News - Gambling - Sports
   Web        OGpaper portal          


Minnesota online gambling ban under fire from legislature

 The State of Minnesota may be pulling away from the communist practice of restricting internet traffic to its citizens, thanks to Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington). Minnesota recently submitted request to some of the biggest national internet providers to block access to residents of the state to various online gambling websites, citing illegal gambling. According to Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, all online gambling is illegal, although the statement was based on their interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act. The PDS then sent a list of 200 random online gambling websites to the major internet service providers in the country with the request to block access to those websites from Minnesota residents. Here would be the place to mention that Minnesota legal forms of gambling include lottery, pari-mutuel racing, pull-tabs, card rooms and, of course, Indian casinos, 16 of them to be exact.

 Luckily for the millions of Minnesota residents, Rep. Pat Garofalo has just introduced legislation that would bar the Department of Public Safety from forcing Internet service providers to block internet access to the online gambling websites. "The Department of Public Safety has to have better things to do with their time than to go after a college kid in his dorm room or some guy sitting in his basement spending a couple of hours playing online poker. Demanding that a private-sector Internet service provider block access to websites is not a proper function of our state government," Rep. Garofalo was quoted. And while we don't agree with the description of the online gamblers Rep. Garofalo employed, we do commend the idea that state government should not make internet blocking its top priority. Maybe in Iran, China or North Korea such practices are everyday occurrence, but we really hope that the State of Minnesota indeed has better things to do than police the internet usage of its people.

 John Willems, director of the state's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, commented on the decision by Rep. Garofalo by saying: "It reflects a 180-degree turn from the current enforcement efforts towards illegal online gambling, particularly those that are being currently undertaken." We are no legal experts, but blocking access to online gambling website could hardly constitute enforcement of the law. What Mr. Willems is doing equals to the following - a general store is found to be selling alcohol without liquor license, so the state asks the police to block off all the roads leading to that store...hardly a law enforcement operation.

 However, we have to say we remain baffled by the decision of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to go after internet gambling. Minnesota is indeed a gambling state - according to a 2006 survey by the Minnesota State Lottery, 83% of the residents of the state had gambled during the previous year with additional 9% who have gambled at some point of their life, i.e. 92% of the state's population is no stranger to gambling. But this is where it gets weird - out of those 83% who had gambled in the past year, 61% of them had done so through the Minnesota State Lottery, while only 3% said they gambled on the internet! Further more, according to the same survey, 10% of the gamblers have actually bet on something designated as "Dice". Not sure what "Dice" means according to the survey, but it would only make sense to tackle the bigger problem. Should we expect Minnesota to soon ban the sale and distribution of dice in the state? We will leave the Minnesota residents and our readers with the following quote (something to think about come the next elextion), taken directly from the Minnesota State Lottery website: The most popular form of gambling among Minnesotans is raffles; 77 percent of Minnesota adults report buying a raffle ticket at some point in their lives. Close behind is the Minnesota State Lottery (69 percent) and Indian casinos (64 percent). The lowest gambling participation rates are found for dice, dog racing, and the Internet.

 Published on 05/05/2009

Related News:

 Online gambling trends show economy on recovery track
 Sports betting ban challenged by New Jersey




Copyright 2005 © . All rights reserved.