This week, the state of Minnesota followed in the footsteps of the state of Kentucky to attempt to block 200 alleged online gaming domains from access to citizens inside its borders.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division sent written notice to such Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Direct TV, Dish Network, Embarq, Sprint, Frontier Communications, Qwest, Verizon, and Wildblue Communications that they would have to block access to online gaming operations and poker rooms. Citing the 1961 Wire Act, which prohibits the usage of telephone lines to make gambling transactions, Minnesota officials gave the ISPs two to three weeks to fall into compliance with the state’s mandates.
Yesterday the actual list of sites blocked was released, with some very odd choices on the list. At the forefront of the list is Party Casino, which is owned by PartyGaming and also operates the highly popular Party Poker poker room. This is one of the questionable sites as they do not operate within the United States and also have recently made amends with the U. S. government over its actions prior to the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006.
Also appearing on the list is PokerRoom, which ceased operations earlier this month along with sister site CasinoRoom (which is also on the list) and sent its customers to bwin. None of these sites currently accept American action. Bodog Poker is on the list as “,” but the URL cited for blocking lists its casino arm. Full Tilt Poker and the Cake Poker Network site Players Only are on the list and, as Bodog does, currently accept American players. Strangely not named are several of the most popular online poker sites around: PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker, Lock Poker, Carbon Poker, Doyle’s Room, and Cake Poker itself.
The potential for litigation in the Minnesota case is imminent. Both the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) and Americans for Tax Reform have leapt into action and are ready to pursue the case in the Minnesota court system. An example of how this could turn out is already in action in the state of Kentucky.
When Governor Steven Beshear attempted to seize the domain names of 141 online gaming sites in December 2008, the legal system was called in to prevent his actions. After initially getting approval from a lower court, Governor Beshear’s efforts were overturned by an appeals court earlier in 2009. The state’s Attorney General has stated that he plans to appeal this decision and the case is currently sitting in the Kentucky Supreme Court and has yet to be decided.

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