Court of Appeals: Domain Names Aren’t “Gambling Devices”

It’s a story I doubt has gotten much play outside Kentucky (not least becuse it’s gotten so little inside Kentucky). By way of background, Democrat Governor Steve Beshear’s 2007 campaign centered on a plan to bring casino gambling to the Commonwealth. He was unable to persuade the legislature to approve of the plan, however. And then, a few months after the legislative session ended, his Justice Cabinet inexplicably filed suit to seize seized 141 domain names associated with alleged “gambling sites.”

Yesterday, the Kentucky Court of Appeals struck down the lower court order allowing the seizure (it had previously stayed the order pending review):

[I]n a 2-1 decision, an appeals court panel disagreed with [Circuit Judge Thomas] Wingate, holding that the domain names are not gambling devices as defined by Kentucky law.

“Regardless of our view as to the advisability of regulating or criminalizing Internet gambling sites, the General Assembly has not seen fit to amend (Kentucky law) as to bring domain names within the definition of gambling devices,” Judge Michelle Keller wrote.

The Administration is expected to take the matter to the Supreme Court. The opinion hasn’t shown up online yet, so I can’t be sure, but I believe the statute being interpreted is KRS 528.010. That being the case, even if this scheme were good policy (which it is not), it’s difficult to see how the Administration expects to win.

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Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. Were they domain names of sites hosted in the state of KY?

  2. Triumph says:

    It’s a story I doubt has gotten much play outside Kentucky (not least becuse it’s gotten so little inside Kentucky).

    This is likely because–at least as you describe it–the story is of little interest to anybody.

    A better use of a Kentucks time would be eating a hot brown and drinking an Ale-8 rather than worrying about this.

  3. T. Jaxon says:

    This is being followed closely by the poker community, as most of the websites that have been ‘seized’ involve online poker. The domain hosts are all over the world, which makes the claim by KY fairly ludicrous.

  4. Dodd says:

    Indeed it has. In fact, it was a Poker Players Alliance email that led me to the story. And I know that at least one (prominent) online poker company stopped operating here after the seizure order. Not to mention the precedent this would represent if Beshear gets away with it.

    So, yeah, there are those as might be interested. One wonders why those who aren’t feel compelled to comment. Stuff that doesn’t interest me I just pass over. I guess some just can’t pass up a chance to the need to piss in others’ corn flakes.