Online Casinos Score Victory

Published on: January 22, 2009 

We can guarantee you that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is not a happy camper as the state of Kentucky saw a victory happen for their online gambling citizens.  Beshear attempted to force 141 online casino and poker room domain names to be forfeited to the state and not useable in the state of Kentucky, basically banning the online gaming for all time there.  He won the case but on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, it was overturned by the state’s Court of Appeals.  The courts claimed that there were ‘multiple flaws’ in the gambling case and those were found only in the pieces of the defence that the judges looked at.  There were plenty of other flaws that were not reviewed and are now moot.

The appellate judges were split two to one in favour of reversing Judge Thomas Wingate’s ruling and it was based on the reading of the original state laws against possession of ‘gambling devices’.  According to Judge Michelle M. Keller, “ stretches credulity to conclude that a series of numbers, or Internet address, can be said to constitute a 'machine or any mechanical or other device... designed and manufactured primarily for use in connection with gambling.' We are thus convinced that the trial court clearly erred in concluding that the domain names can be construed to be gambling devices subject to forfeiture..."

Judge Jeff S. Taylor added that even if the term ‘gambling device’ was accepted to include domain names, the law against owning the device would be a criminal statute and require criminal hearings before the device could be legally confiscated or even considered a ‘gambling device’.  He added that, "...the conspicuous absence of the Kentucky Attorney General, who... clearly has the authority to pursue the prosecution of crimes.... The Secretary of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has no such authority."

The three appellate judges cited the precedent of a case that involved a paternity suit that established the need for legislative action in order to change laws and policies in regard to technological advances.  The way the precedent was set, the judges cannot amend the law the way they feel lawmakers would want it to read in the absence of any such action.   
Kentucky attorneys are reviewing the verdict while considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court.  But until it hits the state Supreme Court’s dockets, the 141 online domain names remain the property of the online gaming owners.

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