back to article Kentucky commandeers world's most popular gambling sites

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 …


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  1. Pierre
    Paris Hilton

    Oh my

    Wow. Wow wow wow.

    I guess it's time to file that lawsuit I prepared... the one that will transfer all the domain names in the world to me. For making available content that is clearly illegal in some parts of the planet. The Intarwubs are mine! MINE!!!111!!1!eleven.

    Do you need to be batshit crazy to become a merkin politician or lawyer, or does it appear as a consequence of the job?

  2. Seán


    Gambling's for fools but clearly not gambling is for lunatics.

  3. Luke Ratcliffe


    In your article, you attribute the quote "tantamount to a virtual home invasion" to Governor Beshear whereas the article you linked to attributes it to Secretary J. Michael Brown.

    In addition, whilst I find the legal action quite unpleasant, I do feel that if a state wants you to block its users from your domain and it is a reasonable request (such as this, where the content of your servers is illegal in that state), you should try to do so.

    I can appreciate the argument that it is comparable to the Chinese censorship however, these things should be contested through political action, not technological.

  4. Chris C


    Boy, I sure am glad that Verisign has been given irrevocable, perpetual control over .com. It's nice to have a company that'll stand up for the rights of the domain owner and not simply transfer the domain to whoever complains... Oh, oh wait, nevermind.

    And we wonder why the world wants to do away with ICANN? No more proof is needed to see that the Internet is a US-owned and US-controlled property, and we're all just renting space.

  5. Dan Goodin (Written by Reg staff)



    You're right, it was Secretary Brown who said that, not the governor. Thanks for pointing out. Error corrected.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Kentucky != Unitary World Authority (?)

    Unless I am misreading this (always a possibility!), you are saying a Kentucky judge has effectively ordered the seizure of Domains that do not reside within Kentucky just because Users within Kentucky can access the gambling sites on those Domains? So does this mean that nobody can access the sites at all, that this person and his chosen "thought police" can now restrict access to exclude Kentuckians, or just that the "real" owners can no longer profit from them?

    I take it to mean the first option, so doesn't that amount to theft of services? If somebody else has paid for the Domain name and he orders the ISP to reassign it to him or his "employees", it sure seems like it to me.

    And how does he feel about such ideas as the German government seizing any domains hosted in America since it might be possible for Geman citizens to see pictures of swastikas there? Or China seizing American domains that are critical of their regime?

    Or is this just another case of a dang fool lawyer "thinking" with his butt again?

    On another, slightly related, note, I am currently in the UK, using a computer purchased in the uK, on a UK telco but I get messages on YouTube telling me I cannot watch videos from UK users on as they are not allowed to be viewed in my current location. And it's not even pr0n - it's a UK recording artist's own Youtube channel, for fecks' sake!

  7. WeeDom

    @ Mr. Ratcliffe

    Good catch on the mis-quote.

    For the rest of your post, I call "bollocks".

    An individual state in America should not be able to reach out and take property, on the whim of a judge, outside of the state (ianal, so not 100% sure on that) and certainly not outside of the US. And as for the "you should try to block its users from your domain"... BOLLOCKS!! If an individual state wants to censor the internet access of it's citizens, then that is for the STATE to do - they can't pass that responsibility onto a company operating in a country far, far away and then steal their things if they don't comply!!!

    "These things should be contested through political action, not technological": BOLLOCKS!!! How do you suggest that works? The whois information shouldn't be under the control of any one country, and certainly should not be subject to the whims of any one legal system - who says which legal system is correct? Yes, there has to be some sort of dispute resolution system and I don't claim to have a solution for that problem - but I do know the answer is not "put America in charge of it all, then"!

  8. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    un-be-fucking-leivable arrogance.

    This is just SO WRONG.

    Yet another reason for the rest of the world to hate the US. Nice one Kentucky. That'll be the bourbon 'whiskey' (note to 'merkins; the proper, Scottish spelling is "whisky") permanently off the menu.


  9. Neil Stansbury


    Well the UK authorities have the power to seize assets if they believe they are the proceeds of crime or are to be used to perpetrate offenses, so you could argue a domain name providing "illegal services" is no different.

    But it strikes me that seizing an asset that has no base in that authority, is no different to the UK trying to seize coffee shops in Amsterdam, just because UK citizens can access their services.

    The responsibility for preventing UK citizens accessing "illegal services" in Amsterdam, isn't the responsibility of the coffee shop owners but UK Border Control, so why should an internet company be responsible for preventing their services being accessed across borders?

  10. JohnG

    Sauce for the goose...

