iMEGA Fires Back Against Kentucky

Published on: October 26, 2008 

While other online casino and poker rooms are waiting to see what happens in the Kentucky forfeiture case, Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) has decided to fight back instead.  Based out of Washington, DC, the company has been fighting Governor Steve Beshear on the front lines of the fight, and they took a step forward this week by filing a writ of mandamus that asks the State’s Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Wingate’s ruling to continue forward with hearings.   

The case involves seizing 141 Internet gambling domain names, giving the state the right to block them from being used by poker and online casinos in the state of Kentucky.  iMEGA asked the Appeals Court to intervene and the President of iMEGA, Ed Leyden, has decided to not to wait until a final decision was made to take actions.  Says Leyden, “The forfeiture hearing would have been the death penalty. The damage would have already been done and the harm would have been irreparable. These proceedings should not have gone as far as they did.”

Monday, November 17, 2008, was the initial day of the final forfeiture hearing but it was pushed back until December 3.  The companies Chairman and CEO Joe Brennan stated in a press release that the lower court ignored Kentucky law by using an old defunct law as rationale to justify the seizures of the domain names.  There is a newer law on the books which has forced iMEGA to feel that they had no choice but to go to the Court of Appeals.  The law uses the phrase ‘gambling devices’ to mean any piece of property that helps people gamble.  According to Leyden, “The Court doesn’t have jurisdiction. The phrase ‘gambling devices’ doesn’t apply to domain names which aren’t property. Even if they were property, they’re not located in Kentucky. You have to look at the Constitutionality here. You have to look at it on the right level.”  

He has also stated that according to the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, only Congress has the power to regulate commerce with other international nations.  Currently, Kentucky is overstepping their boundaries by trying to seize the domain names and keep them from being used in the state of Kentucky.  Leyden intends to ask that no matter what happens, the case remains stayed until they can see what the Court of Appeals does, hoping to have it suspended or dismissed entirely, and that the situation has gone on long enough.

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