Thursday June 20,2013 : ONLINE POKER FIRMS SETTLE ON KENTUCKY ISSUE
$6 million price to clean the bluegrass state slate
What is probably the most unexpected news story of the week surfaced Wednesday with an Associated Press report that Kentucky's General Fund will be getting a $6 million boost as a result of a settlement with two major international online poker companies in the Isle of Man-based Rational Group – Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.
The windfall comes from a settlement related to a hotly contested domain confiscation case going back several years and involving around 140 international online gambling domains, including those of the two Rational Group properties .
Kentucky state officials attempted to seize the domains on grounds that they were being used to illegally operate in the state, triggering an exodus from the .com registry and the state of Kentucky, and a series of major actions through the bluegrass state's courts.
Internet freedom groups protested the legal action, questioning how the state could shut down websites that are not located in Kentucky.
Announcing the settlement, state governor Steve Beshear said the extra money will give the state a cushion if General Fund revenue does not meet projections in June, the last month of the fiscal year.
Beshear said that while Kentucky was pursuing the domain seizures, federal agencies in Maryland and New York brought similar actions in federal court in 2011 against Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.
This prompted Kentucky to join the federal lawsuits against the online gambling firms, and this resulted in the $6 million settlement announced Wednesday.
The original domain litigation in the Kentucky state appeal courts is continuing.