Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Against Domain Owners

The Kentucky Supreme Court announced their decision to rule in favor of the State of Kentucky stating the principal parties do not have standing.  From PocketFives.com press release:

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled against the owners of 141 internet gambling domain names. The ruling, which was handed down on Thursday morning, asserts that neither the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) nor Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) has standing. However, all indications are that iMEGA and company will file the necessary documents to continue to pursue the case within the next 20 days. Read the entire Kentucky Supreme Court decision.

Instead of debating whether the 141 internet gambling domain names constituted “gambling devices” under Kentucky state law or whether proper due process was followed, the Kentucky Supreme Court focused squarely on whether iMEGA, the IGC, and counsel for several of the URLs at risk had standing. With the case already heard by the Franklin Circuit Court and Kentucky Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court charged, “Although all such arguments may have merit, none can even be considered unless presented by a party with standing. No such party has appeared.”

During the legal proceedings, which have occurred over the past 18 months in the Bluegrass State, iMEGA and the IGC have not divulged their membership ranks. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruling succinctly explains, “iMEGA refuses to reveal which registrants it represents, or even how many. It simply claims to have members who registered some, but not all, of the seized domains.” The sites at risk include the industry behemoths PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, whose domain names would be forfeited if the State emerged victorious in the end.

The question now becomes what the next steps iMEGA and the IGC would need to take in order to satisfy organizational standing. The decision reads in part, “Without even revealing any of the registrants they purport to represent, the associations cannot hope to achieve associational standing.” iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan told PocketFives.com that identifying just one of its members may be sufficient to claim standing. The trade organization plans to re-file in the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the case may immediately move back to the state Supreme Court.

Brennan remained cautiously optimistic about the organization’s prospects of proving standing. In a press release distributed by iMEGA on Thursday, Brennan commented, “All along, it seemed the Court wanted to go our way and this decision today indicates that is still the case. The Court is telling us that all that is necessary is for one domain owner to come forward and we likely win. We obviously would have preferred a complete, clean victory today, but reading the decision, it seems this is a technicality that is only delaying the inevitable.”

…. Complete Press Release at PocketFives.com

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