Minnesota Orders Internet Providers to Bar Online Gambling Sites
The state of Minnesota has decided to try its hand at Internet censorship. Officials from the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division have commanded Internet service providers to block almost 200 online gambling sites.
To reconcile its action with actual law and statutes, the Division is citing the federal Wire Act of 1961 as the basis for attempting to prevent residents from accessing online casinos. However, federal courts have ruled that the Wire Act pertains only to sports betting, which leaves Minnesota in an uncomfortable legal position.
Regulators notified Comcast Cable, AT&T, Charter Communications, and eight other sources of Internet connections to respond within the next two to three weeks. ISP spokesmen had no immediate comment.
"Minnesota's reliance on a divergent interpretation of the Wire Act shows state authorities know there is no law allowing this action," says Online Casino Advisory gaming analyst Sherman Bradley. "Like Kentucky, if there were actual political will for this type of censorship, the legislature would pass a law, and there would be no need to create a contorted reading of a law that doesn't apply."
Regulators also threatened players at Internet casinos, saying gambling on the sites could lose them money when access to their accounts is blocked.
The Division offered no explanation as to why a state agency is the lead in enforcing a federal law.
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