Friday, January 23, 2009

Kentucky governor to appeal bingo domains case - 23rd January 2009

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear will appeal a court ruling that prevents the state from seizing domain names used by online gambling sites.

A Kentucky Court of Appeal ruling had said that domain names did not constitute ‘gambling devices’ and therefore were not liable to seizure. The 2-to-1 court ruling had been greeted by online gambling advocates as an important victory.

J. Michael Brown, Kentucky’s Secretary of Justice and Public Safety, said: “The Commonwealth will continue its action to protect Kentucky citizens from illegal internet gambling operations.

“The evidence [presented in the original lower court case] demonstrated that illegal and unregulated activity is occurring in Kentucky and that millions of dollars are being lost as a result of that activity.

141 domains were shortlisted for seizure, including some top US bingo names such as usabingo.com, bingoknights.com, winabingo.com and bingoworkz.com. Others targeted include leading poker site such as pokerstars.com, fulltiltpoker.com and ultimatebet.com and major sports betting sites such as sportsbook.com and www.sportsbetting.com.

Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of iMEGA, who represented many of the domain owners, said: “We’re not surprised that Gov. Beshear and Secretary (J. Michael) 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.”

The appeal is expected to be heard in April 2009.

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