    So this means that courts in EU countries can apply for control of domains in the US (and elsewhere) from which spammers tout fake Viagra and the like. Similarly, they should be able to grab the domains of those US companies who hold any personal data of EU citizens.

    Would this also mean that Saudi authorites could apply for the domains of US churchs illegally (under Saudi law) promoting Christianity to Saudi citizens?

  11. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    OK, thats it

    Stop the internet! Thats it, close it all down, its had a good run but its over.

    If some rednecks can just reach in and snatch hundreds of websites away from their rightful owners then we've obviously fucked up massively somewhere.

    See you all back on BBS's and Usenet.

  12. Adam T

    Agree with WeeDom

    Ludicrous that anyone would even consider allowing such an action.

    Perhaps we should shut down all the Channel and ferries and Eurotunnel to stop french people from visiting.

  13. Frank
    Thumb Up

    @WeeDom re. @Mr.Ratcliffe

    I wanted to say all of that but you beat me to it. You expressed it better that I would have done, so thank you.

  14. Anton Ivanov
    Paris Hilton

    We get whatever Christmas we deserve

    In the words of Greg Lake: "We get whatever Christmas we deserve"

    If they did not want to be subject to US jurisdiction they should have registered with a EU (or third world) registrar using a EU (or 3rd world) domain name.

  15. Tim Schomer

    Once again

    Another example of how the american system thinks it owns the world. I think the only reason this has happened is that the judge/senator/politician in question thought he'd make a quick buck and ended up losing heavily - hell, he probably complained and tried to get his money back which they would naturally refuse. I'd love to see his browsing history and prove this.

    It's the old proverb, he who complains loudest has something to hide.

    One question, can I seize the Kentucky state website because it can be accessed in my village, and it causes offence to me?

  16. Anonymous Coward


    ..shouldn't it be left to the state to do the censoring?? If Kentucky wish to stop its citizens from gambling away their money on online casinos (which atm is probably safer than investing it) then *they* should be the ones that take the time and expense to do so, not the webmasters. And if it falls incumbent on the ISP to do so, then blame the ISP *not* the webmaster.

    Next Pennsylvania will be taking control of all websites that view evolution in a positive light and removing them from the web!

    I hate America!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just use or other non US controlled domains.

    Sounds simple to me.

  18. jubtastic1

    This is the sort of thing

    That will lead to the fracturing of the DNS systems, swiftly followed by segregation on the Intertubes, which perhaps is the intended effect.

  19. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    .com madness

    The issue here is that the responsible agency for the .com top level domain, as well as the registrars for sub domains are in US legal juristiction. This allows a US judge to issue binding rulings.

    There ain't no way this could happen to a .uk or a .ru site.

    I move that we make the US adhere to the rules that the rest of the world work by, and give them a .us domain (does it exist already - must check), and make .com a worldwide domain, under the control of the UN or some such organisation.

    Oh, and by the way, make it so is actually limited to registered UK companies (.co == companies, gettit), and have a, or some other non-business oriented domain for non-corporate entities (are you listening, Nominet).

    Still, probably too late now, especially as all of the root DNS servers are under US control as well.

    Anybody fancy setting up a new independent set of breakaway domains for a new Internet? I'm sure that it could be done as long as you don't need them to be registered with ICANN. I guess that the main problem would be getting the IP addresses for your new root DNS servers. Ho hum. Maybe when IP6 becomes widespread.

    Oh, it's (ironicly) the US flight jacket style coat at the back on the right. Yes, the one with the torn pockets.

  20. David Webb


    <pedantic>Kentucky is a commonwealth, not a state</pedantic>

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    back to school for the US

    Repeat after me:

    America does not own the world and US law is not applicable to the rest of the world

    Keep doing so until it actually sinks into your thick heads

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Is this really going to stand?

    Aren't the other US states a bit miffed about this. I mean, I'm no expert on the US constitution but I don't recall *any* of the states being mentioned by name and certainly not Kentucky being given precedence over the rest. Isn't it just a matter of time before the decision goes to a higher court and gets shot down in flames.

    For gambling sites not based in the US, the moral is not to choose a domain name that is. And at the risk of repeating myself, it's one more reason why domain names will eventually come into alignment with legal jurisdiction, whether or not the likes of ICANN and the IETF see that as either necessary or desirable.

  23. Robin Fairless
    Dead Vulture

    This is scary!

    I think we can all agree that .com domain names whilst percieved as an american thing are actually a truly international thing.

