In response to the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), the Court of Appeals has granted a motion to delay a ruling that could result in the forfeiture of 141 domain names. Yesterday marked the previous ultimatum deadline the 141 domains faced. The hearing was then rescheduled to December 3, and now has been delayed further. The delay comes so that the Court of Appeals can hear iMEGA’s petition to have the seizure ruling overturned. IMEGA will present their arguments on December 12.
The domain names in question are facing seizure because, according to Kentucky authorities, these sites operate as devices that facilitate illegal gambling within the state. As a result, access to the websites must be restricted for Kentucky residents. Kentucky is also asking for a collective payment of over $1 billion for damages and back taxes. If the sites cooperate by restricting access they will not have to forfeit their domain names or pay their part of the $1 billion.
The legal foundations of this case are shaky. It seems questionable to many that Kentucky’s jurisdiction is able to stretch across into other states or countries. Essentially, Kentucky is trying to conform the content on the Internet to fit with its own laws and regulations, regardless of whether or not the owner or creator of that content lives within the borders of the state. IMEGA believes that Kentucky is in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. IMEGA represents five online sportsbooks in the case.
Many organizations and people have responded to the actions of Kentucky as a direct attack against personal freedoms in addition to the legality issues. Just some of the organizations to respond are Kentucky’s branch of the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC), and the Poker Players Alliance.
So far, two domain names, luckypyramidcasino.com and pyramidlounge.com, have been seized. GoDaddy.com also handed a registrar certificate for their domain names in question to the state of Kentucky. The certificate does not give control of the domain names to the government, but does state that GoDaddy.com will honor the outcome of the eventual ruling.