Last Thursday, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear attempted to use the power of his office to condemn and shut down 141 different US facing online gaming related sites by pushing through a court order to seize any domain name that caters to Kentucky residents.
Just a few of the poker related domain names that were listed to be seized include FullTiltPoker.com, PokerStars.com, DoylesRoom.com, Bodoglife.com, UltimateBet.com and AbsolutePoker.com. Along with internet poker, the order also aimed at sports betting sites, bingo sites, online casinos, and even gaming software providers like Microgaming.com.
Governor Beshear was quoted as saying this severe and unprecedented move was warranted because, “The owners and operators of these illegal sites prey on Kentucky citizens, including our youth.” In an AP wire story he even went so far as to call them “leeches on our communities.” However, Beshear seems to be by no means anti-gambling; his own reelection platform promised an expansion of gambling for Kentucky residents and he is quoted as calling horseracing Kentucky’s “signature industry.”
Thus far it appears only two internet gaming domains have been seized, Luckypyramidcasino.com and highrollerslounge.com, both of which use a US-based registrar service. At the moment, no major poker sites have been adversely effected by the order.
The effects of this move so far have been minimal and many are calling this just a political “stunt,” however there is little doubt that if Governor Beshear had his way, all US internet poker players would be at the very least inconvenienced and at the most robbed of their ability to play a game that is still legal not only in the US but in Kentucky, according to the Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas:
“Many of Governor Beshear’s arguments – that online poker is illegal, unregulated, and without a mechanism to capture tax revenue – are false. Online poker is not illegal under Kentucky law, is regulated in its home jurisdiction and the Commonwealth of Kentucky chose not to license and regulate poker websites.” -John Pappas
The PPA’s Kentucky state chairman, Rich Muny, has promised some form of direct response to Beshear’s actions in the coming days. For updates and more information visit, pokerplayersalliance.org.