New US threat to online gambling

ThomasJensen

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Minnesota tells Telecom's to Block Internet Gambling Sites

As the online gambling industry converges on Amsterdam to attend the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference and as Congress gets ready to debate the issue of internet gambling regulations, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) announced that it has served written notice to 11 national and regional telephone and Internet service providers (ISPs) instructing them to prohibit access of all Minnesota-based computers to nearly 200 online gambling websites. Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, iMEGA will be reaching out to all concerned parties today to block this action.

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jetset

RIP Brian
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ONLINE GAMBLING FACES NEW U.S. THREAT

Now Minnesota authorities issue bans to ISPs in Internet censorship move

In a move reminiscent of recent Australian attempts to censor the Internet at ISP level, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) today announced that it has served written notice to 11 national and regional telephone and Internet service providers (ISPs) instructing them to prohibit access of all Minnesota-based computers to nearly 200 online gambling websites.

Apparently the notification includes an assertion that online gambling is illegal in all US states. The sites banned are not identified in initial reports on the ban.

AT&T Internet Services, San Antonio; Charter Communications, St. Louis; Comcast Cable, Moorestown, N.J.; Direct TV, Los Angeles; Dish Network, Englewood., Colo.; Embarq and Sprint/Nextel, both of Overland Park, Kan.; Frontier Communications, Stamford, Conn.; Qwest, Denver; Verizon Wireless, Bedminster, N.J.; and Wildblue Communications, Greenwood Village, Colo. are among the sites served with the notice.

John Willems, director of AGED said: We are putting site operators and Minnesota online gamblers on notice and in advance. Disruption of these sites cash flow will negatively impact their business models. State residents with online escrow accounts should be aware that access to their accounts may be jeopardized and their funds in peril.

Believed the first attempt by a state to employ this federal statute to restrict access to online gambling sites, the letters cites U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 1084, (d); notices were delivered Monday April 27, 2009. Congress enacted the "Wire Act" statute in 1961, and its use has hitherto been confined to sportsbetting issues, although the Department of Justice has claimed it applies to all online gambling - something yet to be fully tested in the courts, although a contrary ruling was issued by the Fifth Circuit Court some years ago.

Response from the notified ISPs is expected within two to three weeks, at which time issues of non-compliance will be referred to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This is presumably a veiled threat against licenses.

Acknowledging the effort as an initial sample, Willems anticipates the program expanding to address thousands of sites, depending on compliance. He notes that the required technology to restrict geographic access to particular sites is a relatively straightforward procedure on the part of service providers.

In the written notices, AGED also provided the sites telephone numbers and requested access to those numbers by Minnesotans to be prohibited. For more than two decades, telecoms have shut down telephone numbers at the request of law enforcement agencies when believed to be involved in illegal activities, such as sports book-making telephone numbers.

In Minnesota, and for Minnesotans, the primary issues are legality, state self-governance and accountability, says Willems. In broader context, the long-running debate on online gambling continues to raise significant issues, including absence of policy and regulation, individual rights, societal impact, international fair-trade practices, and funding for criminal and terrorist organizations.

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RobWin

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So it basically sounds like the sites in question simply need to change their phone number or set-up one with another provider. I don't see though how they can enforce "The Wire Act" upon those residents with satellite link-up service for the net. Don't see how that case could even be won in District court. :rolleyes:
 

jetset

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It certainly creates yet another diversion in the already complicated US legal scene, especially bearing in mind the historical reluctance of the DoJ to actually test it's claim that the Wire Act applies to all Internet gambling and not just sportsbetting in the courts.

I suspect that iMEGA and the several civil society and Internet freedom bodies in the States will be all over this in the very near future.

It's definitely going to be interesting to watch, as it is an even more overt assault on the freedom of the Internet than Governor Beshear's escapades in Kentucky.
 

kauphy

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?

if they can shut them down that way then why can,t they do the same for internet porn? gezzz why don,t they all start treating us like 5 year olds and come into our homes to sit our computers on perntal contol so we can only go to the site our goverment wants us 2. someone is getting paid off by porn sites caz u never hear about all the sites that kids can log onto and the sites that have kids doing things a grown up would blush at. shows what is inportent to the goverment and i don,t say my goverment caz it is no longer for the people by the people.
 

cpdnd31

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I'm so glad I live in the land of the free!!!! I can't smoke in IL, Ilegal to gamble online, whats next oh i know lets make them pay the highest taxes in the country. WTF but i can go to a bar get drunk and drive lol. Our country really needs to rethink its priorities. ok that felt good anyone want to join me for a drink now. Im driving. :D
 

Casinomeister

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...

Apparently the notification includes an assertion that online gambling is illegal in all US states...
<sigh> will it ever end?

All it takes is one politician to make a false statement (in this case that online gaming is illegal), and the media and nearly everyone else sucks up to it.

