet for Justice and Public Safety versus Pocket Kings, Ltd, a foreign business entity, and Unknown Defendants. One might remember Brown from his involvement with the ongoing Kentucky case in which the Commonwealth sought to seize 141 online gambling domain names. The vengeance against online gaming in Kentucky seems to have no bounds, as the state is under the impression that online gaming cuts into profits it could be making from legalized gaming like horse racing and the lottery, as much of which was stated in fact by Governor Steve Beshear when the domain case began.

Pocket Kings has been noted as the company that operates Full Tilt Poker, and the court document lists the company as cooperating with “Unknown Full Tilt Defendants” that may be revealed at a later date when Pocket Kings is forced to open its records to reveal the powers-that-be at Full Tilt. For now, the document states that “Pocket Kings and Unknown Full Tilt Defendants have established a series of shell companies to conceal their identity and avoid their legal responsibilities.

The Full Tilt collective is accused of accepting business with 13,000 residents of Kentucky, which the document refers to as a personal jurisdiction, for financial gain, and the details of those transactions are referred to as “tortuous acts.” The Commonwealth claims that Full Tilt has its chance to leave the Kentucky market when the above-mentioned domain case was filed but failed to do so, thus leaving itself open to this lawsuit. Full Tilt is now accused of being in violation of Kentucky statute 372.010, which essentially states that any contract entered into for a game or wager of money or property is void.

Of note in the document is a section that identifies other unknown defendants, which seems to be a list of the 141 domain names from the other pending Kentucky case and includes names like PokerStars, DoylesRoom, Bodog, Cake Poker, and UltimateBet. As the attorneys uncover the name and locations of each defendant, the lawsuit will be amended to include that information. All of the sites are accused of the same crimes as Full Tilt.

The document then states the relief sought by the Commonwealth as the amount of money lost between the above-mentioned dates which will be determined at the trial, interest on that money, attorney fees, and any other relief the Court deems appropriate.

Kentucky has been out to attack online gaming companies in any way possible, and seeing as the State Supreme Court may soon rule that the Commonwealth does not have the jurisdiction or power to seize domains of said companies, the state has decided to launch the biggest case against online gaming that the United States has yet seen. It is comprehensive in its efforts to do damage to almost every online gaming site in existence, and the discovery process alone could possibly reveal enough information about the offshore companies to allow the U.S. Department of Justice to step in and pursue its own cases.

The ramifications of this case have the potential to be wide and damaging. A response from Full Tilt and other defendants is anxiously awaited, as is word from online poker lobbying organizations like the Poker Players Alliance and the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

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