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Briefs Have Been Filed in the Kentucky Lawsuit to Seize Gambling Domains


by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor

            The multitude of defendants in the court proceedings against Kentucky has seized the opportunity to file briefs with the court, explaining their position on the attempt to seize 141 international online casino gambling domains.

            One Lexington Attorney, William C. Hurt Jr. has filed his claim, stating however that the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has the legal right to seize these domain names on grounds that they are “illegal gambling devices” and are therefore subject to Kentucky law. This presumptuous statement would imply that Kentucky law has jurisdiction even over domains that are licensed and operated out of foreign countries where online casino gambling is legal.

            Defense attorneys have prepared rebuttals, saying that the use of the word device pertains to a “piece of equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function,” and that a domain name does not fall under this category.

            Additionally, the super team contesting that the seizure is unconstitutional, have made efforts to gather and discuss the matter on Monday at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort. The group is headed by the Bluegrass Institute whose purpose is to research whether or not policy issues contribute to its ideals of limited government, economic prosperity and personal responsibility as defined by the founding fathers.

            A Bluesgrass spokesperson told the Associated Press, “This is certainly moving in the wrong direction. This is unsound public policy. The Governor is trying to curb Internet gambling, but I don’t think he knows that the Kentucky Lottery allows second chance tickets to be played online. How hypocritical and inconsistent is that? In total, this is going to set a really bad precedent for other states and even other countries.”

            The Poker Players Alliance has been more active than perhaps any other pressure group in the hearing, having already filed its briefs with the court.  PPA members have challenged that online poker domains should be included in the list of potential domain seizures, as they contend that poker is a game of skill more than it is a game of chance.

            Barry Kaufkins of the BG Daily News has had much to say on the issue as well, claiming that the Governor has supported other forms of gambling in the past, including his lobbying for more land casinos to be erected in Kentucky.

“Contrary to the governor’s claims, online poker is not illegal under Kentucky state law, and internet poker is fully regulated,” said Kaufkins. “Nor is it true that online poker is untaxed – poker income [as well as casino income] is taxed at the state and federal levels. The industry itself is not taxed because Kentucky chose to not levy a tax.

            “The industry is not regulated by the Commonwealth only because Kentucky has chosen not to license and regulate [gambling] sites. Were Kentucky to do so, I believe the poker sites would jump at the opportunity and I fully support legislation to implement this.

            “I am outraged that our governor feels he has the right to censor my online activities, to invade my privacy by regulating what I do in the sanctity of my own home. This kind of mommy government censorship is the kind of public policy I would expect in China, not in the United States.”