It happens all the time - weapons of mass destruction (there weren't any), we only use 10% of our brain (we use all of it - except for a few politicians), the Columbine shooters were Goths and in the "Trenchcoat Mafia" (they weren't). I'm not trying to equate the severity of these topics, I'm trying to illustrate a pattern.

Most people - and especially people who have decision making powers - are unschooled in whatever they are trying to propose, and the media follows along with them like happy little puppy dogs.
 

Jasminebed

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Thank you very much for this informative and disturbing post.

I'm in Canada...is Minnesota currently one of the banned US states?

You have to wonder at a government that can issue this kind of ban to an activity that is legal for of age players at government run facilities.
 

Mousey

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I'm still trying to figure out just exactly what this means for people there. And, like another poster, is Minn. a state that specifically has a law against online gambling? And what does this mean for those who like to visit us here at Casinomeister?

I do wish someone with balls and money would take on all these stupid little pissant lawmakers that nibble away at our basic rights and open up a can of whupass in the court system. Take it to court, take it down to the finish.

There are SO many more important things for our governing officials to worry about other than whether Joe Schmoe is going to blow $25 at a freaking online casino. Yes, there are addicts and ne'erdowells gambling when they shouldn't. But then again, there are people in goverment postions pretending to have brains when they don't and spending taxpayers money on stupid crap like this. And I do believe this idiotic move will cost them... I can only hope that, while Justice may be blind, she's not totally dead.

Pardon the rant... I'm just so sick of all this stupid sh*t... :puke:
 

suzecat

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I'm still trying to figure out just exactly what this means for people there. And, like another poster, is Minn. a state that specifically has a law against online gambling?

Hi Mouse! :D



Thanks/kudos go to Simmo! and his essential FAQ (found on the site's main page).



"The States that definately outlaw online gambling in the USA include Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisonsin[sic]."

Guess Minnesota is OK?
 

RobWin

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Hi Mouse! :D



Thanks/kudos go to Simmo! and his essential FAQ (found on the site's main page).



"The States that definately outlaw online gambling in the USA include Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisonsin[sic]."

Guess Minnesota is OK?

What happened to the other 3 states? I thought there were 11 total.

This was the list I had:

New York
Illinois
Michigan
New Jersey
Washington
Indiana
Wisconsin
Louisiana
Oregon
Nevada
South Dakota
 

suzecat

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What happened to the other 3 states? I thought there were 11 total.

This was the list I had:

New York
Illinois
Michigan
New Jersey
Washington
Indiana
Wisconsin
Louisiana
Oregon
Nevada
South Dakota


Can't speak for Simmo! on that Rob...........ask him about his list.
 

binshakindown

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CO
Well, here is what I think:

Since this is an international debate, I think the World Trade Organization needs to get involved. You see, how can a country like GB, or other member nation compete for the US market when these online companies are being restricted from getting a piece of the pie. There are US laws being challenged by the WTO for limiting competition in other areas of trade. How is this any different? Some body call the WTO!!! I would but I don't have the number.
 

jetset

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What happened to the other 3 states? I thought there were 11 total.

This was the list I had:

New York
Illinois
Michigan
New Jersey
Washington
Indiana
Wisconsin
Louisiana
Oregon
Nevada
South Dakota

Microgaming added Kentucky to that list in the wake of the unsuccessful attempt by Beshear and his outsourced lawyers to hijack online gambling company domains.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
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Location
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Update

FAST REACTION TO MINNESOTA ONLINE GAMBLING BAN (Update)

State officials condemned for "kite-flying"

Yesterday's online gambling banning notification from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gaming Division has made mainstream media headlines throughout the world, and has predictably fired up almost immediate opposition from civil rights and Internet freedom groups.

Matt Werden, the Minnesota state director of the Poker Players Alliance, which has 21 000 of its million members resident in Minnesota, was first to condemn the move, releasing a statement which said: "This isn't simply a heavy-handed tactic by the government; this is a clear misrepresentation of federal law, as well as Minnesota law, used in an unprecedented way to try and censor the Internet. I don't know what U.S. Code they're reading, but it is not illegal to play this great American pastime online, and we're calling their bluff.

"The fact is, online poker is not illegal, it's not criminal, and it cannot be forcibly blocked by a state authority looking to score some political points. What are they going to do when this fails, ban poker books and burn our players at the stake?

"We see headlines like this coming from communist China but never expect that it could happen here in Minnesota.

"The good news is groups like the Poker Players Alliance are here to protect the rights of poker players and set the record straight when government reaches too far. But this is more than just protecting poker this is about keeping the internet free of censorship and ensuring that law abiding citizens can enjoy a game of Texas Hold 'Em in the comfort of their own home, whether it's online or with a group of friends.

"The PPA will take any action necessary to make sure our members and the general public are aware of these oppressive and illegal actions, and to make sure the game of poker in all it's forms is protected in the state of Minnesota."

