Feeds

Kentucky commandeers world's most popular gambling sites

Weep no more, my puritan ladies

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The state of Kentucky has seized control of some of the world's most popular gambling domain names courtesy of a state judge who issued a secret ruling last week ordering registrars to transfer 141 internet addresses to the state's top law enforcement official.

The order (PDF) by Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate applies to sites including absolutepoker.com, goldenpalace.com, and ultimatebet.com. The websites, many of which are operated outside US borders, stand accused of illegally making their services available to Kentucky citizens. Already, whois records list goldencasino.com as the rightful property of J. Michael Brown, the Justice and Public Safety secretary who filed the lawsuit. At time of writing, goldencasino.com and the handful of other affected websites we checked appeared to be offering unfettered online gambling services.

The episode is the latest reminder of the hazards that can visit firms that do business on the internet, a borderless marketplace where controversial content or services are subject to the most restrictive or repressive territory's rules and mores. In years past, states such as Missouri have also succeeded in shutting down online casinos even though they had no clear nexus to the state. And in 2003, the US Department of Justice wrestled away the rights to ISOnews.com after it posted information on pirated software and hardware.

We're not sure what the difference is between a state like Kentucky reaching half way across the globe to shut down a gambling site and, say, a government like China's trying to silence websites that violate laws forbidding dissent policies toward Tibet. Think the comparison is extreme? Then consider this: In patting himself on the back for taking action against the websites, Brown waxed hyperbolic on the perils of online gambling, saying here it is "tantamount to a virtual home invasion."

We're not the only ones made uncomfortable by the action.

"I'm nervous about the fact we have these very loose norms of when activity taken outside of a state is causing harm in a state," said Eric Goldman, a professor of law and Santa Clara University. "We're way too inclusive in punishing people for out-of-state behavior."

According to this article from Gambling911, the state's motion to seize control of the domain names was filed under seal and a separate hearing originally scheduled for Thursday was to take place behind closed doors. The hearing, which concerns the forfeiture of the domain names, has been rescheduled for Friday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Beshear's office couldn't say whether the action was filed under seal or whether the hearing would be open to the public. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?