Attention has wandered away from the Kentucky online poker domain name case in recent months. As you’ll recall, this case concerns Kentucky’s attempt to seize 141 online gambling domain names — including heavy hitters like PokerStars and Full Tilt — from their rightful international owners, on the basis that they provided unlawful online gambling services to Kentucky citizens. Last we heard, the case was due for reconsideration by the state Supreme Court.
“In an attempt to kick-start this litigation,” writes Stu Hoegner at Pokerati, “Kentucky had proposed to divide the in rem defendants into smaller, more manageable groups. Each group would then be addressed by the court using a case management system.”
The goal was to get each domain name’s owner to appear in the Kentucky courts and “prove his/her/its ownership of the domain name, and contest the seizure.” Not exactly realistic, given the wide-ranging international ownership of the domain names in question.
So, once more, online gaming industry advocate Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) has stepped up to oppose Kentucky’s actions, intervening on behalf of the domain name owners unable or unwilling to appear.
iMEGA is doing this by arguing for the legal basis of “associational standing”, explains Dan Cypra at Poker News Daily, which would allow iMEGA to act legally on behalf of the 141 domain names, instead of requiring that each domain owner travel to Kentucky to argue its own case.
“While iMEGA would normally have associational standing, the Franklin Circuit Court has now held that it is unclear whether associational representation can extend to an in rem proceeding in Kentucky; this issue is novel and the court needs to consider it further,” Hoegner adds.
So now, the state has issued an Order of Abeyance — basically freezing the case for 30 days while it reviews iMEGA’s request.
“When the court comes back and doesn’t rule against you, it’s always a victory for us,” iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan told Poker News Daily. “This draws things out more, which provides more exposure to a critically flawed argument by the State.”
However this case may finish, it’s gratifying to know that organizations like iMEGA exist to help combat over-zealous government prosecution of online gambling — and the Kentucky case is certainly one of the wildest examples of that.