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Minnesota Not Ready to Stop Blocking Online Gambling ISPs Yet

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/05/2009

While the Poker Players Alliance announced Thursday evening that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety was dropping enforcement action against Internet Service Providers that provide access to Internet gambling sites, Gambling911.com has learned this is simply not the case.

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA.org), which has been leading the charge in Minnesota, informed G911 that a decision in this matter is yet to be rendered.

"No deal has been finalized with Minnesota yet," iMEGA Founder and President, Joe Brennan, Jr., advised.

On May 6, iMEGA asked the US District Court in Minneapolis to prevent the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) from enforcing an order it issued to 11 Internet service providers (ISPs), to block state residents' access to 200 Web sites.

The Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division (AGED) of the Minnesota DPS sent letters in late April to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other companies offering Internet access, ordering the companies to prevent Minnesota residents from viewing sites included on an AGED "black list". All of the sites named on the list are related to online gambling.

iMEGA filed suit against John Willems, director of AGED, to prevent the order from being enforced. In its suit, iMEGA stated that Minnesota lacked the authority to compel the ISPs to block residents access to the sites, and that their actions constituted a violation of free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

"It's our hope that Minnesota will recognize their error and drop their blocking order," said Brennan Jr. "Censoring Internet access for Minnesota residents would establish a troubling precedent of government intrusion into the online world, and we just can't allow that to happen."

The PPA claimed late Thursday that Minnesota Representative Pat Garofalo, indicated that the matter was concluded after "the legal position underlying the issuance of the notices was reconsidered."

Brennan, Jr. reiterated that no such deal was yet to be finalized.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

 

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