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Continuance Granted in KY Seizure of Poker Websites Case

Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance John Pappas Comments

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A Franklin Circuit Court judge granted a continuance today in the case brought by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to seize the domain names of Internet gambling websites.

It was reported on Tuesday that Kentucky was trying to take on the online gambling industry by attempting to seize 141 domain names registered to online companies by using a law that allows officials to seize devices that are used to for illegal gambling. The government argued on the grounds that the law applies to Internet domain names and that the state should take ownership of them in order to protect its citizens.

Read the full article in the CardPlayer.com poker news archives.

Earlier today as the hearing commenced, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) submitted an amicus brief stating that, " Poker, including online poker, is indeed legal under Kentucky state law and is a game of skill, not chance. As such, the basis for the state's seizure of poker-only website domain names is unfounded."

According to an official PPA statement, here are the key points of the amicus:

  • Extensive research citing expert opinion that poker is indeed a game of skill;
  • References to academic, gaming and artificial intelligence experts citing the fact that skill is an essential element to winning at poker, be it against a human or a computer;
  •  Unequivocal consensus among experts that in the long run a skilled poker player will beat an unskilled poker player;
  • Kentucky state law asserts that "a contest or game in which eligibility to participate is determined by chance and the ultimate winner is determined by skill shall not be considered gambling" [emphasis added]
  • Under Kentucky law, poker is a lawful game of skill because the facts can easily sustain a finding that skill of the player predominates over chance in determining outcome;
  • The current case provides no evidence to suggest that any of the poker games played on any of the 141 websites in question are based on chance as opposed to skill;
  • Cases in other states as well as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) letter verify that skill is the dominant factor in the game of poker; and
  • The case raises First Amendment free speech issues in restricting residents' access to poker websites that contain news, blogs and forums as well as the ability to play poker.

Executive director of the PPA John Pappas commented on the positive court ruling. His entire statement follows:

“The Poker Players Alliance is pleased that the court decided to allow for a full review of this case, including arguments from both sides. Until this point, the state and its hired-gun, class-action attorneys have acted in an ex parte fashion -- only presenting one side of the argument to the court. The continuance granted today will ensure all of the cards are on the table and allow the current owners of the domain names of the 141 websites to retain ownership in the interim.

“The PPA believes that a thorough review of the facts of the case will result in a favorable outcome for the thousands of Kentucky residents who play online poker.

“We will continue to communicate our position with Governor Beshear and other state elected officials through our grassroots network, and we look forward to working with them and other interested parties as this case moves forward.”

 
 
Tags: poker law