Quick Ruling Expected in Kentucky Internet Gaming Case
By Dan Cypra for POKER NEWS DAILY | Posted on December 12, 2008
Friday marked the resumption of the case involving the seizure and possible forfeiture of 141 internet gambling domain names by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It pits the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in the state against some of the most popular online poker, online casino, and online Bingo websites.
This time around, the proceedings took place in Kentuckys largest city, Louisville, which plays host to the Kentucky Derby. The Run for the Roses, as its commonly referred to, plays out every May at the Churchill Downs racetrack. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held center court on Friday after Judges Michael Caperton, Michelle Keller, and Jeff Taylor approved petitions by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) and Interactive Gaming Council (IGC). The two groups sought intervention by the Court of Appeals to act, arguing that the Commonwealth lacked jurisdiction to seize domain names and that allowing the case to play out would result in irreparable harm to the domain names involved.
Jennifer Brislin, Communications Director for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, told Poker News Daily that she was pleased with Fridays hearing: There is illegal activity occurring and that came across crystal clear. Its now up to the Court of Appeals to determine whether these illegal sites will continue to thumb their noses at the Commonwealth. In the case, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown has been the front man for the State, not its Attorney General. Brislin stated that she expected the higher court to rule as soon as possible in the high-profile rift.
Four attorneys took to the floor during the 50 minute appeals hearing. Online poker was brought up specifically, according to Associated Press writer Brett Barrouquere, who was present at the hearing. Barrouquere stated that the defendants argued that not every domain name in jeopardy belonged to an internet gambling site. That included mentions of online poker rooms involved. In the case, the domain names of Full Tilt Poker, Bodog, PokerStars, Cake Poker, Ultimate Bet, and Absolute Poker (among others) are at risk. The latter three sites have stopped taking Kentucky customers in order to adhere to a ruling by Judge Thomas Wingate at the Circuit Court level. However, if online poker is not gambling, then the sites may be exempt from the case.
Barrouquere told Poker News Daily that each party was grilled during the Court of Appeals hearing: The three judge panel was well-prepared. There were a lot of interesting questions from the judges. Judge Keller focused on why the State didnt treat illegal gambling the same way as it treated illegal drugs. Why not just go after the gambler as opposed to the website? The States response: The legislature specifically exempted the player from the legislation, according to the Associated Press article.
Barrouquere revealed that tough, pointed questions were the theme of the day, with the judges involved having thoroughly reviewed the briefs and the lower court decision prior to taking the floor on Friday. Like iMEGAs Chairman Joe Brennan and Brislin, Barrouquere expects an expedient resolution to the case. He explains, They will rule fairly quickly. I dont expect it to drag out. A lower judge has already agreed to let the suit go forward. If the State is correct and this is illegal gambling, then its still going on right now. If the State is incorrect, then its in everyones best interest for these sites to be able to operate without this cloud hanging over their heads.
Judge Wingate upheld the Commonwealths seizure of the domain names on October 16th. Central to the cases future are the answers to the several questions. First, does the State have jurisdiction to seize domain names, which are located in cyberspace, by using the gambling devices statute? iMEGA attorney Jon Fleischaker told Poker News Daily, What you have in Kentucky law is that the forfeiture of gambling devices is in the criminal code. Forfeiture comes after a finding of violation of the penal code. You cant have a violation of the penal code without a criminal statute. What the Commonwealth is trying to do is treat this as a civil proceeding. The Commonwealth asserted that the URLs were gambling devices, similar to any of the objects such as slot machines and roulette wheels that would be found in an underground casino.
In addition, do the actions by Governor Steve Beshear and Brown violate the U.S. Constitution? The Commerce Clause (which states that the Federal Government is charged with regulating commerce with foreign nations) may have been trampled on. In addition, due process and free speech rights may have been overlooked.
Well keep you posted on further developments right here on Poker News Daily.
.......The judges questioned the attorney for the state whether the sequence of letters and numbers that make up a domain name could be considered a "gambling device." According to Fleischaker, the state responded that a domain name is a gambling device because it is the way to get to the online gambling site.......
"Erik Lycan, lead attorney for the commonwealth, raised a few eyebrows during questioning by Judge Michelle M. Keller, when asked about the commonwealth's assertion that domain names constituted "gambling devices". Judge Keller asked if, given that logic, the state had a right to seize the buses that transported people across the bridge to Indiana to gamble in that state's legal casinos. Lycan responded yes, the state had that right."
Gotta love that.... Why not confiscate and freeze all Kentucky citizens monies, with their wallets being regulated by the state. Set up border guards. That way they make sure no one gambles out of state. Confiscate all computers in the state. Shut off all internet connections.
Hell... Lycan and Beshear are ready to set up a police state within a democracy. Now THAT is frightening.
This domain name seizure was never about stopping gambling or "protecting" the public from gambling... It was all about protecting the land based casinos inside Kentucky from competition from the www.
Thats why it is not "illegal" for individuals to gamble in Kentucky...
Americas state governors... Boy can we be proud of them(not)... so many of them sure seem to be the real bottom feeding political scum of the earth.
If the appellate court is fair, I expect to see this travesty of a law suit thrown out and the governor and his pet mercenary lawyers get a reprimand from the court.
Isn't this the good ole boy Gov. Steve Beshear that was going to protect the citizens of Kentucky from the "Evils" of Gambling by seizing gambling domains... Is it just me or does the hypocrisy smell real bad in Kentucky?Kentucky's horse racing industry would get a stimulus package of its own under Gov. Steve Beshear's proposal to allow video gambling in the state, with the bulk of the proceeds going to the tracks.
This shit is right out of.....
Believe it or Not
Actually I think it is more like look how big Beshear's balls are...
Isn't this the good ole boy Gov. Steve Beshear that was going to protect the citizens of Kentucky from the "Evils" of Gambling by seizing gambling domains... Is it just me or does the hypocrisy smell real bad in Kentucky?
...It could amusing if it were not so damned frustrating and lacking in balance and fairness.