Kentucky Governor Seizes Online Gambling Domain Names

from the can't-have-competition-for-horse-racing dept

It’s always fascinating to watch US politicians act as complete hypocrites when it comes to gambling. They talk about moral issues on why they need to stop online gambling, but allow their own personal favorite types of gambling, such as horse races and lottery. Kentucky, of course, is a big horse racing state, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the state has strict anti-online-gambling laws. These laws are so strict that the state’s governor is using them to seize 141 domain names of sites that the state claims are used for illegal gambling. Of course, it appears that many of the domains aren’t online gambling sites at all, but parked domains. The state doesn’t seem shy about the fact that it’s doing this to “protect” the horse racing business, but of course, throws in the moral argument as well:

“Illegal Internet gambling poses a unique threat to our Commonwealth. For individuals – particularly our youth – it is tantamount to a virtual home invasion. For some of our vital and most venerable legitimate enterprises, it undermines their exemplary regulatory compliance and siphons away their constituents.”

Home invasion? Really? A parked domain is the equivalent of a home invasion?

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Comments on “Kentucky Governor Seizes Online Gambling Domain Names”

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42 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Yea, I’ve never seen people lose their marriages, house, and kids through gambling sites – that never happens.

and whether their techniques are effective or useful is one thing. But he specifically said “Illegal Internet gambling poses a unique threat to our Commonwealth. For individuals – particularly our youth – it is tantamount to a virtual home invasion…” He didn’t refer to a specific site or set of sites or even the ones that he seized…I wish you’d stop twisting peoples words.

Jack Sombra says:

Would say the timing of this is linked to the recent indications that US is about to legalise the whole online gambling thing again.

Those sites will dramatically increase in value if they do. State will hold on to them for a while, then when gambling is legal again, auction them off (in a auction that no one but the governors cronies will know about of course), and the winners of these auctions will flip them to gambling companies that donate heavily the governor and party at a greater profit (thou still below market value). Thus neatly side stepping any “bribery”, lobbyist or campaign funding debates

Duane says:

It's never a good idea to call out a whole state

based on one guy’s comments. I’m actually a fan of this site in general, but in this instance, an important part of the message was skipped over (I’ll attribute it to lack of quality control as opposed to sensationalistic spin)

The quote actually says “asking the court to force the sites to block access to Kentucky users or give up control of their domain names.” block access or give up control. Big difference there.

It’s still a stupid, hypocritical idea from my governor, but then I have no illusions about what my state will do to protect horse-racing. Which, btw, is a lot more fun than online gambling. I highly recommend it having done both on a fairly regular basis.

Hulser says:

Re: It's never a good idea to call out a whole state

The quote actually says “asking the court to force the sites to block access to Kentucky users or give up control of their domain names.” block access or give up control. Big difference there.

You make a good point, but this quote from the original article does indicate that “seize” is appropriate…

“Kentucky is the first state to bring action against Internet gambling operators that has resulted in the seizure of domain names. By seizing the domain names, Kentucky can require the illegal casino operators to block their domains from being accessed in the state.”

This makes it sound like they are actually seizing the sites, but that they are doing so in order to block access from KY. Perhaps a web techie can help out here, but I didn’t think you actually had to own the domain (which is what is implied by seizure) to block certain locations (or, more specifically, ranges of IP addresses).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's never a good idea to call out a whole state

The quote actually says “asking the court to force the sites to block access to Kentucky users or give up control of their domain names.” block access or give up control. Big difference there.

Do the impossible or give up their domain names? That boils down to give up their domain names, period. No difference.

Tony (user link) says:

"Seized"?

FTA: “Beshear has filed a civil suit against the 141 domain names and is asking the court to force the sites to block access to Kentucky users or give up control of their domain names.”

This is both better and worse than Mike reports.

Better, because he hasn’t actually seized the domain names. He has filed legal action to force them to block users from the state.

(I can’t help but wonder where those domains are registered. I’ll bet most of them aren’t registered to companies in Kentucky. For that matter, I’ll bet most of them aren’t even in the US.)

Worse, in that if this goes any farther, it will legitimize this tactic. And it’s actually in the realm of possibility that the court might side with the Governor – which is a frightening thought.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

"Siphon" Is the New Term For 'Compete'

“Siphons away their constituents”.

Yeah, the same way Pepsi siphons away the constituents of Coke. But in that case we call it competition.

Hooray for goverments making our consumer choices for us! Here’s to goverment supported monopolies! Up with the one-product-per category regime. Long live Brezhnev!

Faxbo says:

I hate gambling, but censorship is intolerable. The government should have no business in blocking access to websites it doesn’t like. If people want to gamble their money away that is their right to end up in poverty.

But then we all know that everything these guys do is to protect the big money interests, in this case real world casinos and horse racing. It’s hypocrisy and the voters of Kentucky should recall this scumbag.

Eastern Kentucky says:

Beshear’s big campaign issue was bringing casino gambling to the state. He was heavily supported by gambling interests. During the campaign there was a group called the Blue Grass Freedom fund that was given a 1 million dollar donation by corrupt a casino owner that wanted to open a casino in Northern Kentucky. The Blue Grass Freedom Fund was supposedly an ethics reform advocacy group.

After he was elected Beshear casino gambling went down big because it was so tainted by the money the gambling interests has put into the election.

http://www.kentucky.com/329/story/283928.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-23-3450829309_x.htm

yeah_I_live_here_too says:

Beshear's BS

Eastern Kentucky’s comment is dead on, almost. The gambling initiative also failed because the governor proved incompetant at negotiating the kindergarten mentality of the Kentucky Legislature, whose partisan posturing makes his look nigh statesmen-like. This is about the horse-heads and lobbyists who bought influence getting the effect they paid for. The turf crowd owns a big enough slice of the legislature, that they can muscle-up on anyone they want. They want a piece of the online money, and are shaking down the casinos because they can.

Jeff says:

This is what KY does.

I live in IN and work in KY. *sigh*…this is how KY operates. Good ‘Ol Boy’s network. You should’ve seen it a couple of years ago when they BAN smoking in public places. Get this, they banned smoking in PUBLIC places EVERYWHERE!, with the exception of Churchill Downs! I am serious. They blow so much horse c@ck it’s scary here. But then it was of course appealed and because they knew they would lose, they didn’t really defend it much. Instead they re did it this time INCLUDING Churchill downs to be non-smoking and now it’s a non smoking state. The kicker is that as you might imagine, they ticket/fine people like crazy for smoking in public places with of course the exception of CHURCHILL DOWNS. They never really enforce it there. Hello Internetians, welcome to good ‘ol KY. I’d burn this place to the ground if I could. *sigh*

/end rant

j davis says:

Since most of the sites are located outside of the US they will probably ignore any ruling as they should. This is nothing but political posturing and hypocrisy since the Gov has ties to the casino industry. The old ‘we have to protect the children’ is bullshit of the first order. I can’t believe this guy is a democrat! Why does the government insist on violating the right to privacy of it’s citizens. This is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources.

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