Kentucky Seizes Gambling Domains
The Kentucky domain name seizure has reared its ugly head yet again. It all started way back in 2008 having more twist and turns than a Hollywood horror movie. The instigator remains the one and only, Judge Thomas Wingate.
Wingate signed the forfeiture on 132 Internet gambling domains on 8 March 2012. Originally there were 141 domain names. Nine internet casinos also failed to escape Wingate’s clutches. However, they’ve been excluded from the final order since they are already embroiled in indictments with the United States Department of Justice. These sites are Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet, Doyles Room, True Poker, Bookmaker and Bodog Life. The web’s premier software provider Microgaming has not been included.
Judge Wingate lists 12 points in his order. The order starts off by outlining that none of the internet gambling operators even tried to install the necessary software that geographically blocks users from inside the Commonwealth of Kentucky from illegal, and unregulated internet gambling operators. In the appeals one of the main issues raised over the years was that at least one of the real domain name owners be identified. iMEGA who represents the various domain names said they complied with this, Judge Wingate begs to differ. He stated the following, “No party has appeared with standing to contest the forfeiture or submit evidence. The Court finds that no lawful owner or claimant of the domain defendants has been identified or is identifiable.” The judge maintains that enough evidence has been produced to prove that domain names are illegal gambling devices.
The state of Kentucky dictates that each domain name must be certified by VeriSign, basically it’s the last three points of the order. Then VeriSign ownership of each domain name must be transferred immediately to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Provided by the state of Kentucky each domain name will be directed to the IP address given. In turn the domain names will be unlocked and unencumbered enabling the state to proceed as it deems fit.
It goes without saying that Judge Wingate and the state of Kentucky acted hastily to preempt the natural proceedings in the matter. On 10 March 2010 the Supreme Court of Kentucky referred this issue back to the trial court to determine if there was at least one domain name owner who identified himself. Judge Wingate ruled in September 2011 that no such domain name was brave enough to step forward and to face the music. In the meantime an appeal has been filed against the September order by the representatives of the domain name owners, the intended hearing will take place on 24 April 2012.[addtoany]