The online gambling industry is under attack once again, and this time the governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, is leading the charge.
A court in Kentucky has ruled that the state of Kentucky can seize the domain names of 141 various online gambling sites to "protect its citizens" from harm. They aren't just looking to have the sites blocked for residents of the state of Kentucky - they are actually looking to seize the domain names, which, if successful, would force the affected companies to quickly scramble to come up with replacement domains. For companies that spend so much on branding, this would obviously be a disaster.
The list of 141 URLs contains some of the biggest and best-known domains in the space. We are talking about sites such as FullTiltPoker.com, Pokerstars.com, Bodoglife.com, Ultimatebet.com and doylesroom.com.
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate granted the states request for an order transferring the 141 domain names to the state of Kentucky last week. There will be a hearing this Thursday to determine whether or not Judge Wingate will order that the domain names should be forfeited to the state.
It's the same old story here. The governor is saying that these sites are "preying" on its citizens and that he is initiating these moves to protect the people of Kentucky, but in reality he is acting on behalf of the horse racing industry and attempting to snuff out their "competition". It all boils down to money, but these political figures always try to wrap their true intentions in a cover of morality. Some of the language used by government officials in Kentucky to describe online gambling is ridiculous - Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown said that "illegal Internet gambling is tantamount to a virtual home invasion". Ok.
A number of the sites, including Pokerstars, are apparently sending representatives to the hearing on Thursday. According to guardian.co.uk, it is expected that they will argue that Kentucky courts have no jurisdiction over domain names that are registered overseas.
A few of the URLs on the list have already been transferred over to the state of Kentucky.
Just FYI, the governor of Kentucky is a Democrat. Many people have been saying that he is a Republican, but that's not the case.
You can view the full list of the 141 URLs here.
Nat Arem has a post on the situation here.
Filed Under: Poker Legislation