Appeals Court Denies Kentucky Seizure Of 141 Online Gambling Domains
Since September of 2008, the fate of 141 online gambling domains has been up in the air as the Commonwealth of Kentucky sought to seize control of them as “illegal gambling devices”. In the latest turn of events, a Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling that would have forced forfeiture of the domains to Kentucky. But is it over yet?
Like a soaring kite on the indiscernible winds of changing, the fate of the domains nearly came crashing down when Judge Thomas Wingate ruled in favor of the Commonwealth back in November, declaring the domains were in fact gambling devices operating illegally within the borders of Kentucky, and the state had every right to seize the online gambling domains.
For the operators of the internet poker rooms, casinos and other gambling venues named in the case, there was only one thing left to save their respective domain names – sending the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
That’s exactly what a large team of defense lawyers did, postponing the seizure of the online gambling domains until the appeals court ruling came back. The three-judge panel heard the case, conferred, and returned with a unanimous decision.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not have the jurisdiction to seize online gambling domains operating outside of its borders. The 141 online gambling domains in question were ruled as viable “gambling devices”, but being offshore, the Commonwealth overstepped its rights in the original case.
The effects of the Court of Appeals ruling are sure to abrade the online gambling industry, but it is unclear what changes will be made at this point. For example, leading online casino and poker software developer Microgaming, whose domain was listed in the law suit, responded by cutting off access to its web site and licensed operations from all over the US, not just Kentucky. Will Microgaming reconsider its premature decision, or will hundreds of online gaming operations be forced to continue prohibiting US players?
It should be business as usual for the juggernauts of the online poker industry as PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker made no changes due to the law suit. The general consensus among online poker players and analysts seems to be that the Kentucky VS 141 Online Gambling Domains case will only serve to strengthen the stance of those who are striving to legalize online poker in the US.
Paul Leggett, COO of Tokwiro Enterprises, owner of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker, under dual ownership of Tokwiro Enterprises, “We really hope that this case brings more serious attention to the complete legalization of online poker in the United States. Online poker is enjoyed recreationally by so many people, and taxing it will only benefit states financially and provide a better experience and security to their players.”
Unfortunately, the whirlwind escapades have not yet come to an end. Governor Beshear has requested an appeal of the appeal. For now, everyone awaits the decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court, who must decide whether the case warrants an appeals hearing, after already being appealed in favor of the online gambling industry.
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