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Kentucky and the UIGEA
News Date: November 17, 2008

The online gambling fraternity has won minor victories in the Kentucky domain name seizure case and in the revised UIGEA regulations matter.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has granted a motion to stay the ruling of the lower court and has allowed the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) to represent its clients and challenge the arguments put forward by the state of Kentucky. Earlier the lower court had denied permission to iMEGA to represent the domain name owners. Therefore the forfeiture hearing scheduled for December 3, 2008 now stands annulled and instead a hearing will be held on December 12 in which iMEGA will be place their case.

iMEGA Chairman, Joe Brennan Jr., is now confident of  getting a decision in his favor. Brennan has compared the initiative of the domain name seizure by the Kentucky Governor to China not allowing free media to reach its citizens. He said that if the state of Kentucky were allowed to have its way then it would set a precedent for any government to apply blackmail techniques for financial gain. Because the latent intent in seizing the domain names was to eliminate competition to horse racing and land based casinos.

It seemed that by using the "midnight drop" technique to get the revised regulations of the controversial UIGEA passed, the Bush administration had put a permanent stamp on the UIGEA. But now an article on the Politico webzine refers to an act passed in 1996 under the then president, Bill Clinton. This act is known as the Congressional Review Act of 1996. The Congressional Review Act allows the incoming government to reverse the decisions taken by the earlier administration. And apparently the UIGEA is only one of the issues on the plate. The other major issue is the questionable issues made by the Bush administration on the environment front. With a majority in the Senate and the House it would be easy for the Democratic Party to invoke the Congressional Review Act. In fact, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has already gone on record stating that it would use it to overturn quite a few acts passed in the last six months.

There is no confirmation as of now if the Congressional Review Act would be used in the case of the UIGEA, but speculation is rife. The suggestion is that lust as the UIGEA was tagged on to the Safe Port Act while being passed; it could be tagged to other pressing acts while being overturned. Whether this will actually happen only time will tell.

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