    I can think of a handfull of British highstreet retailers that use .com instead of Tesco's, Debenhams, Marks and Sparks blah blah blah as well as the scores of international firms who use the .com domain as their global portal.

    The fact that a US judge can now order the seizure of domain names owned by non-american companies is truly unbelievable. ICANN is now truly in need of scrapping and replacing.

    I can't help thinking that this judge has inadvertently created the beginning of the end of the web as we know it. i think lots of people will now renew efforts to put the nail into ICANN

    This is actually worse than the great firewall of china - least they only block externally owned addresses, not seize them.

  24. Bronek Kozicki

    I guess that's another proof

    ... that the DNS system with its centralized hierarchy is failure, because of its exposure to external pressure.

  25. Ash
    Thumb Down

    VIrtual home invasion? No

    This is like someone in Kentucky phoning your business or sending you a letter to order a product you sell, but the Judge doesn't like your product and takes away your phone number and postal address. Even though neither are even within the same continent as his jurisdiction!

    So, who's up for some trade embargo's against the US until they stop trying to dominate the world? I pick China, Russia, and the Middle East to all stop exporting to America. Let's see America become World Police when it can't even get ships in to harbours to extract its' own troops from a war zone.

    Man, do I hate that place...

  26. Chris Morrison


    Will this get the WTO coming down hard on America again. The whole world could soon be able to copy anything American without fear of retribution (like Antigua can!)

    "I'm sorry RIAA you can't sue me because your copyright isn't valid in my country"

  27. The BigYin

    Hmm...who's fault?

    1) The gambling site's? Err, no. I don't think so. They cannot know every law of every minor backwater on the planet.

    2) The ISPs? Most likely, they should know the location of the user fairly accurately.

    3) The users? Possible, they know they are accessing a service illegal in their locale (or they should know)

    4) The State? Most likely. In conjunction with point 2, they should have been paying the ISPs to block/support whatever services they deem are required in their irrelevant little spit of land.

    Just some thoughts.

  28. Efros
    Paris Hilton

    US States

    Are merely protecting their own lottery market from poaching by online gambling sites. Apparently it is perfectly ok to gamble in the US as long as you hand over the forkloads of cash to your state gummint.

    Paris cos she knows when she's being shafted.


  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness this has been brought to light!

    You won't believe this, but it has come to my attention that Delta, Continental, United, American, US Airways, and Northwest Airlines are all running direct routes from Louisville Kentucky to Las Vegas Nevada, and further, that many people GAMBLE there! This is tantamount to a virtual airport invasion, which should certainly justify anti-terrorism squads seizing control of the offices of these dangerous companies.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And even more reason to lock America away until it decides that it is ready to leave the dark ages.

    I wonder why the world hates them so much ...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plan !

    Transfer the website title to the good judge but keep operating it. He can go prosecute himself, keeping all this lark safely locked away in the land of the fried chicken and not bother us folks with it.

    Peter R.

  32. Ron Eve

    What ever happened to...

    ..."Cease and Desist" or "take down"? At least at first...

    Surely the unilateral seizure with (apparently) no forewarning must be illegal? Alright, so the good burghers of Kentucky must be shielded from the perils of gambling as they're clearly unable to exercise their own discretion (at least according to the State Dept). But to seize domains OUTSIDE of the US?

    Yup, the interweb must belong to the US.

    Good night America, make sure you turn the light out when you leave....

    / as it would appear the USA has been subjugated by aliens (Xenu?)

  33. stranger on the road
    Black Helicopters

    really bad news

    a state judge can't and shouldn't have the authority to do this. Even if the websites were illegal in his/her state, it doesn't change the fact that it is legal *outside* the said state.

    If something is illegal in the USA but legal outside it, the USA should censor it's own people. Forcing its laws on other people should be an illegal act in itself. If China have done the same the the USA would have cried foul, but on the other hand the USA can do it! what gives?

    I wander how long it is going to be before someone sue the USA in the WTO.... again!

  34. RichardB


    So they have seixzed the names. The names will be returned to anyone who has a claim who attends a hearing to claim them according to the pdf.

    Of course, if they have been supplying gambling facilities to Kentuckians they must be in breach of the unlawful internet gaming act, and therefore will probably be picked up by the cops on arrival. Incidentally making sure no one ever gets to the hearing...


  35. scott

    Goodo, I'll be applying for the takedown of all Rep. websites!

    If a US Judge can steal the property of foreign companies - I want to steal the property of the US Republican party. I *demand* all Rep. party websites are handed over to me *now* !!!!

