Last fall, Franklin County, Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Tom Wingate upheld the seizure of 141 domain names of online gaming sites by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Judge Wingate found that the domain names were gaming devices within the meaning of Kentucky's gambling statutes and, as such, were subject to seizure. Since the sites were accessible to Kentucky residents, the owners of the sites were doing business in Kentucky and subject to state jurisdiction.
In a 2-1 ruling issued today, the Kentucky Court of Appeals restored some degree of sanity to the state's legal system by prohibiting the seizure of the domain names. Judge Michelle Keller, writing for the majority, found that the domain names were not "gambling devices" within the meaning of the gaming statutes ( no kidding). She noted that the Kentucky General Assembly could have included domain names within the definition of gambling devices had it intended to do so, but it chose not to, and therefore, the Commonwealth could not proceed with the seizure action.