Are the contingency fee lawyers running out of options?
The two-year attempt by the state of Kentucky to seize 141 international online gambling domains appeared to enter a new phase last week as news broke of a fresh angle being taken by the state's hired lawyers.
Having by some accounts almost reached the end of the road with appeals to successively higher courts (the Kentucky Supreme Court is due to issue what could be a final ruling on the jurisdictional and gambling device questions raised by iMEGA and the IGC), it would seem that the state's legal team is trying another throw of the dice by lodging a claim against Pocket Kings for monies "lost between March 25, 2005 and September 25, 2009 by persons located within the borders of Kentucky.”
Pocket Kings, the filings made in the Franklin Circuit Court in the name of Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown explain, is the owner and operator of Full Tilt Poker.com, one of the domains in contention.
The 14-page filing invokes Kentucky statute 454.210 and calls for Pocket Kings to refund the state of Kentucky “the amount of money lost between March 25, 2005 and September 25, 2009 by persons located within the borders of Kentucky,” together with the no doubt substantial legal costs of the action.
Making sure it has all the bases covered, the Kentucky legal team also claims “unknown individuals and entities have acted in concert in joint ventures to facilitate, host, operate, and profit from online gambling businesses,” going on to name Absolute Poker, UltimateBet.com, Bugsy’s Club, Cake Poker, Crazy Poker, DoylesRoom, Golden Palace, Microgaming, MySportsbook, Pitbull Poker, PlayersOnly, PokerHost, PokerStars, PokerTime, Red Star Poker, Reefer Poker, Sportsbook.com, True Poker, and WSEX.
There are several identification errors in the list, along with the intriguing fact that several online poker operations that openly accept US players appear to have escaped the legal researchers' eyes.
The filing claims that Full Tilt Poker facilitated and solicited poker play from Kentucky residents, profiting thereby and had its software installed on computers within Kentucky.
“The Full Tilt Defendants have done, or have caused to be done, tortuous acts in the Commonwealth for which the Commonwealth has a substantial and compelling interest in exercising personal jurisdiction,” the complaint continues, using an oral claim made by the IGC before an earlier court of appeals hearing that 13 000 Kentucky residents play online poker.
In related news, a company spokesman for Full Tilt Poker said that weekend reports in the Financial Tmes regarding an alleged Manhattan Grand Jury investigation of the company were news to its management.
"We are not aware of any grand jury investigation of Tiltware or any related individual or entity, and the company's position is that it has done nothing wrong. We are not going to comment about a speculative grand jury investigation that we are not aware of and we have no idea what, if anything, they are investigating."