    It's mostly their members who have caused the Credit Crunch - and in doing so me losing my job in a bank a couple of months ago. I've suffered real and significant losses. I am morally *outraged*. Can I have those websites *already*??!!

    Their party members were the architects and cheer-leaders of the Iraq war - now that *is* about invading someone's home.

    On second thoughts, maybe the Iraqis should get control of the Rep websites....

    ...although I guess the Saudis and Chinese might object, since they already materially own most of America.

    *BTW, what is the latest on the EU complaint to the WTO about all this??

  36. Ed

    Please follow up...

    I totally agree with the outrage over this article and would like to suggest that this is followed up by The Reg as it has far, far reaching implications.

    No domain or company property online is safe under this ruling and it seriously places doubt upon any U.S. control over the internet.

    ....just a thought here but, its well worth checking sources and accuracy of this as still can't quite believe it !

  37. EvilGav


    A previous US court dropped a case where a US citizen wanted the LHC to be stopped from starting, it was dropped as out-with their jurisdiction.

    A US judge should not be able to transfer the ownership of property that resides, essentially, outwith the bounds of the US - which is what has been done here.

    What China does is very different, they block sites from being viewed within their borders, which is their right as a soverign nation, whether you agree with it or not (hell, we do the same in the UK, but it's mostly kiddie fiddler sites, so everyones ok with that censorship). If Kentucky don't want the ganmbling sites available, they should be prosecuting ISP's as the enabler.

    Fucking septics.

  38. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Looks like..

    ... a mass migration away from .com for a lot of sites, to get out of US jurisdiction.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Typical wrong thinking.

    They go after websites regardless of where they are with legal threats because of their own state's laws, depite the fact that they [the websites] have done nothing wrong or illegal where they are.

    It would be easyer and legal to make ISP's who operate and make money in those states comply with local law and block them. Otherwise your just wasting time and money and embrassing yourself in cases like those posted on TPB - (where U.S Blood-Suckers cant seem to understand that Sweden has its own laws.)

    And it just makes you look like a bully-boy if you push to hard against legal websites.

    *\. Handing mine over, as coats are banned in some far flung land!

  40. Ivana Chagalot

    Seize Kentucky assets to the same value

    WTO already ruled USA's anti gambling ban illegal, (because they permit domestic gambling).

    Cayman islands is apparently a dumping ground for a lot of USA bank assets that the banks didn't want disclosed to the US regulators. So any Cayman islands company should be able to grab those assets as compensation for what they've lost.

    I bet Kentucky has a lot of state pensions invested abroad, investments, funds etc. that could be seized as compensation.

  41. Steve Sherlock
    Black Helicopters

    Chinese Comparison?

    It's a bit harsh comparing it to China now isn't it? I mean, China only refuse access to their own people. The rednecks prefer to take it away from the world...

  42. Steve

    If the judge now owns the domain name...

    ...isn't he now liable for the content?

    And he can hardly deny knowledge of what's on there.

  43. Neil Greatorex

    Note to dervheid

    The correct spelling is Arseholes

  44. Nick Palmer

    If this is adopted as a precedent...

    ...then quite simply the Internet will stop working as a business medium. Nothing could be bought or sold or published or viewed without determining whether it offends the delicate sensibilities of fuckwits like Beshear and Brown, or their pet hanging judges like this oaf Wingate, and such a determination would be at their whim. Moreover, the same process (having to second-guess the likelihood of retarded bollock-jugglers like that having an attack of the vapours) would have to be repeated for every state in the US, and probably for other countries as well. If business cannot operate with reasonable certainty, then business cannot operate.

    I'm in full accord with AC "Kentucky != Unitary World Authority (?) " and WeeDom above; yes it is theft, and yes if Kentucky wants its citizens to not see certain material, THEY should bloody well stump up for the means to filter it.

  45. Nick Askew
    Black Helicopters

    We are doing this for your own good.

    "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. "

    Well, to me, the difference is huge. While China might not approve of my reading about the way they deal with Tibet they are not actually closing the sites or preventing me from reading the content because I am outside their territory. On the other hand this arrogant attitude is typical of America thinking they have the right to police the (virtual) world with heavy handed tactics. Just because certain states in the US feel their own people are not capable of responsibly handling their own money we must all suffer.

    People (including the reg) seem happy to berate China because of their firewall and yet somehow time after time it seems they have it right. OK having a great firewall of the USA or Europe might not be popular if the governments involved choose to ban content (such as gambling) that most of the world would view as harmless. But if this case proves anything it is that not having a firewall round the USA is no garuntee of freedom of speech.

