Gambling Sites in Kentucky
Following months of speculation and high profile discussions concerning the State of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s court case in which he attempted to seize 141 online gambling websites, the Court of Appeals has returned its ruling.
In a 2-1 ruling, the court stated in essence that the State of Kentucky could not legally confiscate the domain names belonging to the 141 gambling websites which were based out of the state because the forfeiture law instigated in 1974 only applied to items known as gambling devices, such as roulette wheels, craps tables etc.
The judge who presided over the appeal, Michelle Keller wrote that it was a stretch of credulity to come to any conclusion that a mere string of numbers which constitute an Internet address could ever be interpreted as being a machine or mechanical device. As such the appeal brought by several Internet gambling operators and other businesses was successful, albeit having been won on a technicality.
This dispute began toward the end of last summer as the Governor of Kentucky brought in a law firm that would bring proceedings against several online gambling operators who appeared to be allowing citizens of Kentucky to access their online casinos and engage in online gambling. The aim was to prove that the online casino operators were, by allowing Kentucky citizens access to their casinos, contravening state laws on online gambling, for which forfeiture of their domains would result. He publicly made his stand in order to shutter the online gambling businesses as a way of protecting the state’s own signature industry, horse racing.
As the news concerning the courtroom drama spread, many questioned whether it were lawful for any state to overstep its own borders in order to proclaim jurisdiction over global websites that were not hosted in the state, nor in fact even in the country. Trade organisations such as the IGC (Interactive Gaming Council), the ICA (Internet Commerce Association) and civil rights groups such as the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation joined forces to fight the State’s legal affront on the owners’ of the website domains behalf. They argued that it was unconstitutional to block access to a global website among many other reasons.