Legal Update: A Massachusetts Bill, iMEGA and the Kentucky Supreme Court, and More
It has been a roller-coaster week in Massachusetts where the Poker Players Alliance believes it has successfully lobbied for the removal from a casino bill of language that would have made playing Internet poker in the state a crime.
There was some tomfoolery on April 1 when the anti-poker language that had been included in previous incarnations of the bill suddenly appeared again after the PPA had received assurances it would not.
The PPA quickly mobilized its membership in the state to contact their representatives, and the assault of phone calls and e-mails appears to have worked. The PPA has been told the anti-poker legislation will be stricken in a technical corrections package as soon as Friday.
Removal of the language would avert a major disaster for the poker-playing public in Massachusetts, as the bill that would allow for resort-style casinos to be built at existing racetracks in the state is expected to pass in the coming weeks.
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In Kentucky, the commonwealth is attempting to fight the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association's assertion of standing in the case of the 141 seized Internet gambling-related domain names and prevent the issue from going back to the state supreme court to be decided on its merits.
The commonwealth responded to iMEGA's motion to transfer the case back to the supreme court by asking for the Kentucky Court of Appeals to remand the matter to the Franklin Circuit Court from which it originated for factual findings on the issue of standing.
The Kentucky Supreme Court had directed iMEGA to return to the appellate court and show that at least one of the owners of the 141 domain names was a member of the association. iMEGA filed an affidavit from an employee of Yatahay Limited stating the company owned truepoker.com and was a member of iMEGA.
The commonwealth wants to cross-examine iMEGA's evidence of standing. The motion notes that text taken from truepoker.com names as owners TPCR Development, SRL, and TrueCashier Limited, but has no mention of Yatahay.
Even if Yatahay, which is shown as the owner of the domain in a "whois" search is proven to be the owner, the commonwealth refuses to acknowledge iMEGA's standing. In the motion, the commonwealth went so far as to write: "allowing any gaming association standing would be like permitting a 'Narcotics Trafficking Association' or 'Child Pornography Association' to appear to contest the seizure of illegal drugs or child pornography."
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iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr. e-mailed that Kentucky filed a new lawsuit targeting Full Tilt Poker parent company Pocket Kings Ltd. The commonwealth had previously been trying without success to attach Pocket Kings and undeclared names of Full Tilt owners to its seizure suit.
This is more bad news for Full Tilt, which is under investigation by a Manhattan grand jury, according to London-based publication Financial Times. The article names Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson as being among the individuals targeted by the probe. Few details of these emerging lawsuits are available at the moment. PokerNews will have a more in-depth look into these cases in the future.
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