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.