The Commonwealth of Kentucky is seizing 132 gambling domains in the latest step in a case that stretches back to 2008. According to Kentucky prosecutors, the domains in question represent illegal gambling devices and are in violation of the state’s gaming laws.
Although the case is 18 months old, it comes right on the heels of a similar domain seizure in Maryland that ensnared Bodog.com, amongst others.
In light of these actions many in the gaming world are wondering whether the future of igaming will reside on .eu domains that don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some of the domains are 123bingo.com, mysportsbook.com, vegasvilla.com, jackpotcity.com, cakepoker.com and royalvegas.com. Check out the full list here.
How It Began
Back in August of 2008 the Commonwealth of Kentucky ran an extensive investigation to see whether offshore gaming sites would do business with Kentucky residents. As a result of that investigation 141 sites that were in violation of Kentucky statutes were identified and singled out for seizure.
Though most site owners ignored the notices from Kentucky, a few groups stepped up to fight the charges. Notably, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and other trade groups stepped in to file Amicus briefs to help fight the rulings. ICA maintained that many of the sites offered only games of skill (poker) which are in fact legal in the Bluegrass State.
At one point an appellate court ruled that domain names did not qualify as gambling instruments and sent the case back to the lower courts. After a year’s worth of legal wrangling, mostly centered on the trade association’s right to represent domain owners, the case finally came to its conclusion.
.com Might Not Be the Future
Given the recent rash of domain seizures by American authorities, more and more webmasters are reconsidering the value of .com domain gaming sites. The main root servers for all .com domains are based in the U.S. and fall squarely under the charge of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Whether the situation with .com gaming names will change if online poker is made legal in the U.S. is anyone’s guess. But for the short term, they seem to be squarely in the sites of American law enforcement.
Are you going to keep your sites on .com domains in light of this most recent U.S. seizure? Let us know our Online Gambling Laws and Regulations Forum.