  46. Richard Kay
    Thumb Down

    Let's get the facts straight

    Followup is needed on this story. Did the judge warrant transfer through 1. the owner (ICANN) or 2. the controller (Verisign) of the top level domain or 3. through one of the various competing retail registrars (could be any of various e.g. Tucows), or as appears from the linked court order, or 4. use the legal shotgun approach at all such entities ? If as appears it was the latter, how did each registrar or specific entity receiving it respond to the order ? For domains with retail registrars with offices within Kentucky likely to accept jurisdiction of Kentucky law then the offshore gambling companies should have used a retail registrar based outside the US and only have themselves to blame. If ICANN or Verisign acted over the heads of the retail registrars e.g. based outside the US, rather than contested jurisdiction, then owners of all domains potentially affected by this need to know.

    OK as a lead article to a longer running story but more background work is needed before we know what it means.

  47. Mike Smith


    I think the RIAA and MPAA have missed a trick here. Why haven't they done the same with websites that breach copyright law in every US state? eak, it's a dot com! Runawwaayyyy!!

    There are SO MANY websites that contrevene some law or other in the US that have .com domains it's untrue. But those websites don't make enough money worth extorting, which is what is going to happen to these websites. "Ohh, ok. Have your domain back, but give us 5% of earnings" and if they refuse, they won't get their domain back. And they will do it, too, because 5% less profit is better than no profit at all :)

    I think we need to wrestle .com control from the 'merkins until they prove they're mature enough to play fair.

  48. paulc

    Migrate to

    and then block the yanks off... oh, that would screw up their business model as the vast majority of their customers are yanks who shouldn't be gambling online in the first place as it's illegal in their country...

  49. unsung rob

    Unilateral Intervention

    So any nation or state wanting to curtail their citizens internet activities has to block the info at its borders (china, pakistan). Except the good old USA who are allowed to thieve any domains they don't like. Sound about like the rest of world affairs?

  50. Anonymous Coward

    What happened to freedom?

    People should be free to break the law if they wantr to - and then face the consequences after they are caught.

    My taking away the freedom to break the law, you are creating a situation where law-abiding citizens who would never have broken the law if they had a free choice then desire to break the law in order to assert their freedoms and civil liberties.

    Also, if it's so illegal to gamble - why not arrest and convict every illegal gambler in Kentucky? That would end illegal gambling pretty quickly. Or is it just about the tax dollar they're missing out on?

  51. Joe K

    If there was any doubt and have gone offline. Noticed a couple of UK sounding URLS on the Kentucky Theft List too.

    Apparently there is a hearing later tonight about all this before the big seizure begins, a huge squadron of lawyers have been parachuted in to try and stop this:

    *raises middle finger to America*

  52. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: .com madness

    Since you ask...

    "I move that we make the US adhere to the rules that the rest of the world work by, and give them a .us domain (does it exist already - must check), and make .com a worldwide domain, under the control of the UN or some such organisation."

    .us most certainly does exist. No-one in the US uses it because it has strict rules on who is allowed to register names and what those names should be, but that's not *our* problem.

    Putting .com under the control of the UN would require a whole load of new rules and legal infrastructure to enforce them. Better to scrap the suffix altogether.

    "Oh, and by the way, make it so is actually limited to registered UK companies (.co == companies, gettit), and have a, or some other non-business oriented domain for non-corporate entities (are you listening, Nominet)."

    Yes they are. There is for such things.

  53. Mark

    Isn't this domain squatting?

    So just sue the individual who has taken the domains and does not have a legitimate use for the site name. Do it in another state (Say, Virginia) and if the bloke doesn't turn up, you win by default.

    Then have him deported to the state to stand trial for theft, fraud and avoidance of fines.

    Better yet, do it in another country. If the US ever ratify their side of the treaty, do it in the UK and get this simian dimwit extradited to the UK to face criminal penalties.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Looks like the intertubes have a rather serious single point of failure doesn't it?

    There was DARPA, designing a network to withstand a nuclear holocaust and all the while a loony judge could have pulled the plug with a single stroke of his pen.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Anyone care to guess... much spam is suddenly going to start getting?

    I'm waiting for the follow-up where this ruling gets shot down in flames. At least, I really hope it does. (But then I thought the same about Lewis Hamilton's penalty for daring to overtake after being pushed off a racing circuit; it's hard to be a cynic when reality is worse.)

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. A J Stiles


    What law is anyone actually supposed to have been breaking here, anyway?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I always thought that that suffix was for commercial businesses supplying goods and services to many countries rather than the more 'local' businesses who use more local suffixes?

