Steve Beshear, the governor of Kentucky who authorised his Secretary of the Justice and Safety Cabinet to hire external lawyers and go after online gambling websites by applying for the seizure of 141 international domain names did a little crowing late last week on http://migration.kentucky.gov/Newsroom/governor/20081016internetGaming.htm
The governor was celebrating the overwhelmingly positive reception his initiative received from Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin Circuit Court, who rejected counter arguments from a platoon of lawyers representing various interested parties, and gave the domain owners 30 days to block Kentucky residents from their sites or face the permanent seizure of their domains.
Although there is a strong possibility of appeal actions surrounding the highly controversial and in some instances unprecedented findings of Judge Wingate, the governor's spokesman Jay Blanton posted this on the Kentucky government website:
“I am very pleased with Judge Wingate’s ruling. The court validated our concern that there is illegal and unregulated Internet gambling in Kentucky. He has given these parties 30 days to effectively block any access to this illegal activity within the commonwealth of Kentucky or they may be forced to forfeit those domain names to the commonwealth.
"No one has been willing to step up and do anything about illegal Internet gambling until now. We must protect our people, especially our children, from this illegal and unregulated activity while also protecting our legal and regulated forms of gaming in Kentucky."
In his closing sentence Governor Beshear was referring to the tax-rich presence of approved land and Internet gambling – principally horse racing – in his state. The governor has already tried to expand land gambling in the state, and has been upfront on the need to protect gambling interests favoured by his government.
Judge Wingate will again be in the spotlight on November 17, when he will make his final decisions on which domains are to be permanently handed over to the state of Kentucky after considering which domain owners have obeyed his order to ban Kentucky online gamblers.
The practicality of enforcing the Kentucky court's order is yet to be tested.