Kentucky Gov Rolls Dice in Gambling Lawsuit

Governor's office says it has jurisdiction to recoup Kentuckians' online losses.

ByABC News
April 9, 2010, 2:22 PM

April 12, 2010— -- If Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear gets his way, money lost by Kentucky's online gamblers will be money found by the state of Kentucky.

The Democratic governor is using an obscure century-old law to file a lawsuit against "Pocket Kings, Ltd.," an online betting business based in Dublin, Ireland which also operates under the name "Full Tilt Poker."

"There is a law on the books that allows someone to recover gambling losses from illegal gaming," Jennifer Brislin, a representative from Beshear's office told the ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

In Kentucky, gambling is not illegal, but it is illegal to run a casino.

Brislin said the administration feared the online gaming industry was taking advantage of laws put in place before the Internet existed.

"The Internet posed a conundrum that wasn't thought of when the laws were put on the books, the idea of a virtual casino you can go to," Brislin said. "These groups shouldn't be able to hide offshore and flaunt our laws."

She said that Kentucky felt compellled to enforce the anti-casino law because Kentuckians were losing their money to what she said was an illegal operation.

The lawsuit won't turn Kentucky into a gambler's paradise where you get your money back even if you lose. The governor's office said that no private citizens would recoup funds if Kentucky wins its case.

"As far as the money is concerned, any losses that would be recovered would go to the commonwealth on behalf of its citizens, so an individual would not receive those funds," Brislin wrote in an email.

Brislin said other states have contacted the governor's office.

"This is an issue that is a state issue, but everyone deals with," Brislin said. "We have gotten many inquiries from other states asking "What was it you did? How did you do it?"

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