  59. James
    Paris Hilton

    a smear upon t'internet

    Paris knows.

  60. Michael Miller
    Thumb Up

    I for one

    Welcome our new internet overlords!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And you got what you wanted........

    Well to all those idiots who voted beshear and his cronies into office, now you have what you wanted. An overbearing, idiotic governor, who is trying to stretch his authority to not only outside the Commonwealth (look it up, there's a more than one in the US), but outside the nation borders as well.

    I see this being appealed very quickly to higher level, and hopefully more sane, federal authority that can put the brakes on this type of state government overreach of authority.

    I live in Kentucky and can only say that I did NOT vote for this idiot, nor his staff, even though there wasn't a decent alternative. But when the state votes almost consistantly democratic, this is what you get, lots of government control, with absolutely no relation to what the citizens want. (remember that politics are reversed in kentucky where the democrats are the imbedded force and hate to change the status quo).

    I demand that all political parties immediately give me their domains as I HATE what they've done to this country.

  62. Timo

    Kentucky - of all places?

    You have to be kidding about them and gambling: In Kentucky you can sit in your living room watching horse racing on TV, and then if you get the urge you can bet on the horses by picking up your land-line phone!

    Smells like double standards. Gambling on horses on TV is "tradition" but gambling on the internet is Satan's recreation. Hmm this may just be that Kentucky wants to reduce the competition for Louisville Downs.

  63. Steven Hunter

    Clearly a Federal Matter

    Surely this being an interstate (and likely international) commerce issue* only the Federal Government could issue such a ruling. Seems like grounds to have it overturned right there.

    *US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. "[Congress shall have the power] To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes; "

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clever, RichardB?

    "...names will be returned to anyone who has a claim who attends a hearing ...supplying gambling facilities to Kentuckians they must be in breach of the unlawful internet gaming act, and therefore will probably be picked up by the cops on arrival. Incidentally making sure no one ever gets to the hearing...


    Not terribly. They can instruct lawyers to operate on their behalf. It's not a criminal hearing, so there's no need for the "accused" to be present. Heck, they could be "present" by letter.

  65. Peyton

    Interesting to see where all anger is getting directed

    Guys, I hate to break it to you, but loopy judges make idiotic rulings all over the world all the time. Luckily, even decisions that could effect us beyond the judge's "borders" don't because they are not implemented outside their turf. The problem here is, the registrars did, apparently, nothing to stand up to the decision and protect their users (and the net in general). I'm not a legal expert, but I'm pretty sure steps could have been taken with a higher court (for the 'I hate America/Kentucky' crowd - this decision was made by a county judge - a county is a tiny piece of a State - in turn a small piece of the US) to at least obtain a temporary reprieve from having to execute this.

    If it makes anyone feel better (tho I'm sure it won't - reg readers love getting all riled up) from gambling911: "Governor Beshear's office has been bombarded by angry citizens both locally and throughout the nation, questioning why this was done via sealed case file." - so you're not alone in your outrage.

  66. Mark


    Aye, and when loopy judges from Italy do this sort of stuff, they get reamed here on El Reg. If they are British: reamed. Swedish: reamed.

    You aren't breaking shit to us. We know.

    It's only the oversensitive who see only the attacks against "their" people and miss the similar attacks on just about everyone else too.

  67. WeeDom

    whois info

    Just checked through belongs to :

    Domain Discreet


    Avenida do Infante 50

    Funchal, Madeira 9004-521

    PT belongs to:

    Commonwealth of Kentucky Justice Cabinet

    Eric Lycan *******************


    Fax: -

    125 Holmes Street

    Frankfort, KY 40601



    Now, I'm under no illusions as to the "nice"ness of - weren't they the ones giving out win-every-time-passes to their friends? - but this sets such a huge precedent that, well, something must be done! I shall write a strongly-worded letter to my district council. Anyone else?

    Seriously - this really needs followed up, El Reg!

  68. Anonymous Coward


    Does that mean that The state now owns such important historical artifacts as "Virgin Mary in toasted cheese" and "William Shatner's gallstone" ?

  69. Solomon Grundy


    It's a consequence of the job. A family friend went off to be a Representative. He came back absolutely fucking bonkers and never really recovered.

    I'm in DC on an almost daily basis and I can also confirm that working in any federal position is guaranteed to fuck you up in the head. It even happens to technology contractors; maybe that's what's wrong with me.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is ridiculous

    Arrest some guy who runs these sites when he lands in Kentucky or something. I mean, if this guy is offering activity that is illegal in Kentucky there's no reason he should be welcome there.

