Kentucky Supreme Court Reviews Online Gambling

Published October 29, 2009 by OCR Editor

Kentucky Supreme Court Reviews Online Gambling

Case pits governor against gambling groups after state had shortlisted domain names for seizure.

The highest court in the southern US state of Kentucky is set to decide on a long-running case over whether the state has the authority to seize Internet domain names involved in online gambling.

The court heard arguments yesterday from both sides in Governor Steven Bashear's final appeal in a case that has put him against a collection of groups being headed by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association.

Bashear lost a hearing at the Kentucky Court of Appeals in January, after the court decided that the state had overstepped its authority by shortlisting 141 domain names for seizure, including PokerStars and major sports betting sites.

The state says that online gambling is illegal in Kentucky and that companies should block Kentucky residents from accessing their sites or face seizures.

Eric Lycan, an attorney representing the state, told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the domains had been used to "violate the law in Kentucky" and were therefore "subject to forfeiture."

But gambling groups maintain that online gambling isn't illegal in Kentucky because the state legislature has not taken action to make it illegal.

Attorney Bill Johnson, representing online gambling sites in the case, said that the "the ultimate issue in this case is whether a domain name is a gambling device under the statute," adding that "this case should have never proceeded in the beginning."

A ruling from the court is expected in the coming months.

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