Here at OSGA we have begun to see the effects of the ruling in Kentucky to ban certain domain names. This week we had several callers who were told by their companies that they no longer accept play from Kentucky. Oddly enough, one was a credit sportsbook that is not even on ‘the list’ of 141 domain names. I asked our own Advocate and the cynical bastard thinks that this book is using this as an excuse to throw out winners from Kentucky!! Beware of what your book may tell you – many books we spoke with are doing nothing in regards to this ruling. Or are they? These inquiries set the Insider off on a mission to get to the bottom of what this list means and….looking for companies that may actually comply with Judge Wingate’s decision..
I started by contacting dozens of gaming sites that are affected by the September ruling and found that many are simply going about business as usual. A majority of gaming operators have their domains registered in gaming friendly countries – certainly not with registrars in the US. Kentucky will still have to bring this judgment to France, Canada, the UK, and other countries, where many gaming domains names are registered, if they want to encompass all properties that are on their list. One operator stated, “Getting this ruling approved by another country is not going to be nearly as easy as it has been to do in their own back yard and will take years to do.” So for many operators, it is business as usual in Kentucky and around the globe.
However, others have gone 180 degrees the other way and already blocked Kentucky users. Golden Casino decided at the outset of all of this that they would simply seek out business elsewhere. In addition, should things go horribly wrong, they have also setup a mirror domain and have begun to use it for much of their internet advertising. One of the largest providers of gaming software, Microgaming, sent out an email to their clients this week stating that they will again be blocking access to their software from 13 states and the District of Columbia. The note mentioned that will be sending their funds back to blocked players as soon as possible. The states mentioned are Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington State, Wisconsin and Washington D.C. In fact, it appears that this is the exact same list that Microgaming sent out to clients after the passage of the UIGEA back in 2007. Microgaming then lightened up their restrictions when it saw the UIGEA as unenforceable and has allowed all us players since early 2008. Please note that even though Microgaming is ‘on the list’ of the Kentucky court, they have not updated their banned states list to include Kentucky. Emails to Microgaming have so far gone unanswered.
Still, the majority of the gaming companies that are the target of this ruling are checking with lawyers and using a ‘wait and see approach’. The most frequent answer we got to our inquiries was more corporate lawyer drivel. Ex: “We have known about the list for some time now and rest assured our lawyers are looking into it and reviewing the options.”
It comes to reason that most companies would be waiting as this case appears to be ongoing and may continue for some time. An industry group – IMEGA, has made an appeal, stating that Kentucky does not have jurisdiction over the domain names . . . not to mention that Kentucky allows Internet wagering (sign up today at twinspires.com). The group is initially asking for the timeline for compliance be moved back from the next date of December 3. I would guess that one goal is to get this case out of the current short-sighted court where it is stuck now. Perhaps a different judge in a higher court will see not only the hypocrisy of this decision, but the fact that it is not going to stop Kentuckians from gambling online. Simply put, gamblers are going to gamble and with over 1000 sites available that are not under legislative attack, there are plenty of places to play. One associate of mine has already moved his Bodoglife.com account to a place not on the list. I would tell what site, because maybe Gov. Brashear is reading this….. 142 domain names….
Please add your thoughts and experiences below. I will be updating this BLOG as more information becomes available.
– The Insider – exclusive to OSGA.com