    But transferring the URLs based on a secret court ruling just shuts down the entire worldwide business and thats a bit extreme.

  71. Mel
    Black Helicopters


    Oh how I love justice that reaches beyond it's jurisdiction via sealed decisions.


  72. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    ... unbridled unconstitutionalism.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Obviously the real reason for this is

    Kentucky isn't getting a piece of the action... I say we make it REAL easy for them to keep the people in their state off of gambling sites (legal or not) - let's just turn off internet access to Kentucky! That'll learn 'em!

  74. kain preacher

    As Yank

    I cant see were the Judge thinks hi has the power to do such a thing.

  75. Chris iverson

    What I want for Christmas....

    Please ohhhh please let the government that I pay taxes to get some sense and reverse this stupid judgment. I am merkin but I do not like this at all, please Santa give my government some sense.

  76. Peyton


    You miss the point entirely by being overly sensitive for alleged oversensitivity. I don't care about the name calling, etc., - my point is that it's the registrar that should be the focus of attention. Focusing on the idiot judge/governor is not as effective (as you confirm - their bad decisions happen all the time)

  77. Wayland Sothcott

    New World Order AGAIN!

    In the New World Order (NWO) there are no real borders to the law. Americans can extridite on a whim. Now they can shut down other countries websites.

    This is not about Americans ve the rest of the world. It's about the new axis of evil with the USA, UK and other colaborators in The War Against Terror (TWAT) creating the New World Order. Notice how all the laws seem to be aligning; smoking ban, ID cards, licences required to protest, Automatic Numberp Plate Recognition databases.

    We now witnessing the worlds biggest bank job and both sides of the atlantic are doing very similar things.

  78. James


    I say put the servers in Sweden. They seem pretty laid back there.

    Can we not clone the servers? Take back the net? Hijack the Internet!

  79. Claire Rand

    servers located where?

    on the assumption the servers are located outside the US, since they would one assumes have been shut down if they were.

    I take it the numeric IP will still work just fine (i.e. cut out the DNS lookup)?

    if this is indeed the case, what exactly happens if a few people start using the numeric IP? could this become possible?

    given you tend to visit once then bookmark it won't be that hard, it also avoids misleading names, since they are all misleading to an equal degree... ahhh yeah ok that needs work.

    and what about people with local DNS servers who just decide to roll back certain sites?

    surely this will only effect the US based DNS servers, and if DNS servers outside the US start to maintain a list of .com addresses that don't reflect changes??

    could cause some confusion but would avoid this mess.

    but there could well be a benefit to sites publishing their IP address on the home page with a 'bookmark me' link?

    mines the coat with the judge wearing it

  80. theotherone

    serves you right

    serves you right for letting the yanks control the interweb ....... anything the yanks get their hands on is quickly ruined due to greedy lawyers/corporations/politicians .....

  81. Anonymous Coward

    chickens to internet

    Is KY running short of budget again?

    Isn't this pattern similar to the story of one fried chickn business being sucked up? Or am I misinformed?

    Seems that its time now to squeeze some rich internet businesses...

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Complain and complain hard, but…

    Complain and complain hard, but…

    This makes me think of a tactic that’s used but rarely spotted. If a company/state/government/etc want to do something that they feel will bring widespread anger but they want to do it, they propose or do something that’s guaranteed cause anger. It does not even have to do with what they want.

    It sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? Not really, if you consider the initial anger against the proposed or done act, a lot of people get angry and say they want to stop it. The company/state/government/etc complies and stops or abandons any plans in doing the act. Wait a while and they try something a bit less likely to anger people. Sure, they get complaints, but less than the original.

    Rinse and repeat and before you know it, the thing they wanted to do in the first place passes everyone by because they now think that the company/state/government/etc is acting nice. Bury the thing you wanted to do in enough documentation and nobody knows until it is too late.

    Perhaps, this is some attempt by the state of Kentucky to introduce some other internet related law? The US constitution could be causing problems for them and a diversion from what they want could be just what they need.

  83. Anonymous Coward

    They don't muck around in KY....

    See a problem, deal with it then maybe talk about it afterwards.

    Perhaps the judge moolights as a surgeon?

  84. Erik Aamot


    local judges make stupid and clearly unconstitutional rulings on a regular basis, here and elsewhere .. that why we have appeals with higher courts ...

