Update on the Kentucky Online Poker Court Decision

25 October 2009


The battle continues in Kentucky on the seizing of 141 domains of international online gambling. We wait anxiously to hear the outcome of the courts decision. There is a lot riding on this one. So keep watching as it develops.

October 23, 2009 (PAP Newswire) – Yesterday, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard an appeal by that state regarding its goal of seizing 141 international online gambling domains, in an effort to completely eradicate online gaming within its borders.

“The case, which first broke about one year ago, threatens to make the URLs of online poker sites like PokerStars and Ultimate Bet completely inaccessible worldwide,” explains PocketFives.com. That action was stopped by a Kentucky court in January; the current battle represents the appeal of that decision by the Kentucky government.

Arguing the case for Kentucky’s actions was Commonwealth attorney Eric Lycan, who referred to the main opponent of the domain name seizure, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), as part of a group of “illegal gambling trade associations.” Lycan went on to state that if the state was successful in seizing the domain names, they “would be put up for public auction.”

The main point of the appeal is whether or not Kentucky has jurisdiction to carry out this action. iMEGA’s lawyers argued that it certainly did not. “It boggles the mind to look at what the Commonwealth has done,” iMEGA attorney Jon Fleischaker said in his summary arguments.

“Six of the seven judges that comprise the Kentucky Supreme Court heard the case during the 90-minute session and the judicial body is expected to rule within the next four months,” adds PocketFives.com. “A ruling from the court could take anywhere from weeks to months,” agrees the Associated Press.

According to the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the hearing went well. The group’s chief executive, John Pappas, said in a statement that they were “very pleased” with the arguments and how they were presented, according to EGR Magazine.

Meanwhile, the domain name registrar for Full Tilt Poker, one of the most renowned sites involved in the Kentucky case, has received support by a UK court that ruled that Kentucky would not be allowed to seize that (or any) British-owned domain name.

“English courts have no jurisdiction to entertain an action (I) for the enforcement either directly or indirectly of a penal, revenue or other public law of a foreign state or (2) founded upon an act of state,” the British court ruled, according to thedomains.com. (Read that story here.)

Informative coverage can also be found at Kentucky.com, here, and the Louisville Journal, here.