Online gambling domain owner steps up in Kentucky case

Online gambling domain owner steps up in Kentucky case

March 25, 2010.

The legal tussle between the state of Kentucky and trade associations iMEGA and IGC has taken a new and positive turn as an Online Gambling domain owner has stepped up to the plate in order to give the plaintiffs legal standing.

The case involves the attempted seizure of 141 international online gambling domains by state officials in an attempt to wipe out online gambling in the state.

In a surprise decision last week, and after over two years of wrangling through lower courts and appeal courts, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the trade associations had no legal standing unless at least one of their members came forward.

However, owners were reluctant to expose themselves to the risk of arrest or prosecution in an environment like the United States, where the legality issue is at best complicated and confusing.

This week Yatahay Limited, the owners of True, one of the domains involved, filed an affidavit pledging that the company is a member of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA).

A further affidavit was filed by iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan, clarifying that iMEGA has represented Yatahay's interests throughout the litigation.

These new submissions will now enable the case to move beyond the technical issue of legal standing which both federal and state actions have relied so heavily upon in fighting the iMEGA and IGC cases.

Hopefully the real issues of the limits of Kentucky jurisdiction and the definition of a gambling device which lie at the heart of the case can now be addressed.

The iMEGA legal team has applied for the case to be transferred back to the Kentucky Supreme Court for further argument on the substantive issues.

The independent online poker information portal describes True Poker as a member of the Yatahay Network, which accepts action from the United States and is the 25th largest worldwide in terms of real money ring game traffic. Other rooms on the Yatahay Network include BetCRIS and 5Dimes.

"We've overcome the technicalities that gave the Commonwealth their short-lived victory," iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan said in a written statement. "The court can now make a decision based on Kentucky law."

Brennan added that, based on the wording of the decision last week, he expects the Supreme Court to rule in favour of iMEGA now that the legal technicalities have been cleared.

A number of organisations have filed amicus briefs in support of the iMEGA and IGC action, including the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), eBay, Network Solutions, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy and Technology, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky, Media Access Project, United States Internet Industry Association, Internet Commerce Coalition, and Internet Commerce Association.