Louisville, KY (January 20, 2009) – The Kentucky Court of Appeals today issued a ruling prohibiting the Franklin Circuit Court from enforcing its seizure order against the 141 domain names in the domain seizure case. The Court found that Internet domain names do not constitute a gambling device under Kentucky law and that the Franklin County Circuit Court clearly erred in concluding that the domain names can be construed to be gambling devices subject to forfeiture.
The appellate court was provided powerful arguments from a strong coalition of independent voices who opposed the Franklin Circuit Court ruling. Groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the ACLU of Kentucky and the Electronic Frontier Foundation all successfully weighed in with the appellate court from a variety of legal perspectives.
“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. “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. The Court of Appeals has agreed with the PPA’s position that Judge Wingate did not have jurisdiction to issue the order that he entered against these domains and that Secretary Brown has no legitimate right to deprive the citizens of Kentucky of the legal right to play poker online.”
“On behalf of the thousands of PPA members who live in Kentucky, we hope that Governor Beshear and Secretary Brown will abandon this misguided effort and focus new energies into regulation and taxation of Internet poker,” said Rich Muny, Kentucky State Director for the PPA, who resides in Union, KY. “This common-sense approach would benefit Kentucky’s poker enthusiasts and the revenue will benefit the state as a whole. Rather than spending hard to find dollars on this case, the Governor could actually turn this into a much needed new revenue stream for the Commonwealth.”
The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) also expressed its support of the ruling.
“As a result of the appeals process an informed and judicious decision has been made, which confirms our original views on these proceedings. IGC members are pleased and we stand committed to continuing our advocacy of a regulated online gaming industry. The IGC strongly believes that if policy makers want to protect children, individuals that suffer adverse consequences of excessive gambling and the general public, the true and only response is regulation,” stated John Kennedy FitzGerald, IGC Chief Executive Officer.
FitzGerald went on to say, “The IGC took a leadership role in advancing these proceedings on behalf of internet businesses everywhere and our organization is humbled by this decision and by the overwhelming support received from internet businesses and free speech organizations everywhere and we wish to thank them for their support throughout this process.”
“This is a very important decision for anyone doing business on the internet,” said Jeff Ifrah, counsel for the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC). “We hope this will prevent misguided state officials from considering litigation against on-line industries located outside of its state boundaries. While this proceeding was ill conceived, the judicial process was permitted to properly function for which we are grateful. The Court of Appeals has now corrected a fundamental misunderstanding by the trial judge in this proceeding regarding the nature of the internet and the legality of online gaming in Kentucky,” said Ifrah.