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PARTY GAMING THROWS DOWN THE GAUNTLET IN KENTUCKY
Online gambling giant files a powerful argument
Any illusions that the state of Kentucky’s lawyers may have had that online gambling giants like Party Gaming will quietly roll over to tenuous claims aimed at recouping funds lost by state residents were dispelled last week when Party Gaming filed a powerful counter argument.
The state, already mired in unlikely court actions to seize international domain names belonging to internet gambling companies had earlier this year brought an action seeking to recoup funds lost by state residents at major internet gambling sites like Full Tilt Poker owners Pocket Kings. Party Gaming and Microgaming were subsequently added to its list of targets, leading to the Party Gaming riposte.
Reports from Poker News Daily, which has sight of the documents, suggest that Party Gaming argument is that “Plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements for service of process set out in the Hague Convention… Nothing in the Hague Convention permits a Plaintiff to effect service of process by sending a copy of the summons and initial complaint via registered mail.”
Party Gaming’s counsel also points out that the Kentucky action should be dismissed due to the state’s failure to clearly outline a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Party Gaming’s response additionally claims that Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown does not have standing to bring about the lawsuit.
“The responsibility to initiate such a lawsuit is vested with the Attorney General, who has not, to date, made an appearance or participated in the filing of this action on the Commonwealth’s behalf,” Party Gaming’s counsel points out.
“Plaintiff (the state of Kentucky) has failed to identify a single purported ‘loser,’ a single quantifiable loss, and a single date on which an alleged loss has occurred,” Party Gaming argues.
“Plaintiff has alleged no facts and, indeed, can allege no facts sufficient to assert that Party Gaming is a ‘winner’ under the statute from which relief can be sought.”
In order to be a winner, an entity must also risk being a loser, Party Gaming asserts, claiming that in the state lawyer’s own words: “Party Gaming collected only a ‘rake’ or ‘commission’ from participants in poker games… a participation fee that could not be ‘won’ or ‘lost’ and was not affected by the ultimate ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ of the hand.”
Finally, Party’s counsel claims that the law invoked by Kentucky was never designed to apply to online gaming.
“The complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff is attempting to invoke a statute that 100 years of authority in the Kentucky courts illustrates was designed to serve a very different purpose – to protect gamblers and their families from becoming wards of the state and to prevent illegal gambling by rendering void and unenforceable the gambling contract itself and certain related agreements,” the response notes.
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