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Abeyance Order In Kentucky Domain Name Case
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Abeyance Order In Kentucky Domain Name Case

The entire month of December has been eventful for the Kentucky case this year. There have been several happenings regarding the case which has been going on for almost two years by now. Inbound and rebound, the case was scheduled to be heard on December 6th in front of Judge Thomas Wingate.

The Story So Far

The Kentucky case involved seizure and potential forfeiture of 141 internet gambling domain names in Kentucky. The seizure and forfeiture occurred in 2008 leading to immediate reaction from Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) and Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) on behalf of domain name owners. They hired lawyers to fight against the seizure, asserting it as illegal and lacking due procedures. What’s noteworthy is that the sites which risk seizure are the famous giants in the gambling industry such as Absolute Pokers, Bodog, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, and Full Tilt Poker.

The case has progressed through twists and turns going to Supreme Court and back to Circuit Court and so forth. Now Kentucky attorneys are of the opinion that the 141 sites should be split up into several groups. They have submitted a statement to the court against the legal documents filed by the Commonwealth. The statement says: “In order to effectively manage the large number of sites, the Commonwealth suggests that the determination of identification and ownership of sites occur in groups. The Commonwealth requests that the initial group consist of playersonly.com, sportsbook.com, sportsinteraction.com, mysportsbook.com, and linesmaker.com.”

The organization or group which puts forth a claim to own the sites will be asked to file a Motion to Intervene and to file amicus briefs in the case within 30 days. The briefs according to Judge Wingate should focus on the matter of determining whether or not associational standing fits the case.

The Present Situation

Further to the hearing on 6th, another hearing was conducted in Frankfort, Kentucky, on December 13th. But, no ruling was executed on iMEGA’s Motion to Intervene. On December 17th, Judge Wingate was supposed to give his verdicts regarding which domains are to be permanently handed over to the state of Kentucky. This was to be decided after considering which domain owners have obeyed his order to ban Kentucky online gamblers. He issued an Order of Abeyance, thereby calling a freeze which would maintain the status quo of the case for 30 days.

Reactions Of The Parties Involved

Another important fact worth noting is that Judge Wingate acknowledged that Yatahay Limited owned TruePoker.com. According to him even if another company may operate the TruePoker.com website, iMEGA has proved that Yatahay Limited owns TruePoker.com. “But it is still unclear whether associational standing applies here in an in rem proceeding,” he said. Earlier the affidavits’ authenticities, which were filed to prove that Yatahay Limited was a member of iMEGA, were fervently questioned by The State.

The iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan asserts, “It seems by the court’s brief that they’ve accepted that iMEGA has met the requirements for associational standing as laid out by the State Supreme Court.”

Considering the tactics used by the lawyers, it is rather evident that they are playing unfair with the online gambling industry. They have tried to evade proper defense for the owners of the domain names. Besides this, there have been unprofessional ways used for getting information which can increase the controversy of a very superficial case. In the end what matters is to see if it will be discerned appropriate to allow an association to intervene in an in rem matter like the one in this controversial Kentucky case.

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