Emergency summit called over poker domain seizures


Online poker has become a key issue in the ongoing battle for Internet freedom, thanks to Kentucky's recent attempt to seize online gambling domain names.

The Bluegrass Institute, which is an independent, nonpartisan association of writers and speakers who analyze state and local public policy in Kentucky, has teamed up with the Poker Players Alliance and several other state and national groups to host an emergency summit.

It will take place in Frankfort tomorrow, and attendees will discuss the implications of the Kentucky government's seizure of 141 Web-site domain names including Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker.

Topics up for exploration include:

  • Does Kentucky have the jurisdiction to seize these domain names?
  • What are the national and international ramifications should Kentucky succeed in this seizure order?
  • What threat does this action pose to the future of Internet freedom and technological innovation?
  • Do domain names fit the Kentucky statutory definition of a gambling device?

The word that Kentucky governor Steve Beshear had been granted the ability to take control of 141 online gambling sites' domain names hit last week, and since then there has been an uproar of media attention surrounding the story.

Beshear called the online gambling sites "leeches on our communities," with no real benefits for anyone in Kentucky.

The commonwealth of Kentucky was uniquely positioned to bring action against Internet gambling operators because it considers domain names to be forfeitable under its gambling laws.

Beshear's act has received stiff criticism from online poker advocates, net neutrality advocates and concerned citizens who are calling Beshear "a shill for the [live] gaming industry."

Both the Bluegrass Institute and the Poker Player's Alliance are opposed to the state's action and have called it "dangerous," saying the implications are potentially far-reaching.

The court hearing in Kentucky to determine whether the state actually has the authority to take control of the 141 online gambling domain names has already been postponed twice, and interested parties are awaiting the outcome of the case with bated breath.

Keep checking the PokerListings.com news section for more on the story as it breaks.

For more information about the Poker Players Alliance and the upcoming summit on the infringement of Internet freedom, go to its Web site at www.pokerplayersalliance.org.

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