Minnesota officials remained unrepentant, however, and seemingly convinced that it was illegal to gamble online in Minnesota. Alcohol and Gaming Division director John Willems told Casino City: "The statute we're citing is civil.

"We're not seeking to criminalize. We're not seeking to prevent Internet gambling sites from doing their business where it's lawful - we're just seeking to prevent them from doing it in Minnesota where it's unlawful. I'm only concerned about the state of Minnesota."

Speaking to Casino City staffers (
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) Willems said that his list of Internet gambling sites to be blocked did not include websites that merely promoted or advertised online gambling, as opposed to those that actively offered gambling facilities to Minnesota residents.

Asked about the motivation behind the unexpected initiative from his department, Willems admitted that there had not been a major public demand for this action, but that the move was "a natural evolution of Minnesota's belief that Internet gambling is illegal."

"Internet gambling is unlawful in Minnesota," Willems stressed. "So how do you deal with activity within the confines of our jurisdiction while understanding there's a global aspect to this?

"As the industry changed and phone companies became ISPs, and ISPs became phone companies it reached a point in time where we realized that a reasonable reading of the statute applied. Our goal is not to hurt the operators in their lawful operations. And the technology has grown to the point where it's a fairly straight forward process."

Casino City asked gaming attorney Clarke Walton for his take on thye issue, and he responded with an opinion that the legal reasoning of the Minnesota authorities is arguable.

"They're probably not within their rights based on decisions that have said the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and not other casino games like slot machines and certainly not poker," the attorney said.

Associated Press carried a major story on the Minnesota bans, opining that the federal law cited by the Minnesota Alcohol and Gaming Division refers to "common carriers," a term that mainly applies to phone companies.

"But Internet service providers are not common carriers, meaning it's unlikely that a court would compel an ISP to comply with Minnesota's request," John Morris, general counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington told the news service.

Morris also noted that the law appears to apply to phone companies directly doing business with bet-takers. But American restrictions on online gambling have already forced gambling sites overseas, where U.S. ISPs have no direct links to them.

"I think this is a very problematic and significant misreading of the statute," Morris said.

Associated Press writers had clearly done their homework, and drew attention to a similar case in Pennsylvania, which briefly imposed requirements for ISPs to block child-pornography sites. A federal court struck down the law in 2004 because the filters also blocked legitimate sites and affected Internet subscribers outside the state.

AT&T Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc., which were among the companies that received the Alcohol and Gaming Division request, said they were reviewing it. Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable ISP, had no immediate comment.

Sounding a practical argument against the route taken by Minnesota, John Palfrey, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said the idea of forcing Internet service providers to filter sites has been almost abandoned because it works so poorly. Either too many sites are blocked, or too few meaning that even if the ISPs were to cooperate, online gamblers might get around the filters by finding sites that aren't on the list.

In a subsequent statement to Associated Press, Willems said Minnesota might expand the list beyond the still publicly unidentified 200 sites currently on it.

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA.org), which has successfully contested other US official moves to interfere with the accessibility of the Internet, was also quick to criticise the Minnesota bans, vowing to contest and halt the state action.

Chairman Joe Brennan, Jr. said: "iMEGA will be reaching out to all concerned parties to block this action by Minnesota."
 

AussieDave

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reminiscent of recent Australian attempts to censor the Internet at ISP level

As an Australian citizen my birth right is free speech - least it is supposed to be. I thought the same applied to the USA too. The proposed Australian ISP ban was to stop porn.

Ironically I can switch on my TV after 11pm and view or sorts of porn content being advertised for sms services by commercial television stations. I'm sure not everyone viewing these ads are 18 years or over :rolleyes:


why can,t they do the same for internet porn?

Probably because there is a tax dollar in it for them :rolleyes:

IMHO anyone who confuses this push for banning internet gambling with social morality issues is on the wrong path. It all comes down to loss of revenue going off shore. Nothing more nothing less!

I'm just so sick of all this stupid sh*t... :puke:

Me too :thumbsup:


Cheers
T
 

AussieDave

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Australia
I think the World Trade Organization needs to get involved. You see, how can a country like GB, or other member nation compete for the US market when these online companies are being restricted from getting a piece of the pie. There are US laws being challenged by the WTO for limiting competition in other areas of trade. How is this any different?

Unfortunately the US doesn't seem to listen to the WTO or take their directive(s) unless its in their favour.

The Antigua/USA WTO gambling ban comes to mind.
Link Removed ( Old/Invalid)

Or was this the catalyst for the UIGEA?

Cheers
T
 

jetset

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Update

iMEGA has demanded, and received, a copy of the Minnesota black list which I have forwarded to Bryan (I'm not sure how to upload it here in its present form)

The first part of the document consists of the recipients and the fax sent to them, but from page 15 onward it specifies which sites are to be blocked, together with Support numbers and IP addresses.

