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Judge grants continuance in Kentucky domain case26 September 2008
Friday's court hearing to determine the fates of 141 online gambling domains that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is attempting to seize was continued to give online gambling sites and other interests a chance either prepare their cases or settle the lawsuit.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate granted the continuance a week after the Commonwealth of Kentucky was granted an order to seize these domains as part of lawsuit trying force online gambling operators to stop offering services to Kentucky residents.
"The Poker Players Alliance is pleased that the court decided to allow for a full review of this case, including arguments from both sides," said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).
"Until this point, the state and its hired gun class-action attorneys have acted in an ex parte fashion – only presenting one side of the argument to the court," Pappas added. "The continuance granted today will ensure all the cards are on the table and allow the current owners of the domain names of the 141 websites to retain ownership in the interim."
Earlier in the day, the PPA had filed an amicus brief opposing Kentucky's attempt to seize the online gambling domains.
"The actions by the state of Kentucky are not only extreme, but groundless in that it can be clearly proven that poker is indeed a game of skill and not chance and thereby poker Web sites should not be part of the state's action," Pappas said. "The amicus brief filed on behalf of the PPA today proves this."
Kentucky authorities say seizing the sites is necessary in order to compel them to stop offering their services to Kentucky residents.
"By seizing the domain names, Kentucky can require that the illegal casino operators use readily available technology to block their domains from being accessed in the Commonwealth," the state said in a statement.
Among the sites targeted by Kentucky are PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, Bodog and Slotocash.
Two sites targeted by Kentucky, LuckyPyramidCasino.com and HighRollersLounge.com, are no longer operating. Several others are already redirecting to .co.uk sites. And Forbes is reporting that goldencasino.com has suspended service to Kentucky residents.
The list of sites targeted was "developed by attorneys (conducting the investigation) and are sites where people from Kentucky, using Kentucky addresses, were able to place bets," said Jennifer Brislin, communications director for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the government.
The targeted domains are held by a mix of domestic and international registrars, Brislin added.
"Our end game is to stop that activity (gambling) within Kentucky," Brislin said. "We have no interest to shut it down elsewhere in the country or worldwide."
The lawsuit asks for these sites to use "readily available technology" to deny access to Kentucky residents and to pay for prior damages, Brislin said.
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