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Minnesota Latest To Try To Block Gambling Sites 138

BcNexus writes "A story is developing that the state of Minnesota is contacting ISPs with a request to block about 200 gambling sites online. Minnesota is claiming authority to do so under a 1961 federal law, apparently the Federal Wire Wager Act. There are a couple interesting aspects to watch as this unfolds. Will the ISPs cooperate or will they argue about applicability to casino games, as other have? Will Minnesotans lose their money or access to their money in escrow accounts like the state is warning will happen?"
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Minnesota Latest To Try To Block Gambling Sites

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  • is it even legal? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tritonman ( 998572 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:37PM (#27762393)
    Is it even legal to use gambling sites in states where it's illegal to gamble???
  • by Cazekiel ( 1417893 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:51PM (#27762547)

    I work in a convenience store--one of many clerk jobs I've had, and lemmee tell ya, the state does whatever it can to make sure people don't infringe on their territory. They outlawed slot machines in bars, clubs, etc. years ago.

    The interesting part is that people have found a way around it. We HAVE a machine in our store, but it's a "Skill Game". Instead of it being a chancy slot-game, you win on every spin by tapping a wild option on the screen, making three fruits/whatever else in a row. Most of the time it's a lame old two cents, but that's how they've gotten around it. It's 'skill'... y'know. Tapping a screen=deciphering the text on the Antikythera Mechanism.

    So if these online gambling sites can find a loophole, the state is boned. But they (the online gaming people) will probably have to put up a disclaimer on their site, saying that it's not linked to the state. That's what the machine guys had to do in our store.

  • Geez (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:54PM (#27762595)

    Yeah, gambling is stupid, and maybe some people need a Nanny to protect them.

    But couldn't we get busy addressing our country's *real* problems?

  • by JO_DIE_THE_STAR_F*** ( 1163877 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:59PM (#27762659)
    The world has changed.
    This law is irrelevant to the current reality.
    You can censor the hell out of your citizens (like China) or you can allow them to participate in a free and open internet, not both. Unless every country on this planet agrees to this outdated law, enforcement will be almost impossible.
    The only thing they will do is turn their citizens into criminals.
    Minnesota your only choice is to either disconnect from the internet or accept that you can not control it.
    Of course to truly disconnect you would have to ban all forms of communication except for snail mail and the pony express. No phones, satellite dishes, cable, etc...

    "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." - Morpheus
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @03:01PM (#27762683) Homepage Journal
    Bam! [state.mn.us]

    So gambling is OK as long as it fills their coffers and at odds that would get any casino run out of town in Vegas. I wouldn't be surprised if the odds were more in your favor at a rigged poker game than at the Minnesota state lottery. Any argument against out-of-state gambling they could make would be hypocritical at best since Joe Sixpack could just as easily blow his paycheck on lotto tickets as he could on Online poker.

    Now Utah [gambling-law-us.com] is pretty cut-and-dried on the subject and I would not criticize them for being hypocritical if they were trying to do this. Of course, by their definition I could make an argument that participating in a 401K plan violates this statute. It seems a lot of people would be no worse off now had they put all their 401K funds into lotto tickets. But I digress...

  • Re:is it even legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:24PM (#27763873)

    Here's the scoop:

    - The Federal Wire Act [wikipedia.org] was originally intended to prohibit betting on sports via [telephone] wires.

    - The more-recent Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act [wikipedia.org] (UIGEA), which was secretly attached to the 'must-pass' Safe Port Act, made it illegal for banking institutions to allow outgoing financial transactions if the bank believes the funds are intended for online gambling purposes. Each bank must determine what is legal and what is not, with no guidance from the federal government.

    - The USDOJ interprets the Wire Act as including the internet, and ALL forms of gambling, despite the fact that the internet did not exist when the act was introduced, and further despite the fact that the act only applies to 'sporting events or contests'.

    - The World Trade Organization has repeatedly found the US in violation of its trade agreements with other countries (such as Antigua, who first complained to the WTO, and the United Kingdom, where internet gambling is legalized, regulated and taxed).

    - The US continues to ignore the WTO ruling and keeps trying to eradicate internet gambling.

    Minnesota is another US state trying to protect its cash cow. Other states with similar laws include Nevada and New Jersey. (Bonus points if you can figure out why!)

    The sensible thing to do is to LEGALIZE and REGULATE the multi-billion dollar industry, especially when the tax dollars could prove so helpful during a recession.

Information is the inverse of entropy.