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In what many in the industry hope is a sign of things to come, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has struck down a lower court order that would have allowed Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration to take control of 141 online gambling web sites.

In a 2-1 decision, an appeals court panel ruled that domain names are not gambling devices as defined by Kentucky law.

“Regardless of our view as to the advisability of regulating or criminalizing Internet gambling sites, the General Assembly has not seen fit to amend [Kentucky law] as to bring domain names within the definition of gambling devices,” Judge Michelle Keller wrote. “It stretches credulity to conclude that a series of numbers, or Internet addresses, can be said to constitute a machine or any mechanical or other device,” Keller added.

John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) said the decision is “a tremendous victory for Internet freedom and the rights of Kentucky residents who enjoy playing online poker.”