There are some 210 blacklisted operations in all.

@Trezz

The Aussie blacklist also contained gambling websites, indicating that the authorities, once allowed to go their own way, will continue to expand a blacklist - especially when it is kept secret like the Australian one.

That's one of the dangers of untrammelled government authority, and why it is so important that officialdom is open and challengeable.
 

Casinomeister

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List of ISPs and Banned sites

Here it is...:rolleyes:

As forwarded from Jetset:

Attached please find the communication sent out by the state of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety and their Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division to ISPs and telecomm companies requesting that they ban online gambling sites.

The first part of the document consists of the recipients and the fax sent to them, but from page 15 onward it specifies which sites are to be blocked, together with Support numbers and IP addresses.

There are some 210 blacklisted operations in all.

The list was released on demand from iMEGA.
 

jetset

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Update

MINNESOTA ONLINE BAN ATTEMPT LATEST (Update)

Official confirms the state is not about to prosecute online gamblers

The extraordinary attempt by the state of Minnesotas's Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division to require ISPs and telecomms companies to block online gambling sites operating outside the states continued to dominate the headlines as the week ended, overshadowing even Barney Frank's new bill attacking the UIGEA, which is scheduled for introduction next week.

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association asked for, and received a copy of the black list sent to ISPs, which contained 210 well known casino names...but strangely many of these have already exited the US or do not accept US sign-ups.

"We question how much thought was put into the selection of these sites," said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA chairman. "To propose censoring Minnesota residents' Web access and not to know which sites are even in the US market makes me wonder just how seriously the DPS is taking this action. It comes off as a half-baked attempt at intimidation rather than thoughtful enforcement."

AGED director John Willems explained that the list contained only a small percentage of the "literally thousands of [gambling] websites on the Internet", and that it had been compiled by making selections "...at random without regards to what type of internet gambling each site is engaged in."

The list includes many well established and reputable international online gambling venues including operations like Full Tilt Poker.com, 32Red.com and sister casino Dash.com, Betfred, Casino Room, English Harbour, Everest Poker, Gaming Club, Party Casino and a host of others. Yet it omits the biggest US-serving online poker site on the Internet - PokerStars.com.

Willems has also confirmed that his department does not intend pursuing or prosecuting Minnesota online gamblers. "Were not pursuing any of the bettors and were not keeping people from accessing their money," he said in a Poker News Daily interview. "We wanted to let everyone in the world know what we were up to in order to be transparent. We wanted to let them know that if we were successful, it might impact their ability to get funds they may have online. The last thing that we wanted to do was surprise everyone. Our actions have also increased the level of conversation on this topic."

Willems also denied that his motive was the protection of the many other forms of gambling sanctioned in Minnesota. "The motive is to deal with sizable illegal gambling activity and to use the most reasonable tool we can to deal with it. We are an enforcement agency that has very few tools available," he said.

"I hope well have a mutually satisfying outcome to whatever occurs and I hope well get good public policy because of it. It appears to me, based on voice messages and phone conversations, that the Poker Players Alliance must have contacted their membership because Ive gotten a lot of feedback. I respect their viewpoint and understand it. As much as I can, I try to take the calls, but there are too many of them. I do understand their concerns and Im not disrespectful of that, but there is a difference of opinion."

The Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has added its voice to other civil rights and freedom of speech critics speaking against the Minnesota action. Grover Norquist, head of the Washington-based organisation, opined that the Minnesota action was typical of a growing authoritarian trend of officialdom trying to control the Internet.

The State of New York wants to tax people who download movies. There is an effort throughout the states to tax internet sales on sites like eBay," he elaborated. "One of the reasons that the internet is so helpful is that it allows competition. The best way to keep taxes low is to allow people to be able to access other jurisdictions.

You cant always pick up and move, but on the internet, you can buy things in other states and other countries. Thats one of the reasons why the internet is so helpful. Its none of the governments business what you do online. We just went through this in Kentucky, Norquist added in a reference to the so far unsuccessful attempt by that state to seize international domain names.

Norquist said it was not helpful to have politicians "pushing people around" when it came to the protection of civil liberties.
 

Casinomeister

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There are some 210 blacklisted operations in all.
Note how these lame-brained politicians wasted their time banning companies like 32Red and Wagerworks casinos - who don't take ANY US bets.

Perhaps this adds to an argument of freedom of speech. I'm sure there are some Minnesotans who are stock holders in IGT and 32Red PLC. I'd be pretty pissed off if I had no access to their company's websites.

Just goes to prove they have no idea what they are doing.
 

Casinomeister

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Staff member
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Location
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and that it had been compiled by making selections "...at random without regards to what type of internet gambling each site is engaged in
:puke:

So that's how they spend your tax paying dollars - making random decisions...
 
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