Kentucky Gov Says Whoa, Not So Fast Closing Books on Black Friday

Beshear: We're not done shaking down Full Tilt and PokerStars

by , Jun 24, 2013 | 3:21 pm

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) says, "I'm better than Tom Schneider at HORSE."

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) is almost single-handedly making sure horse racing interests gets their cut of online poker spoils.

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but I dunno man … it’s starting to seem inevitable that Antonin Scalia may eventually have to reveal his screen name and/or recuse himself to avoid violating any PokerStars T&C’s. But until then, the state of Kentucky is doing its part to make sure the Black Friday cases don’t go away.

The governor’s office put out a kinda strange press release last week, just to let people know, hey, don’t be confused by recent reports of certain online gambling cases achieving final settlement. The great Commonwealth of KY, you may recall, made the bold assertion in ’08 that it had a right to take over foreign web domains that failed to block access by Kentuckians. And now they would like you to know with extra certainty that Kentucky only let go of their claims against Absolute and UB (after a $6 million score) but have not otherwise released claims against poker sites that still have any money left, which they plan go after in full force.

Click here to read the whole press release.

Below is a quick Cliff’s noting some peculiars:

  • They clarify that Kentucky settled with the US government, not any online poker sites.
  • The US government paid the state of Kentucky $6 million to release its claims to Absolute and UB. (Wow, somebody call the Tea Party. I wonder if the Feds would pay the 2+2 community something similar to release their claims!)
  • Kentucky still has pending lawsuits against Full Tilt and PokerStars, and a Kentucky court recently allowed the Stars case to move forward to the discovery phase.
  • Kentucky gives itself credit for being having helped curb “unauthorized” online gambling, which presumably justifies their cashout interest.
  • The government auctioned off the domains truepoker.com, doylesroom.com, and bookmaker.com. Kentucky apparently had a piece of the Feds in that one, and their share from the sale was $75k.

And after all this, buried at the very end of the rather unusual press release strong means weak is one sentence that might be most telling about Kentucky’s intent to squeeze additional blood from the American-facing turnip. After providing a history of the state’s victorious and most-honorable wrestling of $6.075 million from AP, UB, and Doyle’s Room on behalf of the commonwealth, Kentucky asserts:

Separately, the U.S. government released its seizure claim against pokerstars.com, thereby paving the way for the Commonwealth to continue both of its lawsuits against PokerStars.

Like I said, I dunno man … seems like rather shaky legal ground — but no more shaky than their original claim to web domain ownership, I suppose — and in my estimation, if Beshear isn’t bluffing, why this case could eventually end up on the doorstep of the US Supreme Court.

Or … it could just be a publicity play by the governor, as his office would also like you to know that you can follow him on Twitter @GovSteveBeshear, or read his blog Tao of Steve, or you can subscribe to his YouTube channel featuring a library of statesman-like gubernatorial speeches.

Kentucky, of course, has long held a special corporate interest in gambling via Churchill Downs and its legal American online gambling unit, TwinSpires.com. Though Twin Spires currently offers only horse racing tournaments for real money, Churchill Downs last year acquired Bluff Magazine (for an unconfirmed $11 million) presumably in preparation for future online poker.


  • http://www.facebook.com/Unkewlx Richard Daniels

    Pretty sure there claims to full tilt were dismissed lol