Kentucky Overturns Gambling Domain Seizure

    January 21, 2009

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled late Tuesday that the state could not seize 141 online gambling domains because they do not constitute a gambling device under Kentucky law.

The ruling overturns a controversial decision made by Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate in October that said online gambling domains could be seized by the state because the domains were illegal gambling devices that violated Kentucky law.

Kentucky Overturns Gambling Domain Seizure
Judge Michelle Keller

"This is a tremendous victory for Internet freedom and the rights of Kentucky residents who enjoy playing online poker," said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, in response to the decision.

"We are pleased that the appeals court has forcefully reversed Judge Wingate’s earlier ruling and confirmed many of the arguments that have been raised in opposition to the seizure effort."

"It stretches credulity to conclude that a series of numbers, or Internet addresses, can be said to constitute a ‘machine or any mechanical or other devicedesigned and manufactured primarily for use in connection with gambling," Judge Michelle Keller wrote.

"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," Keller added.

Jill Midkiff, a spokeswoman for Governor Steve Beshear’s office. Said she didn’t know "what our next step will be until we’ve had a chance to study the ruling."