Last fall the State of Kentucky convinced a trial court judge to order the seizure of 141 domain names belonging to Internet gambling sites (see posts here and here). The judge ruled that the domain names were gaming devices under state law. This week the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s seizure order, holding that “it stretches credulity to conclude that a series of numbers of Internet address, can be said to constitute ‘a machine or any mechanical or other device . . . designed and manufactured primarily for use in connection with gambling.” The Court of Appeals declined reading “domain names” into the relevant Kentucky statute. Citizen Law Media Project has a more detailed post about the Court of Appeals decision.
Kentucky’s attempt to seize the names is motivated by money, not morality; the state believes the gaming sites “drained money away from Kentucky’s legitimate gambling.” The state announced that it will appeal the Court of the Appeals decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court.