Kentucky Rules To Seize 141 Online Gambling Domains

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate handed down his final, official ruling yesterday in the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky versus 141 online gambling domains said to be in connection with illegal online gambling within the state’s borders. Wingate reaffirmed his original ruling to seize the domain names of all 141 online gambling sites, including the leading online poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Judge Wingate ruled that domain names can be defined at “devices” used in online gambling, thereby illegal under Kentucky state law.

The defense argued that Kentucky does not have the jurisdictional rights to govern a world-wide faculty such as the Internet. Judge Wingate dismissed that claim as well, stating “We note that Opposing Groups and Lawyers argue any judicial interference of the Internet will create havoc. The doomsday argument does not ruffle the Court. The Internet, with all its benefits and advantages to modern day commerce and life, is still not above the law, whether on an international or municipal level.”

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) submitted a brief to express that poker is a game of skill, not luck, therefore should be exempt from illegal online gambling laws. Wingate dismissed these claims as well. “In the end, no matter how skilful or cunning the player, who wins and who loses is determined by the hands the players hold”.

According to the ruling, the judge has given each online gambling domain name the opportunity to put safeguards in place that would block Kentucky-based ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from accessing the domains. The online gambling operators have 30 days to comply in order to avoid the seizure order. Any online gambling operator among the 141 in the case that does not comply within 30 days will have its domain name seized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

A final hearing date has been scheduled for November 17, 2008. It is not clear at this time whether any affected parties will attempt to appeal Wingate’s ruling.

It is interesting to point out that Kentucky’s own online horse racing industry, which is licensed and registered in Oregon, has come out of the hearing unscathed. will be keeping a close eye on this story to bring you further updates as they occur.

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