Update: Kentucky Makes Another Move in Gambling Domains Case

Attempt at compartmentalizing domains and deny iMEGA legal standing

This week was marked by another move made by Kentucky's lawyers in the case initiated by the state two years ago, in an attempt to seize 141 international online gambling domain names owned by entities outside the Commonwealth. The lawyers' move includes new motions which will be reviewed at a court hearing on December 6 in front of Judge Thomas Wingate, who originally ruled that Kentucky could exert jurisdiction over the 141 domain names specified in the state's case.

However, there's still no solution to this affair, which has been fought all the way through a string of increasingly powerful state courts by pro-online gambling action groups iMEGA and the IGC, as well as online freedom organizations. There's not much chance that these new moves are going to untangle the complicated legal technicalities being deployed.

The Kentucky lawyers also strive to deny Boston-based iMEGA's legal standing to take part in the case on the side of the domain owners. Their proposal also includes a point that the domains in question should be compartmentalised into specific groups, which should enable more efficient management of the large number of sites and presumably owners involved.

It was stated in the submission to the court that, 'in order to effectively manage the large number of sites, the Commonwealth suggests that the determination of identification and ownership of sites occur in groups. The Commonwealth requests that the initial group consist of playersonly.com, sportsbook.com, sportsinteraction.com, mysportsbook.com, and linesmaker.com.' In addition, it was proposed by the motion that the owner of the five named sites should file a motion to intervene in the case within 30 days, which represents a bit of an overrun on the actual hearing date of December 6.

It was assessed by experts in the industry that this strategy may as well pressure owners to expose themselves to the court's jurisdiction, or to abandon their domains. However, iMEGA's reaction has indicated that it is confident in the knowledge that the domain owners have a strong and winnable case, underlining its intention to continue with the dispute.

Through the whole case process, this action group has kept being involved and it successfully opposed the attempted domain seizure as far as the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court. However, recently the Supreme Court referred the issue back to the trial court of Judge Wingate regarding the question of iMEGA's legal standing to remain involved in the case.

To support their compartmentalization initiative, and apparently in an attempt to preempt iMEGA's involvement, the state's lawyers this week stated: 'The Kentucky Supreme Court has held that neither iMEGA nor IGC have established standing in this matter. Moreover, neither iMEGA nor IGC claim to represent playersonly.com, sportsbook.com, sportsinteraction.com, mysportsbook.com, and linesmaker.com or their owners.'

It seems that this issue, which involves some industry giants, such as Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars, is going to continue for a while. It has incited Commonwealth's secondary legal actions against a wide range of online gambling companies - some of them providers and not operators - in which the state has attempted to recoup losses it claims were suffered by its residents on internet gambling sites that it asserts are illegal in Kentucky.

The state's gambling sector is quite lucrative, and it mostly comprises horseracing and lotteries, allowing selective online gambling.

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