Government Technology

Minnesota Orders Telcos and ISPs to Block State Residents From Gambling Sites



April 29, 2009 By

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) today announced that it has instructed 11 national and regional telephone and Internet service providers (ISPs) to prohibit access by Minnesota-based computers to nearly 200 online gambling Web sites.

This is a new approach to state attempts to regulate Internet access to gambling sites. Last year, Kentucky seized 141 Internet gambling domain names in an attempt to stop access to online gambling. The Kentucky Court of Appeals later stayed the forfeiture.

Minnesota delivered notices to AT&T Internet Services, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Direct TV, Dish Network, Embarq, Sprint/Nextel, Frontier Communications, Qwest, Verizon Wireless, and Wildblue Communications, citing U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 1084, (d) which pertains to common carriers. The law reads, in part:

"When any common carrier, subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, is notified in writing by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, acting within its jurisdiction, that any facility furnished by it is being used or will be used for the purpose of transmitting or receiving gambling information in interstate or foreign commerce in violation of federal, state or local law, it shall discontinue or refuse, the leasing, furnishing, or maintaining of such facility, after reasonable notice to the subscriber ... "

"We are putting site operators and Minnesota online gamblers on notice and in advance," says John Willems, director of AGED. "Disruption of these sites' cash flow will negatively impact their business models. State residents with online escrow accounts should be aware that access to their accounts may be jeopardized and their funds in peril." Willems anticipates the program expanding to address thousands of sites, depending on compliance. He noted that the required technology to restrict geographic access to particular sites is a relatively straightforward procedure on the part of service providers.


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Comments

Anonymous    |    Commented May 1, 2009

How can the Government expect and enforce ISP's to comply with such a ridiculous law. What's next, limiting our phone calls to non gambling phone numbers? Beware, this is a small step to total Government control. There is no way to stop this and the cost to comply to this for the ISP's will definitely force them to raise everyone's rates. Not to mention the MN departments that need to monitor or enforce this. Minnesota Legislators, please don't waist your time and my money on frivolous laws.

Anonymous    |    Commented May 1, 2009

How can the Government expect and enforce ISP's to comply with such a ridiculous law. What's next, limiting our phone calls to non gambling phone numbers? Beware, this is a small step to total Government control. There is no way to stop this and the cost to comply to this for the ISP's will definitely force them to raise everyone's rates. Not to mention the MN departments that need to monitor or enforce this. Minnesota Legislators, please don't waist your time and my money on frivolous laws.

Anonymous    |    Commented May 1, 2009

How can the Government expect and enforce ISP's to comply with such a ridiculous law. What's next, limiting our phone calls to non gambling phone numbers? Beware, this is a small step to total Government control. There is no way to stop this and the cost to comply to this for the ISP's will definitely force them to raise everyone's rates. Not to mention the MN departments that need to monitor or enforce this. Minnesota Legislators, please don't waist your time and my money on frivolous laws.


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