In America, the three-Judge panel tasked with deciding whether the state of Kentucky has the right to seize 141 domain names associated with online gambling has retired to consider its verdict after hearing oral arguments.
The Kentucky Appeals Court in Louisville heard the views of the various parties on Friday in an appeal filed by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) and the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) against an October ruling by Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate. The earlier verdict saw the state granted permission to block Kentuckians’ access to websites associated with gambling.
In addition, Judge Wingate also stated that he would hold a hearing to determine whether authorities could seize such domains if they failed to block access to people living in the southern American state. This enquiry has been put on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.
iMEGA was asking the Appeals Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling on the grounds that the state’s attorneys improperly tried to create a hybrid of criminal and civil laws in order to justify seizing the domain names without any normal criminal or civil proceedings.
“It is not sufficient for the state or a lower court judge to decide on their own that there is a criminal violation,” said Jon Fleischaker, lead attorney from Dinsmore and Shohl of Louisville representing iMEGA.
“They don’t like this Internet gambling so they seized the names without hearing or process.”
Fleischaker also stated that the US Sixth Circuit has ruled that domain names are no more than billboards and noted that the Horseshoe Casino in southern Indiana can advertise across the border in Kentucky even though gambling is illegal due to the First Amendment.
It has not been announced when the Court will return with its verdict but experts predict that an early return could be on the cards.