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AP, UB block Kentucky customers
The owner of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet announced this week that the online poker sites will be restricting access to Kentucky residents in order to comply with the Franklin County Circuit Court's recent order.
In October, Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that online poker sites had to install some form of blocking software to prohibit access by Kentucky residents, or they could risk forfeiting their domain names.
The case was initially brought to the courts by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on behalf of the state, asking the courts to allow the state to take control of more than 140 online gambling site domain names.
Governor Beshear claimed that Kentucky and its residents lose tens of millions of dollars each year to online gambling. By seizing the domain names of some of the top sites that still serve U.S. customers, the state hopes to block those sites from providing online gambling to its residents.
According to Kentucky law, the government has the right to seize mechanisms used for illegal online gambling in the state. In this case, the mechanism in question is the domain names of the online poker and online gambling sites named.
Judge Wingate ruled in October that the court does in fact have jurisdiction over the online gambling site domain names in question that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was seeking to seize. He also ruled that poker would be considered illegal gambling according to Kentucky law because who wins is based on the cards dealt, which is considered a luck factor.
As such, the sites' domain names could be subject to forfeiture if the online gambling sites didn't block Kentucky residents from using their sites.
Tokwiro, the company that owns UltimateBet and Absolute Poker, has agreed to implement an IP block across both its poker sites, including the .net and .com versions of each, as well as the ultimatebet.tv site.
"The block will prevent players with IP addresses originating inside the Commonwealth of Kentucky from playing using AP and UB software, logging in or registering a new account, making deposits to the cashier and transferring or receiving funds from other players," said Tokwiro in a press release.
The IP block will allow current players with IP addresses originating in Kentucky to make withdrawals of existing account funds, but these players will not be able to make any new deposits or transfers.
"We have taken this action in order to ensure that the vast number of our customers, who do not reside in Kentucky, continue to have access to our sites and to enjoy playing online poker without disruption or inconvenience," said Paul Leggett, Tokwiro chief operating officer.
This inconvenience for Kentucky online poker players may only be a temporary one. The case is still in the court system awaiting an appeal.
In November the Kentucky appeals court granted a stay of the forfeiture order affecting the domain names of the gambling sites in the case. The stay delayed a forfeiture hearing originally scheduled for today in order to give the appeals court time to consider issues raised by iMEGA's petition seeking to overturn the original court decision.
The hearing on iMEGA's petition is scheduled for Dec. 12 in front of the same three-judge appellate panel that granted the stay.
- Appeals court grants stay in Kentucky case
- Looking deeper into iMEGA's Kentucky appeal
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