Kentucky Governor Wants To Ban Online Gambling

Published on: September 23, 2008 

Even though the state of Kentucky has a pro-gambling governor, that governor is looking for a way to ban more than 140 online gambling websites that are currently operating in the state.  Kentucky is known as one of the world’s biggest horse racing states.  Governor Steve Beshear has asked a Franklin County Court judge to give the state control over 141 gambling website domain names in an effort to restrict his residents access to the sites.  He is trying to block sites that include some of the most popular gambling sites, such as,, and  The hearing with the judge is scheduled for September 25, 2008.  Kentucky is the first state to attempt an online gambling block by taking over web domain names that match gambling sites.

Beshear feels that online gambling sites are ‘leeches on our communities’.  They are unlike land based casinos or riverboats in the United States because according to Beshear they ‘pay no tax revenues, provide no jobs and yield no tourism benefits’.  He feels that by blocking internet gambling sites the state will be preserving its signature industry.  Kentucky is the home of the Kentucky Derby, one of the biggest horse races in the United States, and the state has a lottery and allows gambling at horse tracks and in bingo halls.

Online gambling sites siphon money from regulated and legal games such as Kentucky’s thoroughbred racing industry, lottery, and charitable gaming activities which is what the bingo halls fall under.  There is no definite estimate on how much money the state is losing to online gambling, but the governor is estimating that residents are wagering millions online.

Beshear’s actual request to the court is asking that the courts forfeit control of the domain names to the state government, says Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown.  Once the names are under the control of the state, they will be blocked to all residents.  Gambling in the commonwealth of Kentucky outside of the horse track, lottery, and bingo halls is illegal in the state.  

Beshear, who is a Democrat, based his entire campaign for governor last year on an amendment to the state’s constitution that would legalize casino gambling in Kentucky.  While he was elected governor, he was unable to get the proposed gambling amendment on the ballot this fall.  He feels that casino gambling in the state could bring in $500 million per year in money that could be spent to strengthen the state’s education and health care systems.

Proponents of online gambling feel that Beshear’s move is very disappointing, extraordinary, and very ill-conceived as Internet poker sites, which are being targeted in the overall ban, do not violate state or federal law.

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