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Kentucky Judge Upholds State's Right to Seize Gambling Sites

Poker Players Alliance Says Governor Beshear's Seizure of 141 Sites is Unfounded

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A Kentucky judge today moved not to deny the state the right to seize the domain names of 141 Internet gambling sites, despite motions filed by gambling associations, gaming websites, and even individual poker players to block the move.

Judge Thomas Wingate had ordered to allow the state to seize the domain names of the allegedly illegal sites on Sept. 18. Many of those who motioned to block the seizure claimed that it would set a bad precedent for Internet regulation and could have a far-reaching impact on the Internet.

Wingate wrote a 44-page opinion for upholding his initial order for the seizure, within which he said that “the Internet, with all its benefits and advantages to modern day commerce and life, is still not above the law.”

“Clearly, we believe the judge in this case got it wrong,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, an advocacy group for the rights of poker players. “First of all, we strongly disagree with Judge Wingate’s ruling that poker is not a game of skill. As demonstrated in the amicus brief we filed, skill plays an essential role in being a successful poker player. Additionally, we believe that by confirming Governor [Steve] Beshear’s actions, the court has set a dangerous precedent for censorship of the Internet. Today’s ruling is a big step backward for both personal rights and Internet freedom.”

Internet gambling is illegal in Kentucky, but the PPA amicus brief (mentioned in the quote above) attempted to convince the judge that poker is a game of skill, and thus poker sites would not be illegal in the state.

“Judge Wingate’s order is a huge disappointment to the thousands of Kentuckians who play Internet poker,” said Rich Muny, Kentucky state director of the Poker Players Alliance. “In essence, Governor Beshear and Judge Wingate are denying law-abiding citizens this form of recreation simply because it is enjoyed on the Internet. This is Internet censorship by judicial fiat, plain and simple.

“Governor Beshear has shown great leadership in protecting and promoting the rights of Kentuckians to gamble on horse racing and in casinos,” Muny continued. “He should do the same for those Kentuckians who seek the freedom to engage in online poker.”

Wingate set a 30-day deadline for the sites in question to geo-target and block those accessing the sites from Kentucky. The sites that comply will be removed from the list of domain names to be taken over by the state. He also ordered the attorneys for the sites to reveal their clients, many of whom the Kentucky prosecuting attorneys did not know the true identity of.

“I am certain that many of the plaintiffs in this case intend to quickly appeal this matter,” Pappas said. “We are confident that the Kentucky Appellate Court will review the facts and overturn today’s order. At the same time, the PPA will continue its efforts to protect the rights of Kentucky citizens to play poker online.”

The hearing for the case was set for Nov. 17.

 
 
Tags: poker law
 
 

Comments

PokerJoeK
over 13 years ago

Screw Kentucky!!!

 
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PokerJoeK
over 13 years ago

You can play the Lottery in Kentucky, that takes a lot of skill!!!

 
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sbl21
over 13 years ago

Funny how people criticize China for their cencorship of the internet, but it looks like the USA is no better. I thought we lived in a free country, but alas it apparently is just a mirage.

 
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goldnsquid
over 13 years ago

Americans no long want to be free. Look at how many support Obama. In my opinion we are coming to the end of this once great nation.

 
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