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Emily D. Swoboda

Thirty Days to Block Kentucky, Judge Says

16 October 2008

A circuit court judge for Franklin County, Ky., modified a seizure order today to allow online gambling companies 30 days to install software blocking Kentucky citizens from access to their sites.

This afternoon Judge Thomas D. Wingate refused to dismiss a case against 141 online gambling domain names being sued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for offering gambling services to citizens of the commonwealth.

However, he ruled that the defendants have 30 days to demonstrate that they have blocked access to Kentucky from their sites. If the defendants do not comply, the original seizure order will remain in effect, and Kentucky will have the power to take control of the domain names, according to court documents.

Last Thursday, Judge Wingate heard arguments from lawyers and associations representing the online gambling industry in the high-profile case, brought by Kentucky in late August. Judge Wingate ordered the original seizure and forfeiture of the 141 domain names belonging to online gambling sites.

Judge Wingate's ruling today also took away associational standing from groups like the Interactive Gaming Council and Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, according to court documents.

The associations from now on, considered "friends of the court," which means they can still file certain motions, but they're not treated as 'parties' and thus cannot seek substantive relief, or do much besides present legal argument, Lawrence G. Walters, an Internet gambling attorney and partner at Weston, Garrou, Walters & Mooney, explained to IGN via telephone.

Mr. Walters, who is representing in the case, said for the domain-name defendants without legal representation, it will be up to them to represent themselves and to show proof that they have blocked access to Kentucky -- if they so choose.

Mr. Walters said the real loser in today's ruling is the plaintiff's attorneys, who were working on a 25 percent contingency basis and asking for millions of dollars in damages on behalf of Kentucky. Judge Wingate awarded no monetary settlement, and his ruling offers a return of the domain names for free if access by Kentuckians is blocked.

Judge Wingate has scheduled a forfeiture hearing for Nov. 17, following the 30-day deadline given to the operators to block Kentucky.

Click here to view Judge Wingate's opinion and order.

Thirty Days to Block Kentucky, Judge Says is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda