by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
In accordance with the recent Kentucky rulings, Microgaming online casinos have begun to block IP addressed from those users located in Kentucky. Because of this, the main Microgaming website has not been available since Tuesday, and as of Wednesday morning, a “Site Note Available” statement was left on its home page.
Some of Microgaming’s internet casinos are merely blocking Kentucky residents; however others are taking more extreme action. Star Partner, an affiliate program, with 14 other casinos in its gaming network, are banning users from Kentucky’s surrounding states: Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri residents will not have access to these casinos until they are able to provide “proof of identification in the form of a utility bill and an identification document.”
The Kentucky court case has spread a certain degree of panic within the industry, forcing domains like Star Partner to take immediate action to ensure that their websites are not seized. A spokesperson for the gaming affiliate site states, “this may be incredibly inconvenient for the players in these selected states but unfortunately our hands are tied.”
Microgaming, a leading internet casino software provider, was among the 141 online gambling websites that was subject to seizure in early October, however given 30 days to block access to Kentucky residents.
In his ruling, Judge Thomas Wingate claimed that if the sites were able to “reasonably establish to the satisfaction of the Kentucky’s Justice and Safety Cabinet or this Court that such geographical blocks are operational, (they) shall be relieved from the effects of the Seizure order and from any further proceedings in the instant civil forfeiture action.”
One Microgaming website, Eurolynx.com, has posted a disclaimer on its “Viva America” page stating that while the casino is operational, U.S. citizens residing in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Utah “cannot play poker or in the casino, but are welcome to play in the sportsbook.”
Similarly, Intertops.com, another Microgaming website has posted a disclaimer in a link at the home page entitled, “Important legal notice and disclaimer.” When following the link, users are greeted with a statement that “no bets will be accepted in the Casino or the Poker room if placed from: Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, Oregon, Wisconsin, Nevada, Washington, Indiana, South Dakota, New Jersey, Utah, Kentucky or New York.”
Other Microgaming websites that are enforcing the 14 state ban are DoylesRoom.com, PokerHost.com and PokerTime.com. Website representatives say that existing users of these websites, within these states will have their account balances refunded as soon as possible.
It is unclear at this point what long-lasting effects the Kentucky ruling will have on the internet casino industry, or what other domain owners will follow Microgaming’s example; which states will follow Kentucky’s example in further attacking the rights of American citizens to gamble online. It can be certain, however, that this is a turning point in legislation against internet gaming and for the censorship of online content.