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Online Casino News - May, 2009

Minnesota AGED to Police Online Gambling Activities

 

  Seed Newsvine

by Edward Rogers, News Staff Writer

May 4, 2009

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 handle.

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.


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