A judge ruled that Kentucky will not be allowed to seize the domain names used to gamble and play poker online there. The Commonwealth was attempting to seize the domain names of 141 companies by using a law that allows it to seize devices used to facilitate gambling.
“We are humbled by this decision and by the overwhelming support received from Internet businesses and free speech organizations everywhere,” said Jeff Ifrah, an attorney acting as part of a team representing the Interactive Gaming Council. “The Court of Appeals has now corrected a fundamental misunderstanding by the trial judge in this proceeding of the nature of the Internet and the legality of online poker in Kentucky.”
The Court of Appeals did not weigh in on whether Kentucky has jurisdiction to seize the domain names located outside its border. However, it did rule that the domain names are not “gambling devices,” as defined by the law.
This ruling overturns a September ruling by Judge Thomas Wingate, who signed the forfeiture petition as requested by Kentucky officials. The forfeiture hearing was scheduled to take place the first week of December, but was delayed until the Court of Appeals ruled.
The ruling affects all of the sites that were targeted, including Tokwiro’s UltimateBet and Absolute Poker, which decided to succumb to the judge’s pressure and geo-block Kentuckians from accessing its sites in December.