In an unheard of legal move, Kentucky state Governor Ken Beshear recently declared that 141 named poker and casino gaming urls will be seized, since their matching websites are catering to the residents of Kentucky. Governor Beshear claimed that these fields are considered to be gaming devices, and thus, are judi online at the mercy of the local Kentucky laws making it possible for their confiscation. Beshear also claimed that use of these gaming sites by Kentucky residents, is directly cutting into Kentucky’s local industries, which is its state-sanctioned horse-racing and lottery industries.
Although all of the named gaming websites are physically located not in the United states (and are regulated by their local jurisdictions), the urls themselves are registered with a U. S. -based registrar (GoDaddy. com). Thus, Beshear claimed that this makes them at the mercy of local Kentucky law, which specifically outlaws “gaming devices”. Beshear claimed that the urls themselves are considered to be gaming devices. Therefore, Beshear filed a lawsuit that will require all of these 141 gaming site urls to be confiscated and forfeited from GoDaddy. com.
In a odd decision, Kentucky Franklin Regional Rounds Court Judge Wingate led in favor of the hawaii of Kentucky, and set a concurrence date of 12 , final, ’08, for all of these websites to block access to Kentucky residents or be confronted by the forfeiture of their urls. Equally complicated, was GoDaddy. com’s decision to abide by Judge Wingate’s legal decision.
Those fighting this decision, lawyers on behalf of the internet Gaming Counsel and the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (IMEGA), plan on fighting the constitutionality of this decision, and plan on appealing at both the state and federal levels. This could easily wind up going to the Great Court for ruling. They contend that the law being applied does not fit in the Cirtuit Court, since the global Internet does not connect with local law.
Currently, there will not be a standard total from the impacted gaming sites, as to if they plan on abiding by the court’s decision. From early clues, it seems that there is general “ignoring” of the decision on the part of these gaming websites, but the final decision that they make remains to be seen.
The ramifications of this decision are enormous. If the gaming websites decide to comply and block access of their sites to Kentucky residents, then what is to stop other states from seeking the same sanctions? More importantly, if this decision stands, what is going to prevent any local jurisidiction from stating that a non-local website is causing economic and industry intrusion on a local business? What if Johnny’s bookstore in Idaho, claims that Amazon. com is siphoning away business from its local store? Will a local judge rule on the confiscation of the Amazom. com website address, or rule that Amazon. com should block access to all Idaho residents?
Unquestionably, Internet freedom is in position here. The global nature of the Internet is certainly at an increased risk given this decision, and it begs the question as to whether local law can govern or restrict global law. The future of the Internet as we know it today, may very well hinge on the final outcome and results of the appeal process.