In Kentucky, the Frankfort Circuit Court has stated that it needs another week in order to consider a judgement in an action brought by opponents of the state’s plan to seize 141 international domain names belonging to online gambling operations.
The opening round of legal arguments was held earlier this week and drew a significant number of representatives arguing against the action, which was initiated by Michael Brown, Secretary of Justice and Public Safety for the southern American state, and backed by Democrat Governor Steve Beshear.
Judge Thomas Wingate was given an expert description of how domains work and heard from legal representatives for a number of online gambling companies and owners. These disputed the State’s definition of their domains as ‘gambling devices’ while revealing that a handful of registrars had already complied with the Court's order to hand over domain certificates. They argued that a domain certificate is of limited practical value in halting operational conduct as a website and IP address remain outside the control of the license holder.
In addition, lawyers for the Internet Gaming Council argued that Kentucky officials were trying to hold domain owners to ransom. They referenced earlier comments that the intention in launching the action was to force owners to agree to block Kentucky players and pay a fine for offering their products in the state.
However, the State’s representative, Chicago lawyer Thomas Foote, argued that none of the opponents in this matter had legal standing because they had not represented themselves but had instead appointed legal surrogates. He claimed that the reason for this was a fear of cross-examination on their revenues and the knowledge that offering online gambling to Kentucky residents was wrong. He pointed the Court’s attention to precedents in similar actions and cited the California Ninth Circuit Court ruling that a domain name is property that can be seized.