    I'm sure this will be reversed quickly, and it wouldn't surpise me if this idiot judge is removed from the bench .. the system here is rather unforgiving to judges that exceed thier authority, or don't go by precident .. Judges as a whole here, are quite concerned with the (apparent) integrity of the system and the degree of respect the Courts hold

    please guys, those with a clue in the US are alot more concerned about this than EU citizens, who have allowed thier freedoms to be eroded to a much greater degree than here

    for instance, we allow our NeoNazi's freedom of speech, IMHO, better to let dangerous people to express themselves and be known, then to drive them into secrecy

    the only real threat to the NewWorldOrder being established are the US Citizens continuing thier fight against it, including fighting our own government and bought out politicians

    UK will hopefully rise up too, as the Swedes are doing to a good degree, but middle Europe is pretty much lost, and the EU ( outside of economic co-operation for mutual benefit, where that exists) is just a model to bring the world under one government, which I assure you, will be much more corrupt and self serving that you can even imagine the USA being on it's own

  85. John P

    This is very very bad!

    Yet again the Yanks exercise their control over the Internet. If the US can seize the domains of non US sites, hosted outside of the US, then what's to stop a state outlawing anything they like and then seizing the domains of any related website they like?

    This is yet another good reason to get control of the internet away from the US. If they're unable to accept that just because something is illegal in that state, that it still deserves to be available to states and countries where it is not illegal, then we are in serious trouble.

    I for one DO NOT welcome our redneck domain-seizing overlords!

  86. Graham Lockley

    I'm missing the point

    Errr, all those 'casino' sites are up and running, at least here in the UK. Did something happen that I wasnt aware of ?

  87. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    The attorney doesn't have any more...

    Well, Kentucky did not get the goldencasino domain for long....

    beta ~ # whois

    Whois Server Version 2.0




    Rosehip Ltd.

    Steven Melkman (

    Caribbean Suite

    The Valley


    null,TV1 11P


    Tel. +599.94611401

    Creation Date: 27-Oct-1997

    Expiration Date: 19-Nov-2010



  88. Deven Phillips

    KY is NOT the birthplace of Colonel Sanders....

    He was born in Henryville, IN...

  89. Henry

    Get rid of .com, .net, .edu, .gov, etc.

    This illustrates a problem that I've talked about for years where generic class a domain names are not connected to a particular country. I believe that all class a domains should be country codes. Then those countries can have whatever class b domains that they want such as for the United Kingdom and for the United States. Each country has jurisdiction for its own class b domains.

    This is the way it should have been set up when the Internet was made public 13 years ago, roughly. These generic class a domains are idiotic. It is clear to me that each country should have the right to manage their own class b domains using whatever local customs and laws apply in that country.

  90. ZM


    Oh, FFS...

    Anyone willing to put up with an American who's had just about enough of this freakin' country? I'm starting to look for a place to emigrate to. All's I require is uncapped broadband for a reasonable rate, a reasonably sized apartment for two and a job which allows me to live comfortably.


  91. BioTube

    .com - controlled by America

    It's the sites' fault, really, for using a domain name on an American registrar(like has been said). Don't like American law? Use somebody else's registrar for God's sake! All this only seems outrageous because nobody thought that where domain names were registered mattered. Seems it does, now.

  92. Paul C. Dickie

    American judges

    First there was Administrative Judge Roy L. Pearson Jr., who infamously sued a dry cleaning firm for $67,000,000 over a missing pair of pants; he lost his case and subsequently his job, but he intends to appeal against the verdict.

    Then there is this Kentuckian who seems to think that the world will kow-tow to his demands. It won't and the damage he has caused to the net will be short-lived as the owners of the gambling sites will just get other domains that cannot be grabbed by any American court.

    Neither judge has enhanced the reputation of the American legal system.

    Neither judge, in my considered opinion, should be trusted with any decision weightier than judging vegetable marrows or other produce at a county fair.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hang on....

    I know I might be missing something but didn't G. W. push through some legislation making it illegal for non US registered online gambling websites from operating in the US? Of course I don't agree with this action but if I'm correct then all non US registered online casinos must exclude US citizens from registering etc and if you are operating then you're doing it at your own risk.....

    Paris - cos people buy her p0rn......

  94. Steve Woods

    A little history lesson

    Kentucky judge sanctions theft of property - I'm amazed anyone is surprised. The US of A is not a democracy but a kleptocracy: after all, all of its territory was stolen from the original owners.

  95. WeeDom

    @AC: The whole flipping point..

    Is that the US shouldn't be allowed to dictate how someone in a foreign country operates their business. If the US government doesn't want non-US gambling sites being accessed from their country, then it is up to the US to bear the costs of preventing that access. They can't put the onus on non-US citizens to enforce US laws!

    US law != Global law.

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