The news earlier this week that Kentucky state officials are seeking the confiscation of some 141 online gambling domains has been carried widely in mainstream as well as industry media, but has not fazed some forward-thinking operators who had already made contingency plans for such an official action.
The Guardian newspaper in London spoke to Nick Wood, managing director of London-based Com Laude, which holds the domain name for PokerStars, who said: "We anticipated this could happen and we've developed an action plan which largely consists of us not responding."
Approached by the newspaper, the UK-based Safenames, the registrar for Full Tilt, declined to comment.
PokerStars and others are believed to be preparing to send a team of lawyers to Kentucky to fight the legal claim by state officials, backed by governor Steve Bashear. They are expected to argue that the Kentucky courts have no jurisdiction over dotcom domain names registered overseas. Insiders believe they will side-step arguments about whether or not taking cash from US players is in breach of US law.
Bashear has already conceded that the action taken by his officials was in part designed to protect the interests of local horse-related gambling, which is exempted from Internet bans by legislative carve-outs. Bashear has campaigned for more land casinos to be licensed in Kentucky, prompting some critics to suggest his attacks on online operators looks morally inconsistent.
Many industry experts suggested the Kentucky action was unlikely to succeed. "This is a stunt," Washington attorney, David Stewart told The Guardian.
The latest order from the Franklin circuit court of Kentucky has been served on registrar companies in the US and around the world in procedures set out by the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the assignment of domain names.