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Kentucky Poker Case Heads to State’s Supreme Court

Governor Still Seeking to Have 141 Domain Names Seized

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In just over a month, the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association will square off against Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear for what may the last time. The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments on the government’s case against iMEGA on Oct. 22.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and we’re going to win again,” said Joe Brennan, Jr., iMEGA’s chairman. “From the beginning, Kentucky law has clearly supported our position, and a win in the State Supreme Court will put the final emphasis on that.”

Last year, a circuit court judge in Kentucky agreed with Gov. Beshear’s claim that several online sites constituted illegal gambling and allowed the government to seize 141 domain names, which included dot com addresses associated with several well-known poker sites, including PokerStars, Full Tilt, DoylesRoom, Bodog, UltimateBet, Absolute Poker, and Cake Poker.

The law the circuit court judge referenced allowed officials to seize devices that are used to for illegal gambling. iMEGA immediately took up the fight, saying that online poker was legal and therefore the seizure of the domain names was unlawful.

In January of this year, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in favor of iMEGA by a 2-1 margin, saying that the state never had the jurisdiction to seize the domain names.

“Regardless of our view as to the advisability of regulating or criminalizing Internet gambling sites, the General Assembly has not seen fit to amend (state law) so as to bring domain names within the definition of gambling devices,” the court wrote.

But Gov. Beshear, a Democrat, was determined to fight the ruling, issuing an appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court has agreed to hear the case.

Several organizations have joined iMEGA in its lawsuit, including the Interactive Gaming Council, the Poker Players Alliance, the ACLU, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet Commerce Association, eBay, and Network Solutions.

Both sides in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. iMEGA, et al will have 15 minutes to present their arguments.