Just as things were starting to
look brighter for the U.S. facing online gambling
industry - and the international gaming sector as a
whole, for that matter - another US State Department
Official has started their own little war against
online gambling. Players may recall the crackdowns
orchestrated by the Governor of Kentucky and the
State of Louisiana. This time around, it's the State
of Minnesota who is trying to take things into their
own hands. But as always, it looks as if they are
going to make more of a mess than anything else.
Minnesota's Director of the
Department of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division
(AGED), John Williams, recently announced that the
Minnesota Department of Public Safety has written a
letter to eleven ISP's and telephone communications
providers - demanding they block access to some
two-hundred online gambling destination url's and phone
numbers. Williams went on to say this "advance notice"
will assuredly cause a negative impact on cash flow and
disrupt the majority of business these operations
What is most ironic about this
situation - other than the fact that this list applies
to just 200 betting destinations - is that the
Department of Public Safety is citing the 1961 Wire Act
as the governing legislation prohibiting betting
operators from processing online wagers. Now, if that's
not a slap in the face for the Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), I don't know what is.
The UIGEA, which was passed in 2005 as an attachment to
a Port Security bill, was supposed to update the Wire
Act. And yet, all the UIGEA has really done is give
everyone a headache - especially the financial industry.
And it looks like Minnesota is ready
to do the same. Apparently, the current list of 200
websites will expand into the thousands if compliance by
other operators is not heeded. There certainly are more
than 200 online casinos, poker rooms and all manner of
internet betting destinations taking bets from Minnesota
citizens. Time will tell if they do, in fact, heed or
balk at the warnings of the Minnesota AGED.
And if you're wondering why Minnesota
has taken this stance all of sudden, as usual, the
motivation wreaks of protectionism. As you may know,
Minnesota has a brick 'n mortar Indian casino industry,
from which it garners some hefty taxes. And now that
many of these casinos have begun to lay off workers and
taken a hit from a slow economy, the AGED is looking for
ways to bring in lost income.