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How the Local Kentucky Media is Portraying Online Gambling Case

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Oct/07/2008

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear wants to block 141 gambling websites calling them illegal and unregulated. He claims that these online gambling sites are "leeches" to the Kentucky economy, yet Rick Muny, the Kentucky State Director of the Poker Players Alliance, claims his organization has well over 10,000 members in the commonwealth and winning poker players pay state taxes just like everyone else.

"I have to pay taxes on my winnings," Muny pointed out during a Monday press release.

Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform claims that Kentuckians are paying some of the highest taxes in the country.

"Kentuckians are getting clobbered by taxes," he said. "We need to make Kentucky a better place to live. The Government is squandering taxes on this case."

The Associated Press emphasized that Beshear supports gambling, but opposes Internet gambling.

Beshear, a Democrat, made his support for a constitutional amendment legalizing casino gambling a central focus of his campaign for governor last year. The governor tried and failed earlier this year to get the General Assembly to put a proposed amendment before voters.

Kentucky already allows gambling on horse racing and bingo, and has a state lottery.

Still, Beshear has called the Internet gambling sites targeted by his administration as "leeches on our communities" and acknowledged the move would protect the state's "signature industry."

Louisville NBC affiliate, WAVE 3, interviewed Edward James Leyden, attorney for iMEGA, Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association on Monday following the news conference.

"Nobody has been as reckless as Kentucky has on this."

Leyden, whose group was founded to foster cooperation between the online industry and government at all levels, and to promote innovation, openness and freedom on the Internet, was just one of the lawyers and representatives of 141 gambling web sites being targeted by Beshear who aren't happy to be in the Bluegrass state again.

"Here's how I react to it. Governor Beshear needs to read the constitution," said Leyden.

The group calls the move by the governor unprecedented and an attempt to limit competition in free marketplace.

"They compete with instate interests," Leyden said.

Specifically, the Kentucky Lottery and horse racing. They point to twinspires.com as a site that wasn't on the governor's list. But, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety officials say all the sites on the list operate offshore and are illegal. They say online paramutual wagering, like twinspires.com, is allowed by federal law and is fully regulated.

"I guess the perception is it's just out of staters and it's just people who aren't here in Kentucky, then it's a free ride," said Leyden.

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Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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