As you’ve read earlier today, the US Department of Justice seized another batch of online gambling domain names including Bookmaker.com, Doylesroom.com and BetEd.com along with seven others. The key difference with this batch of seized online gambling domain names is that other than Dolyesroom.com and TruePoker.com, the sites in question aren’t primarily poker companies.
BMX Entertainment S.A.’s most popular sites, Bookmaker and BetDSI offered poker but are best known for their sportsbooks, both are well respected and have years of experience behind them. It’s a warning sign to all online gaming companies that the US Department Of Justice means business in their ongoing war on fun in the USA.
Seizing the domain names of companies the DOJ finds offensive has become a popular technique in the fight against online gaming in the US. What makes it so effective is that it’s easy and it can be crippling to a company who isn’t prepared for the seizure.
In the most laymen’s term that I can think of, the domain name is like an easy to remember phone number that tell internet users how to find your computer servers on the internet. And just like a phone number, a company doesn’t own the registered domain name, they are just leasing the right to use that name on the internet from the domain registry.
The reason the DOJ has had an easy time of seizing the .com’s of online gaming companies is that regardless of where the company registers the domain, it’s all comes down to an American Company, VeriSign being the absolute authority of the .com and .net domain extensions.
When the DOJ needs a site shut down, it doesn’t take much more than a phone call to one of the American domain registrars and the online gambling company’s right to use that domain name will be revoked without much of a fight. Of the ten domains seized, seven were registered in the US, six with Godaddy.com and the other with Register.com.
Three of the domains used domain registrars outside of the US, perhaps thinking it would provide an extra layer of protection. It’s a nice thought but with VeriSign holding control over all .com and .net domain names, regardless of the location of the registrar, there isn’t much that can be done.
If a registrar, American or otherwise refuses to revoke the domain, the DOJ will contact VeriSign to seize the domain and the registrar would have their ability to register domains put in jeopardy. It’s not a fight that most registrars are willing to have for the sake of a foreign online gambling company.
Having the .com is the ultimate domain name extension as people are conditioned to search for the .com address when looking for a company on the web. Unfortunately, with the DOJ using their newfound authorities in the Protect IP Act to its fullest extent, online gambling companies need to dump their .com until the day the United States of America finally regulates online gambling.
While not as sexy as a .com, registering the company’s domain where there gaming licence is located is probably the safest bet for an online gambling company. When the DOJ comes knocking to shut down a .EU or a .AG domain, they’ll meet with resistance as online gambling is regulated in the European Union and in Antigua, the government already has some high profile victories over the US government in front of the World Trade Organization.
Bookmaker has already jumped on this advice, after losing Bookmaker.com on Monday, their site is up and running at www.bmaker.ag.
With the indictments and the protectionist tactics of the American government, it just might be safest if companies of all walks switch to a non-.com and use the country code where their licences lies.