Online Gambling Setback in KentuckyBy: Adam Richards, Sunday September 26th 2010
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The domain name seizure case in the state of Kentucky started in November 2008. It is almost two years now and this week the Supreme Court of Kentucky sent the case back to where it all started – the circuit trial court of Judge Wingate.
This was the second time the case had come before the Supreme Court. Earlier this year the Supreme Court had refused to pass judgment based on the merits of the case. It held that iMEGA and IGC could not represent domain names unless their ownership was known and the owners were a party to the proceedings. In response to this observation iMEGA and IGC had submitted affidavits from Yatahay Limited and Pocket Kings affirming that they were the owners of the domain names TruePoker.com and Full Tilt Poker respectively. These filings were made at the level of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which then sent the case back to the Supreme Court.
This time round the Supreme Court of Kentucky said that since the new information now produced by iMEGA and IGC has never been placed before the trial court, therefore it is the trial court that must first pass judgment on the standing and jurisdiction. The Court also raised doubts about the owners named in the affidavits actually owning the domain names. The order read, "This Court cannot justify granting a writ against the Franklin Circuit Court when that body has acted and ruled correctly thus far in this case regarding standing issues… Until the Circuit Court determines that the domain owners or registrants are properly before the court, no one has established standing to proceed on a writ action." There is no indication as of now as to when the lower court would take up the matter.
iMEGA has issued a guarded response to this judgment. Joe Brennan Jr., Chairman of iMEGA, said that they have complied with the requirements the Supreme Court had laid out earlier this year. At least one iMEGA member had to step forward and admit ownership of a domain name and Yatahay Limited has done that. He added that the Supreme Court has not struck down the issue of standing based on the affidavits provided. It has only directed the lower court to take into account the new information and then decide the matter of standing. Brennan added that this move will again expose the hypocrisy prevalent in the Kentucky officialdom. Kentucky permits online wagering on horse racing and online lottery but gets uptight when it comes to online casino gambling and poker. It is almost certain that the Franklin Circuit Court will rule against iMEGA and the domain name holders and therefore they must prepare for the arduous journey back to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
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