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Truly Bizarre Kentucky Court Did Not Reject Domain Case in the First Place

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Oct/10/2008
Kentucky

Last month, a Kentucky circuit court judge granted a request by the governor to have 141 Web site names used by online gaming operations transferred to the state's control. The action was filed by a Chicago law firm on behalf of Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who was elected in part on the strength of a promise to bring casino gambling to the state.

The domains include some of the most popular online gaming sites on the Internet, including UltimateBet.com and FullTiltPoker.com.

GoDaddy.com, the world's largest domain registrar, this week turned over to the commonwealth the certificate for a handful of domains including Cake Poker and Doyles Room. What happens to these domains will depend on a decision to be handed down no later than Wednesday by a Franklin County Judge.

Christine Jones, general counsel for GoDaddy.com, the registrar used by 20 of the 141 domains named in the judge's order, told the Washington Post the company tried to walk a line between complying with that demand and defending the rights of their customers, noting that the casino site owners did not have an opportunity to present their side of the case at the hearing in which the judge ordered the transfer of the domains.

"We issued a registrar certificate to the state that says the court has jurisdiction over the issue, but it doesn't have control over the domains, other than the ability to exercise judgment so that when there is a final adjudication on the merits of the case or a settlement by the parties, we will honor that outcome," Jones said.

Network Solutions, the oldest and one of the largest registrars, took an entirely different approach. They showed up in court this past Tuesday to defend their clients.

Tim Highland of Stein Sperling represented Network Solutions.

"People are not going to the domain names to gamble. They are going to the web site. The domain is made up of just letters and numbers. If anything the online gambling site itself should be seized."

John Levine, author of "The Internet for Dummies" and co-founder of the Domain Assurance Council, a non-profit industry consortium, told the Washington Post the case is likely either to be thrown out or reversed on appeal.

"The state's legal arguments fail on so many levels that it's truly bizarre that the court didn't reject this case in the first place," Levine said.

The federal appeals court just happens to be right up the street from the Franklin County courtroom. This is an option that Gambling911.com has learned could likely be exercised depending on the outcome.

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Christopher Costigan, Gambling911

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