BREAKING NEWS: Kentucky Wins; Online Poker Domains in Jeopardy

by , Oct 16, 2008 | 1:22 pm

From the PPA:

We have just received word from our attorneys in Kentucky that Judge Thomas Wingate has ruled against us on all points. In his conclusion he orders the 141 online gaming sites to geographically block and prove that they have done so before the Commonwealth of Kentucky will release ownership of their domain names.

Click here to read the court decision.

(Funny-ironic that I put up my first affiliate link in like forever shortly before this decision?)

UPDATE: In addition to Kentucky’s semi-unprecedented action, Turkey is blocking websites left and right, China is cracking down at internet cafes, and it appears that net freedom will not be an issue of any weight in the homestretch of this election season.

MEANWHILE: Italy has updated its laws and just granted a license to PokerStars.


  • http://hardboiledpoker.blogspot.com/ Short-Stacked Shamus

    Not good.

  • http://pokerati.com/about-us/#danm DanM

    I don’t expect much impact on the actual games (because they are run via software, not a website) … but you can imagine the logistical shitstorm swirling around the head offices in Ireland/Isle of Man/Costa Rica/Malta/etc. right now.

    I suspect there’s some ad agency freakouts going on, too, as the WSOP blank-blank-poker-dot-net ads become a little less meaningful if you have to get the state of Kentucky’s approval to “play with the pros”.

  • Zero

    I don’t understand how one state can claim ownership of domain names on the internet, especially ones that are registered outside of the state?

  • http://pokerati.com/about-us/#danm DanM

    Nor do many others. That’s why this is such a big-deal court case … beyond what it means for the individual online poker sites. It challenges so many heretofore untested issues of internet law.

    Supposedly — I picked this off the PPA Forum — Full Tilt and others are using the likes of a company called SafeNames.net to protect them. But not sure exactly how that works. I think we’re all kinda learnin’ on this one.

  • PokerVixen

    Thanks for the total scoop Dan. The court decision isn’t even showing in google news yet.

    It appears that they are still allowing horse race betting. Wouldn’t you think that could lead to the eventual overturning of this decision? I don’t know how they could argue that there is less chance involved in horse racing than there is in playing poker. They just excluded it because its such a major industry in their state.

  • http://pokerati.com/about-us/#danm DanM

    RC Fox has a good look at the legal breakdown:

    http://rcfox.livejournal.com/233706.html

  • http://pokerati.com/about-us/#danm DanM

    BTW, I just tried it … FullTiltPoker.com still works just fine. Likewise for Cakepoker.

    So really, I wonder what this ruling really means, and in what ways it is truly enforceable.

  • Kevin Mathers

    They have 30 days to turn over the domains to Kentucky.

  • http://pokerati.com/about-us/#danm DanM

    I really don’t see how this can’t end up in the Supreme Court, since neither side will be happy with any contrary court opinion.

  • PokerVixen

    I thought that the takeover involved the domain within the state of Kentucky. i.e. they will block access to those domains being accessed by Kentucky IP addresses and the state will control those domains within the geography of Kentucky.

    Its too early in the day for me to read that brief in full.

  • edbucks

    “I don’t know how they could argue that there is less chance involved in horse racing than there is in playing poker.”

    You are missing the point, Vixon, at least the state get the taxes and revenues from horse racing.

  • PokerVixen

    They get the revenue & taxes from the actual race track but it’s my understanding that they did not seize any betting site that was tied to horse racing. That intentional omission, because its a significant industry in that state, contradicts their argument that they are trying to seize ‘gambling devices’. They are not seizing devices relevant to all forms of gambling, only those that do not exist within state lines. So, if Kentucky got a casino, would they not be trying to seize these sites?

    So they’ve seized this batch. Does that mean the sites will just come up with new domains? Can the state of Kentucky truly seize these domains and subject their law against other states and other countries? Isn’t a further argument that the device that facilitates the gambling is the user’s computer, their internet connection, their electric company for providing power to facilitate these devices?

    As I read the brief, I agree with Dan. This is likely to end up in the Supreme Court. Its a truly scary thought that if this logic is extended out, any website that facilitates an activity that breaks the law could be seized. Continuing on that thought, does that mean dating sites could be seized because of the many instances of “false advertising” or if an assault or rape occurs because of an internet dating rendezvous? Can they seize ticket sites because of scalping? Craigslist for prostitution?

  • Anthony Hicks

    I’m with some of the above posters. Is it possible to seize a domian name from use worldwide using laws applicable in one state?
    I mean, this is a stretch, but in some countrys the cow is worshipped as a god. Could those countries prevent cows from being slaughtered and eaten world wide?
    What needs to be clear is this…..Does the ruling mean that the websites are now responsible for making sure no one in Kentucky can access there sites? If someone does, what are the consequences for the sites then? Domian forfeiture? Something else? No matter what the answers, this is bad.
    On another notes, why is the 60 minutes post not getting more discussion and where did you get verifiable information that the story will air on the 26th?

  • Marvin C

    This will be settled in the Supreme Court with briefs in support of the domain owners from every site. If the Supreme Court decides to hide from the problem and not take the case,Congress in it’s enfinite wisdom, or millions from the players, will pass a law claiming federal jurisdiction.

    If they don’t, the web can be shut down by individual states; EBay for selling stolen property; Craig’s list for promoting prostitution; My Space for child preditors; etc., etc.

    This will not hoild up.