The decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court was released on March 18. In case you forgot, tThe Franklin Circuit Court had upheld the state’s action of issuing a seizure order of the domain names of 141 online gaming operators. The domain name owners rwent to the Court of Appeals and received a decision in their favor, then the State of Kentucky went to the Supreme Court in appeal. The case was heard a few months ago.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled against the domain name owners. The Court has not gone on the merits of the arguments but has given its decision because it is of the opinion that iMEGA and IGC have no legal standing to represent the domain name owners in this case. The order written by Justice Mary Noble says, “Although all such arguments may have merit, none can even be considered unless presented by a party with standing. No such party has appeared at the original proceedings in Franklin Circuit Court, the writ petition at the Court of Appeals, or on the appeal here to this Court.” Basically the Court wants the original domain name owners to step forward and appear directly. The Court has indicated that it could be willing to look into the merits of the case if the domain name owners identify themselves.
Joe Brennan, the Chairman of iMEGA, admits that this is a setback, but only a temporary one. A statement issued by him says, “In the written decision, the Court clearly indicates they agree with our arguments, and are inviting us to refile, so that the technicality of the standing issue can be resolved.” He adds that all that the online gaming industry has to do is produce one of the domain name owners in court. Brennan points out that the celebration by the lawyers representing the state of Kentucky is premature. He is sure that the final order will be a favorable one for the industry. He said, “We obviously would have preferred a complete, clean victory today, but reading the decision, it seems this is a technicality that is only delaying the inevitable.’
iMEGA, IGC and the other affected parties have been given 20 days for filing a motion for reconsideration. The Supreme Court ruling stated that no additional briefs or oral arguments were now required. A petition could be made to the Court of Appeals within the stipulated time frame to move the case immediately back to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Brennan assured the online gambling industry that iMEGA would immediately start working with the other parties to resolve the Court’s objection, and would file a motion within the stipulated 20 days. The domain name owners have directly stayed away probably out of fear of subsequent criminal proceedings against them by the State. The question is will they step forward now.