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Poker sites on Minnesota block list
The list is out and PokerListings can confirm there are some poker sites included in the online gambling sites Minnesota wants to block.
While a few of the poker and casino sites that make up the 199-site list are big names in the online gambling industry, most are very small sites.
Some, the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association claims, don't even take U.S. business.
"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 U.S. market makes me wonder just how seriously the [Department of Public Safety] is taking this action. It comes off as a half-baked attempt at intimidation rather than thoughtful enforcement."
When asked how the sites were chose, John Willems, director of the DPS Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, told PokerListings "The sites were chosen at random without regard to type of gambling or location."
However, iMEGA found it interesting to note that BetUS.com is on the list, a site that at one time had an endorsement deal with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.
iMEGA stepped in on the case in Kentucky when that state tried to seize 141 Internet gambling-related domain names they considered to be illegal. The organization has also been defending online gambling at the federal level filing a lawsuit against the UIGEA.
It's likely iMEGA will be willing to take on Minnesota as well, considering the organization's concern that the ban signals a new form of government censorship that could stretch well beyond Internet gambling.
"When Mr. Willems expresses his intention to extend his 'program' to thousands of other sites, just what kind of sites will he be targeting?" Brennan asked.
"And will he be making the determination which sites are 'legal' and which are 'illegal'? Because as far as we can tell, there is nothing in Minnesota or U.S. Federal law that makes these gaming or any other sites illegal, just their opinion."
The Wire Act of 1961 made it illegal to use telephones or telegraphs to transmit wagers. The U.S. Congress has taken up the matter a number of times since, but has yet to amend the law to include Internet gambling.
Congress also passed the UIGEA, making money transfers from banks and other financial institutions to online gambling sites illegal. But even the UIGEA does not outlaw the actual act of gambling online.
"What is most concerning is the shaky legal pretext that Minnesota has used to fashion their order," Brennan said.
"There is simply no Federal law that exists that makes it illegal for US citizens to gamble on the Internet. None."
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